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  1. #121
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    RIM expected to lose subscribers for the first time

    It's going to be a rough month for what was once one of the most successful smartphone companies in the world. Between all the Android and iOS violence, it's easy to forget there's this Canadian company which was still growing its userbase every month. However, it's expected the company will lose subscribers for the very first time.I've never known what to make of BlackBerry. I always saw it as that brand of phones American people bought while us Europeans were busy using Nokias. The crazy thing is that I started to see more and more of my fellow countrymen buy BlackBerry devices after the arrival of the iPhone. Suddenly, RIM started advertising in The Netherlands for one of their full-touch devices - even though the only BlackBerry devices people appeared to be buying here were the more traditional ones with keyboards.
    It soon became clear that much like Nokia, RIM would become another victim of the iOS-Android one-two punch that completely changed the mobile phone landscape within a few years. Like Nokia, they had no answer, and like Nokia, it took them way too long to realise they needed an answer in the first place. And again, like Nokia, recovery isn't yet in sight, and even if it comes, hinges on a mostly untested operating system (Windows Phone 8 is a very different animal from 7 - NT vs. CE - and let's face it, even WP7 is effectively untested compared to iOS and Android).
    However, despite the doom and gloom, RIM was still profiting from the rising popularity of the smartphone - its subscriber base has never stopped growing these past few years. And now, even that last glimmer of positive news will vanish - according to "analysts", sure, but even if they're off by a quarter, it's still pretty significant.
    "This is the first quarter we are expecting zero subscriber growth - a loss in enterprise [customers] offset by a small gain in international consumer subs," Kris Thompson of National Bank Financial told The Globe And Mail, “Starting next quarter, we see the sub base in a downward spiral with Blackberry 10 potentially slowing [the losses], but we're not holding our breath."
    BlackBerry 10 is supposed to bring the entire company around. If it fails, the company will most likely change from a device maker to strictly a software/services company, or it might even be sold altogether (they're most likely packing like crazy in the patent department). This, in my view, also explains the delays: the company knows full well there won't be any second chances here. The first few BB10 devices - preferably even the first, period - need to be a slam dunk. A home run. A Left 4 Dead 2 campaign on expert with zero restarts, no deaths, and only 250 total damage taken (yes I'm very proud of that).
    They've got the base operating system down. We're looking at QNX here, and as far as base operating systems for mobile devices go, you can't get much more optimised than that. Due to its embedded nature, it's probably a hell of a lot more efficient than either Linux, Darwin, or NT. Userland, however, is a different matter - and you can have the most efficient and most awesome base operating system, but if your userland sucks, you're not going to get anywhere.
    As a geek, I'm hoping RIM is delaying to get the userland just right. We need another good competitor in this market, as iOS and Android are boring the living daylights out of me. I like Windows Phone, and would love a fourth player to achive success. RIM, don't ship until you're ready. Don't give in to pressure. You'll be able to take a few quarters of losing subscribers

  2. #122
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    Iran blocks Gmail, secure Google searches

    On Sunday, Iranian officials announced the country would be blocking access to Google and Gmail in protest of the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, whose lengthy trailer was posted to YouTube earlier this month.

    A government deputy minister made the announcement on Sunday, and it came as state television revealed Google Inc's search engine and its e-mail service would be blocked "within a few hours."

    "Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice," said Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, an Iranian official with the state-run body in charge of online censorship and computer crimes (according to quotes from The Guardian, BBC, and a number of other media outlets). Many have speculated this is just the latest step in Iran’s pending launch of its so-called “halal Internet.”
    Unsecure search remains open

    After Ars contacted a few Iranian Internet users in the country as well as other experts who monitor the Iranian Internet from afar, it appears Iran has disrupted all secure (HTTPS/SSL) connections to Google. All Gmail users are required to use HTTPS—all login and traffic information is encrypted and therefore difficult to monitor—so access through this avenue is blocked entirely. Normal, unsecured Iranian Internet traffic (HTTP) remains unblocked, however. Iran already can filter that as needed, so users can access Google search but then have to live with potential monitoring.

