Wednesday, July 27, 2011

iPad vs. Android: 24-1 ??

The score makes the game look really (really really) unbalanced, something that obviously is not true for our case. But, according to TheNextWeb Apple's iPad has outnumbered the number of sales of all Android tablets such as Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom by a ratio of 24:1!

So, is Android tablet market all that bad? Or perhaps the public opinion is turned in favor of Apple?

Android tablets are not that bad, actually. Examples such as the forspoken Motorola Xoom are quite competitive against an iPad. Also, iPad tablets are quite cheaper than Apple tablets, a factor that cannot indicate public opinion favoring (in such a large ratio) Apple. The truth is osmewhere in the middle as a wise man (myself :D) said.
And the truth is this: Android software has appeared on the frontstage of the technological world only some years ago. On the other hand, Apple, much older than Android, has created a formidable brand name 'forcing' customers to trust an iPad against an Android tablet, despite the lower price and the tie in technical characteristics.

Is marketing application and brand name equity all that effective in public choice? Apparently...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fleet Commander: Star Wars (really) unleashed

Here is a project of Illinois University graduate, Arthur Nishimoto. A strategy game 'star wars'-look-alike implementing the idea of touch screen, all imprinted in a 52 inch screen.


The whole deal is about a multiplayer strategy game involving 2 or more sides battling to be the last standing in a galaxy combat including spaceships, drones, laser and missile weaponry and all the good stuff that we really loved in Star wars movies (although personally I prefer Star Trek). Ladies and Gentlemen, behold 'Fleet Commander'

Nishimoto expanded the idea of realism in a videogame by creating a strategy game played in a wall screen. Of course the game can also be played on smaller screens looking almost as cool as the main idea of a wall-screen. Here is how himself in his own website describes his game:

Developed at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) by MS graduate candidate Arthur Nishimoto, “Fleet Commander” explores how a real-time interactive strategy game that would typically rely on complex keyboard commands and mouse interactions be transferred into a multi-user, multi-touch environment. Originally designed for use with TacTile, a 52-inch multi-touch LCD tabletop display, “Fleet Commander” game play has been ported to EVL’s 20-foot wide multi-touch LCD wall, Cyber-Commons. “Fleet Commander” uses Processing, an open source programming language.

Below there are some videos of Gameplay.

Looks good, right...?

Higgis Boson Particle: One Step Closer

Scientists at the CERN facilities have revealed their progress in a press conference regarding the search for the notorious Higgis boson.

Scientists working at the CERN collider on the France-Switzerland border have revealed their progress last Friday presenting some very interesting findings. According to their statements, after constant experiementing with various scientific instruments, a bizarre collision of particles has been noticed, something that usually signs a discovery. This discovery could refer to the revelation of Higgis particle as well.

Scientists remain calm since this enthusiasm could not be fundamentally correct since many factors from instrument malfunction to calculation errors could produce such results. In any case, if these calculations prove correct and a discovery is about to take place, the sure thing is that the whole world will watch even closer the CERN project and its result since these results could alter the way we perceive everything in our world and beyond.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Broadband Penetration Trends

Internet Connection in the years passed has turned from a luxury trend to a necessity. It is very common now for a house to have an Internet access through a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. Technology has undergone major breakthroughs, making the Internet access from slow and just 'tolerable' in the early 2000 with the PSTN lines to relaxing and enjoyable nowadays.

Data below have been updated on june 2011 and appear o be very interesting regarding the present condition of Internet accessibility.

According to data, every year there is a significant increase in the use of the Internet. As the table shows, all OECD countries have observed an increase in DSL usage.

The data collected by OECD show that there is constant increase in the use of Broadband connections. Only for the year 2009-2010 France, the leading country with the highest increase rate has a 3,15 per 100 person increased DSL use. This means that if in 2008-2009 there where 100 pleople with newly established DSL lines, in 2009-2010 there were 103,15 (well, you get the point, in 10.000 people > 10.315 increased in 2010)

Households with broadband access, 2010,

As we can see, Korea is the champion of 2009 in households with broadband access in 2009, with Iceland and Sweden following. It is remarkable that the U.S. ends up 12th in the rally of DSL connections.

Fixed broadband penetration and density, June 2010,

Overall, Netherlands appears to have the most avtive DSL connections with 37,8 Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants. This means that one out of three Holland inhabitants posseses a registered DSL line.

From the above we can surely tell that broadband increase figures show an increase in Internet use, making access to the Web a necessity for almost everyone. in addition, these figures show no sign of a possible decrease, marking a path of constant increase in the usage of Internet and its tools in our everyday life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top 10+1 'Must have' Android Apps

Android has surely met a lot of acceptance in community. The fact that almost all of its applications (and not only the mainstream ones) or at least the essential ones are provided for free in addition to the stability and functionality of Android phones, make them a very popular choice in the world of smartphones.

In an effort to make life of Android users easier, Technological Control has gathered information regarding the 10+1 most used applications that are should be installed on every android smartphone:

(..And, NO, you will not find 'Angry Birds' in this list....)