    Of course, upper-class and tech-savvy Iranians with access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) remain unaffected by these changes.

    Officially, YouTube has been blocked since 2009. Google’s Transparency Report has not yet been updated to reflect what (if any) effects the company has officially observed with respect to the Gmail block.

    “We have received information that users cannot get access to Gmail and Google Search in Iran,” wrote Samantha Smith, a Google spokesperson, in an e-mail sent to Ars. “We have checked our networks and there is nothing wrong on our side.”
    Iran appears to be pushing users toward a domestic answer to Google

    Some Iran watchers have speculated that a ban on Gmail may not actually continue for very long. But predicting Iranian government policy and behavior is a constant guessing game.

    “Certainly, I would not be surprised if it did not last, since it is an incredibly unpopular decision,” Collin Anderson told Ars via chat. Anderson is an independent security researcher based in Washington, DC. “However, it is somewhat of a warning to users that unless they switch to a national e-mail service, they could lose access at any time.”

    Reporters Without Borders noted that in early September, Iranian mobile phone users received a text message inviting them to use the new government-run e-mail service, Iran.ir. Citizens are required to give their name, address, phone number, and ID card number to authorities, which takes 24 hours to be approved. That site appears to be a government-run alternative to Google, which only searches a limited number of Persian-language sites.

    Searches of the term “America,” as written in Persian, only yielded a short list of hits. The top one was for the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Embassy of Pakistan—the country’s official representative in Washington, DC since the suspension of diplomatic relations between Iran and the US in 1979. Unfortunately, searching for “Ars Technica” (as written in English) returned no results.

  3. #123
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    Teaching an old dog new tricks: How to fix Microsoft

    There's nothing broken about being the fourth-most valuable company in the world, which is exactly what Microsoft is today. That same company, however, is valued at half what it was 10 years ago. It's not exactly thriving, either.

    Regardless if the glass is actually half empty or half full, consumer confidence in Microsoft is at a low. It is ignored or considered uncool by younger generations. Older generations are often required to use the company's software at work, but turn to Apple or Google devices in their free time.
    A month from now Microsoft will release Windows 8, a bold new operating system that seeks to bring touchscreen interfaces to desktop computing. It's the company's biggest product since Windows XP and yet the only thing the tech world has seemingly talked about over the last 12 months is what the iPhone 5 might look like.
    In that sense, Microsoft is broken.


    Sure, the company that Bill Gates built has had a few bona fide hits over the last decade, most notably from its gaming division: Xbox Live, which is sort of the nighttime Facebook for gamers, and Kinect, a hands-free game controller that caught fire for a year before fizzling somewhat. Bing, Microsoft's search engine, also is gaining traction in the market.
    But when it comes to mobile devices -- the biggest area of growth in consumer tech -- Microsoft still lags behind its rivals.
    How Apple's story is like 'Breaking Bad'
    So how can the company right the ship? According to some of its biggest critics, here are eight ways Microsoft can reinvent itself, return to relevancy and dominate the tech world once more instead of just following it.
    1. Make fewer things extremely well. Microsoft has been accused of many things. Being too focused isn't one of them. "They spread themselves too thin across too many product lines," says blogger Mary Jo Foley, a longtime observer of the company. "They let broken products hang on for far too long," resulting in mediocre stuff that few people care about, she says. The good news: "They're getting better at this," Foley says.
    2. Move all their software to the Web. Microsoft is in a bit of a pickle. Consumers want to manage, view and manipulate their files from any device connected to the Internet (aka cloud computing). But Microsoft still makes most of its money from locally installed software, so it has been very reluctant to offer its wares online at a discount (if not for free like Google).
    Keep it up, though, and Microsoft will be a goner, says Joe Wilcox, editor of Beta News. "On phones and tablets, Microsoft's presence is insignificant or too low to quantify. If the so-called post-PC era is about cloud-connected devices, Microsoft operating systems have no meaningful presence."
    3. De-emphasize the desktop. Microsoft has made a fortune selling desktop operating systems. While the desktop will certainly remain an important computing tool for the foreseeable future, it's no longer the primary tool. It's really just one of many available portals now.
    "Who cares about a desktop?" says my twenty-something brother-in-law. So long as a device is portable and lets him access the Internet, he doesn't care who makes it or what it looks like. So, in addition to moving all its products online, Microsoft should make those products available on any device, independent of the operating system, like Google does across Macintosh, Android, iPhones, Windows and even their new Google Chrome OS. In other words, it's all about the apps, regardless of how you

    4. Lead instead of follow. Whether fair or not, the perception exists that Microsoft largely follows what Apple and Google do rather than making its own waves (think delayed Zunes, Bings, Windows Phones, Surface tablets and retail stores). Heck, even Kinect was a reaction to Nintendo's Wii. To really excite consumers, it would do well to try zigging while others zag.
    "Even if Microsoft fails to be as successful during the cloud-connected device era as the PC, its efforts (good or bad) should pressure Apple, Amazon, Google and others do to better," says Wilcox.
    5. Serve only one master. The last thing Microsoft needs right now is to further reduce its already dwindling market share. Yet that's what the upcoming Windows 8 might do as it tries to serve both touch users and traditional keyboard and mouse ones.
    "I fear Windows 8 is too focused on touch-friendly computing," says Tim Stevens, editor of Engadget. Foley agrees: "I think Microsoft may be too far ahead of its users in its decision to de-emphasize the old and familiar Windows for a touch-centric one."
    It's OK to offer both touch and traditional software, as Apple does. But it works best when you keep 'em separated (as Apple has done with Mac and iOS).
    6. Be "cool" in its own way. As dominant as Microsoft was in the '90s, its products were never a status symbol like Apple's are today. That's a fact. At the same time, there are varying degrees of coolness; you don't have to be hip so long as you're confident and unapologetic about who you are. The sooner Microsoft realizes this, the better it will embrace its potential as a respected and reliable maker of computing again, rather than just something the establishment makes you use.
    What's more, Microsoft is now in the ironic position to brand itself as David to Apple's Goliath, the counterculture to Apple's mainstream. You know, turn the tables on the very upstart company that used to "think different," but that now suffers from groupthink because its products are so widely used.
    7. Don't do what IBM did. IBM used to be a household name in computing. After it stopped selling to consumers, it found success in targeting big business. But it is less relevant and smaller than it used to be. This will also remain true of Microsoft if it fails to embrace the cloud-connected devices that are replacing PCs. "If Microsoft retreats to the enterprise and cedes the consumer market, like IBM, they'll lose their relevance," says Wilcox.
    8. Be the developer's favorite again. Microsoft Windows didn't become a juggernaut by being a better experience than Macintosh. It became a juggernaut because it offered third-party developers more money, which in turn resulted in more programs, which in turn brought in more users. Not any more.
    "The roles are reversed," says Wilcox. "Where are the most exciting apps today? Not Windows. They are on Android and iOS." If Microsoft wants to dominate once more, it will need to entice more developer support to ensnare more consumers.
    As for the company's chances, insider opinion ranges from OK to great. "I think it has enough cash reserves to swing and miss a few times and still come out looking good," says Stevens. "But I don't know if it will ever regain the top spot."
    Foley shares his skepticism. "I'm not sure they can ever be a consumer powerhouse," she says. "Do three rights undo 10 years of wrongs? I don't know."
    Wilcox, on the other hand, says he's seen other decimated companies regain their luster -- most notably Microsoft's longtime rival from Cupertino. "If Apple can rise from near ruin in 15 years to become the world's largest company, surely Microsoft can."

  4. #124
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    Humble Indie Bundle 6

    Collection of 6 games available for all platforms (windows, Mac and Linux) with only few dollars that goes to charity ...
    http://www.humblebundle.com/


  5. #125
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    Blackberry 10

    I think they have done a great job in the OS, the only question is that will it have enough apps ?






  6. #126
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  7. #127
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    Quantum Computing Firm Gets $30M Boost From Bezos, CIA

    Is quantum computing the technology of the future? Amazon founder Jeff Bezos seems to think so, having just jointly invested $30 million in Vancouver-based D-Wave Systems.