10. Advanced task killer: An excellent app to shut down all other application running in the background and consuming batter and system resources for practically no reason.

9. Gas Buddy: Always useful to know where is a nearby gas station. In addition, this app can provide you lists of gas value in nearby gas stations so as to compare and choose more wisely.

8. Gmail and Google Calendar: A single platform working as an agenda and an e-mail plaform for Gmail users. Quite useful for keeping updated to your e-mail as well as organising contacts and meetings.

7. NewsRob: an application where you can organise your RSS feeds and stay up to date with everything going on on the web.

6.Kindle for Android: Amazon's Kindle has been adopted and implemented to Android as an app allowing the user to read e-books, e-zines etc. A very successful gadget from Amazon and a very popular application in the world of Android.

5. Sweet Dreams: Sweet Dreams is an application that liberates the user from having to change everynight the setting of his phone in order not to have late night disturbing calls. By switching on the app a nice, unpaused, relaxing night sleep is guaranteed (SweetDreams is one of the 3 most popular Android Apps, measured in times of download)

4. WaveSecurity: An application that works on the security issues of your smartphone. Created by McAfee, WaveSecurity works as Internet protection works on a Computer. It can provide general lockdown of your device, backup and restore functions as well as SIM card tracing in case of losing your phone. Quite good application, easy to use and extremely effective.

3. Google Voice: a kind-of answering machine for your Android smartphone (for free as well). In case of an unanswered call, Google Voice takes up by recording messages from the caller and creating transcriptions that you can access at a later time (no voicemail dial required).

2. Wheather Channel: Take a glimpse of what the weather looks like while leaving home or examine what weather conditions will take place so as to organise trips, excursions etc. In each occasion an excellent app providing stats and data in a very well organised and easy to handle interface.

1. Opera Browser: The well known internet browser in its phone edition and in a better design allowing faster browsing using less bandwidth. An excellent app, must have on your android phone an a strong competitor for other browsers in the field of smartphones

+1 (Godlike...) Dropbox: Dropbox works as a server where you can place archives and have access to them from everywhere using your android phone. Imagine having all music and video tracks, your documents, your photos, everything you can imagine on your smartphone. Quite good huh....?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Project: Anagenesis - Formatting

Welcome to Project:Anagenesis. This Project created by Technological Control will introduce ways of making your computer easier to use as well as to correct system mistakes and make the pc run faster, smoother and in a more stable way. In other words, the aim is to make our computers 'harder, faster, better, stronger' (using Black-eyed-peas terms)

In this first part (don't ask how many there will be, even I do not know that) we will start backwards by writing about the heavy weapons of computer repair: Formatting and Re-installing Windows.

But first of all let me tell you a small story:
Everyone of us has an old computer. And by old I mean these computers (minimum 5 years old) that usually crash (blue screen of death) and they are slow, unstable, slow and really really slow! My laptop, a Vaio FS215B, 6 year old became slower and slower constantly. Well, at first I tried the light solutions like erasing garbage from hard drives, lighten my startup etc. But soon, the 512 MB of RAM seemed really low and not able to deal with all the activeX and Flash on the Internet (or, so I thought). Skype almost impossible to run as well as flash (not to mention the combined use of these two), a single page on the web took about 3 minutes to open and even witting to this blog was at some times unbearable. One boring day when I gave up almost all hope of finding the money for a new laptop soon (summer vacations ahead you see) I decided to procceed to formatting of the pc.

I have heard all the fuss about formatting, how dificult it is, that everyone is for some reason scared of it and thinks it is some advanced use of informatics that you should possess a degree to handle. Hey guys, get over it, its just a 'hit "next" button 3 times' procedure. Well, perhaps Vaio has made our lives easier by equiping the hard drive with a secret partition with al the format data but I cannot imagine how harder it could be on any other PC. Literally, I ran Vaio restore utility, hit next three times and voila: Format complete. Well, on my saying I kind of cheat a bit because I had already run once more this utility to format the laptop but it was as easy as now even then (how hard can it be).

As for results? Even I could not believe it. Well, even the most optimistic man in the country of fairy tales and unicorns could believe it! The result by undergoing the hard disk clearing and Windows re-install was to get my pc back! Well, it surely is not compared to a contemporary PC but it is way faster than before, no crushes, no unexplained delays, no nothing. A moderate for our present time laptop, reliable enough for a mainstream user. How 'moderate' is a brekthrough? Well, before formatting, the laptop was less than 'really bad'. At least now I can use everyday applications (Skype, MSN) and i can enter websites with flash content (don't know exactly why but before the whole procedure, my laptop hated Flash...)

So, here, the bio-weapon of old-computer-improvement: Formatting. I don't know your opinion about it (I would love to read it) on whether has it worked or not for you but it surely has worked for me.

And don't be crying babies over formatting procedure, you can find guides and walkthroughs all over the internet (...when man is lost, God gave him search engines...)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Google+ : 10 Million Registered members on the trial stage

Google's Larry Page has announced that Google's new project 'Google Plus' has reached 10 Million enrolled users.