    The CEO's Bezos Expeditions teamed up with In-Q-Tel, essentially the venture capital arm of the CIA, for D-Wave's latest investment round.

    "We are pleased to have such highly regarded investors in our company," D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell said in a statement. "Both understand the implications of quantum computing as a world changing force."

    As described by D-Wave, quantum computing combines the laws of quantum physics - which allows bits of matter to be in two states simultaneously - with modern-day computing, which relies on the manipulation of billions of bits of information.

    "Quantum computing combines these two ideas, allowing us to put bits of information into their 0 and 1 states at the same time," according to D-Dave. "This process allows quantum computers to consider and manipulate all combinations of bits simultaneously, making quantum computation powerful and fast."

    D-Wave currently offers its One system, a high-performance computing system for Fortune 500 companies, governments, and academia that runs a 128-qubit processor chip.

    "Our Intelligence Community customers have many complex problems that tax classical computing architecture," Robert Ames, a vice president at IQT, said in a statement. "We believe our customers can benefit from the promise of quantum computing, and this investment in D-Wave is a first step in that direction."

    The new funding will be used to grow D-Wave's commercial operations.

    As reported by VentureBeat, the new addition brings D-Wave's total funding to almost $100 million.

    Other D-Wave investors include Business Development Bank of Canada, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Goldman Sachs, Growthworks, Harris & Harris Group, International Investment and Underwriting, and Kensington Partners Limited.

    Bezos is involved in a number of tech-related side projects in addition his CEO role at Amazon. In March, he unveiled a plan to salvage the huge F-1 engines that powered the first stage of the Saturn V that carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the Moon. He has his own space venture, known as Blue Origin, and has pursued things like airbags for smartphones and a 10,00-year clock.

  8. #128
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    Microsoft reportedly building up to 5 million Surface tablets for the fall

    Just how confident is Microsoft that its Surface tablets will take off? To the tune of 3 to 5 million units shipped in the fall alone, according to the Wall Street Journal's supplier contacts. While that wouldn't be much when Apple already ships more than three times as many iPads, even discounting the supposed 10 million tiny iPads coming this fall, it would represent a strong start for a company that's only just dipping its toes into own-brand computing. Microsoft isn't confirming any numbers at this stage, but the large production volume might explain that Busby Berkeley-style TV ad -- you'd want a full song and dance routine if you had that many Surfaces to sell.

  9. #129
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    Surface RT pricing revealed: $499

    IconAfter yesterday's TV advertisement, Microsoft finally unveiled the pricing for its Surface tablet - the ARM Windows RT version that is. The cheapest Surface - 32GB without touch cover - will set you back $499. They're aiming straight for iPad pricing here, ignoring the popular cheaper Android offerings.

    After yesterday's TV advertisement, Microsoft finally unveiled the pricing for its Surface tablet - the ARM Windows RT version that is. The cheapest Surface - 32GB without touch cover - will set you back $499. They're aiming straight for iPad pricing here, ignoring the popular cheaper Android offerings.

    The pricing was revealed in Microsoft's online store, which right now only serves the US - a link for non-US residents currently leads to an empty page, so I can't give you the European pricing just yet. Most likely, they'll just substitute the dollar sign for a euro sign.

    The 32GB version without a cover is $499; the 32GB version with the Touch Cover is $599. If you opt for 64GB, you'll have to part with $699. We're looking at pre-orders right now, but they'll ship by 26 October. No information yet on Surface Pro, the Intel version.

    All things considered, the Surface RT is looking like a hard sell. It's the same price as an iPad 3 - but the iPad 3 has far more momentum behind it, including far, far more applications. Worse yet, the Surface RT has a paltry 1366x768 resolution, while the iPad 3 has that beautiful (don't try to deny it!) 2048x1536 display.

    Compared to Android tablets, it ain't doing so well either. Both the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD are far cheaper ($200 and $299 respectively), and the Fire HD has, to boot, a 1920x1080 display. A lot will ride on just how successful Microsoft will be at advertising Surface as a full PC instead of 'just' a tablet, and, not entirely unimportant, just how much users actually care about that.

    I was originally planning on buying a Surface RT - I like Metro on my phone - but I'm not going to shell out $499 for this. Had it had a 1080p display, it would be worth considering - but like this? No thanks. Drop it to $300-400 and we'll talk.

  10. #130
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    Ubuntu 12.10 released

    For the Linux fans, both the Ubuntu and Kubuntu 12.10 was released today:

    http://arstechnica.com/information-t...-full-of-juju/

    Nearly six months after Ubuntu 12.04 LTS arrived, Canonical and the Ubuntu developers have released version 12.10 of their Ubuntu Linux distribution, code-named "Quantal Quetzal". The new version of the popular open source operating system uses a kernel based on the 3.5 Linux kernel and updates Unity desktop with a number of new features and enhancements. One of the more controversial changes to the Unity desktop shell is the addition of a new Shopping Lens, which shows commercial results from Amazon's online store when searching. The 12.10 release further integrates Canonical's Ubuntu One services, including improvements to the Ubuntu One Music Store, introduces support for Web Apps and is the first Ubuntu version to support UEFI Secure Boot.


    Many of the distribution's components and bundled packages have been updated to newer versions: these include GCC 4.7.2, Python 3.2, OpenJDK 7, the 3.6.2 release of the LibreOffice productivity suite, and version 16.0.1 of both the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client. The developers have also improved the Software Centre and have streamlined the Update Manager, renaming it to "Software Updater" and setting it to automatically check for updates when launched.
    A more detailed look at these and other new features can be found in The H feature "What's new in Ubuntu Desktop 12.10".
    Ubuntu 12.10 is available for download for both desktops and servers from the project's site. Version 12.10 of the official derivatives, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Edubuntu and Ubuntu Studio, are also available for download.

  11. #131
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    Apple unveils IPad mini

    It's one of those days again: Apple held a product announcement today, announcing several new products. The most important of which was rumoured about for a long time now: a smaller iPad. It's called the iPad mini, and has the potential to become the best-selling iPad - and thus, the best selling tablet.The iPad mini has all the specifications we already knew. It has a 7.9" display, with a rather paltry 1024x768 display. Because iOS doesn't support different resolutions very well, Apple had no choice but to sit at the bottom of the barrel here - bested by just about the entire competition. Still, resolution isn't everything, and considering how Apple has been putting out some excellent displays as of late, I'm very curious to see if it's any good in real life.
    Inside, it comes with 16, 32, or 64GB, a dual-core A5 chip, and all the usual connection and wireless options. It, of course, packs the new Lightning connector. The true beauty, though, in my view, is the enclosure - proper aluminium and glass. No plastic crap that we see on so many other tablets (including my beloved Nexus 7), and yet still very light and thin. I'll have to properly hold it, of course, but I can make an educated guess and state it'll feel better in the hand than just about any other tablet out there.
    As for price, the base model comes in at $329 or €329 - which is considerably more than the competition, which has better hardware, worse enclosures, and a different, better/worse operating system (take your pick). What is undeniably a huge advantage of the iPad, though, is application support, as Apple rightfully pointed out during the presentation. Android has lots of catching up to do there.
    Apple also updated the regular iPad, giving it a faster processor and better graphics chip. This may have something to do with the Retina display requiring more power. The iMac has been updated as well, with a thinner enclosure (but an ugly bulge) and improved specifications. The Mac mini has seen a specification bump, and the MacBook Pro 13.3" has gotten the Retina treatment.
    Overall, lots of cool new stuff - but still no updated Mac Pro. What's up with that thing? It's like they keep it on life support just to torture it some more. Kill it, or update it, Apple.

  12. #132
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    Great Article about the past / present and future of Micorosoft Windows

    Turning to the past to power Windows' future: An in-depth look at WinRT

    http://arstechnica.com/features/2012/10/windows-8-and-winrt-everything-old-is-new-again/

  13. #133
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  14. #134
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    New Smartphone OS: Sailfish UI




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    Steam client is passing the beta stage for Linux: that means tons of games will be available in the Linux platform


 

 

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