Google's new platform is only on testing stage yet. In order for someone to start using it, an invitation from an already-enrolled member is essential. Despite that fact, Google+ has reached the 10th million user, making it an early succes and threatening existing Social networks even from the trial stage.

Afterall, it is not random that all other platforms have begun equiping their interface with extra features such as videocall on Facebook (see here).

Well, if Google+ hits 10 million users on the trial stage, who knows what the limit will be after it goes officially live...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Samsung NC215S - Solar Energy Operating Netbook by Samsung

Samsung NC215S : the first netbook designed to operate on Solar Energy.

This new Samsung's Project will introduce ecology to the field of Computers, and more specificly Netbooks. First of its kind, this netbook is equiped with a panel of Photovoltaics (PV) on the case that allow to turn the radiation of solar rays into electricity which is used to support the netbook's function. According to the company, for every two hours of 'charging' (just place it on a sunny spot) there is one hour of battery autonomy provided.

Samsung NC215S was originally planned to be released on the end of July but specially-designed photovoltaic panels will cause a delay in the release of approximately 3 weeks.

On the technical side of the subject, the netbook will be equiped with an Intel-Atom N570 1.66GHz proccessor and a 10.1 inch 1024 x 600 screen.

Of course you can pre-order Samsung NC215S using this link (Amazon):

Windows XP - Best Before 2014

Stephen L. Rose, a Microsoft representative in a blog post announced the end of Windows XP, the most best-selling operating system of their brand (so far).

Yes, that's right. Everything has an end and this end is scheduled for Windows XP on April 8, 2014 (I, as well, am impressed by Microsoft's accuracy in the date). At that day Microsoft will officially stop releasing updates and support for Windows XP and XP users are advised to upgrade to Windows 7 (or Windows 8 possibly).

Rose's exact words were the following: 'Wouldn’t it be great if the glory days lasted forever? But reality is trophies get dusty, records are broken, and what it took to be the best ten years ago, just isn’t enough for today’s standards. Things get better, faster. And eventually, it’s time to move from good enough to something much better' (source here)

Feelings? Well, on the one hand, lets think about it. After XP there was the release of Vista, Windows 7 and the upcoming Windows 8, while Microsoft's attention also falls on the area of tablets and smartphones with Windows 7 phone 'Mango project'. It is logical for them to stop the update and support of Windows XP at some time. On the other hand, Windows XP has been a great success. It it the operating system that I know best, I have installed on my Laptop, I use in the most comfortable for me way, and generally makes my life easier. As a result, it is a Technological update vs emotion fight. Which factor wins? In my opinion it depends on how good Windows 8 wil be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Windows 7 Phone 'Mango' : Android and iOS killer??

Microsoft's updated Windows 7 Phone with the code name 'Mango' have been announced last May. Since then, beta users were able to test the operating system and express their opinion. This is what they have come up with:

Mango is not a new operating system for smartphones, it is an upgrade to the former Microsoft's system. It will be released officialy in Autumn 2011 and it will be free of charge for Windows 7 Phone users.

The main feature that has been greatly improved on Mango is multitasking. A user will be able to switch through different applications really quickly just by pressing a single button. The processing of the applicatios has been a lot faster in a more stable environment.

Also, another main feature for Windows Mango is the new Internet Explorer 9 for smartphones. Well, we all feel that IE has been a little old fashioned and overpassed but truth is that according to tests, Internet explorer 9 on smartphones looks quite fast and reliable.


Another aspect in which Microsoft plans on making a difference compared to iOS and Android is the applications functionality and the way they operate in your phone. According to Microsoft, applications on your phone have been very static. They operate on their own and have no interaction with other phone systems in order to be more user-friendly. Think for example an application that deals with music, an Mp3 player. On the upgraded version of Windows (Mango) when typing the name of a song, this name will also be searched on the Internet through Bing's search Engine. As a result, the user will be able to collect information regarding the song, the band, the year of release, reviews etc.
Other 'superior' Apps are also included. Such applications help the user create e-mail contact groups, pin specific mail folders on the main screen so that the user is always connected to their e-mail account, GPS and navigation applications, smart browsing and link RSS feeds to their main screen.

In the end, according to the tests, Windows 7 phone 'Mango' has really been a quite nice ugrade to Microsoft's phone software. Microsoft engineers have surely pinpointed some of the problems of the older version (such as multitasking) and have made quite good work dealing with them. Cleraly Microsoft has taken a promising step to catch up with the popularity that Android and iOS have received.
Of course, the main test for Windows Mango will be in Autumn when it is planned to be released for all Microsoft 7 Phone users. Will Mango be a challenging rival for its competitors? Rumors tend to give a positive answer to this question...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Facebook Videochat vs Google Hangouts

As predicted ahead of its time (see here), Facebook has teamed up with Skype for a videochat tool. In this way Facebook offers its 750 million of users a new way to communicate with each other by adding a new weapon to its arsenal. But let us examine the real intentions of Facebook regarding the timing of this implementation.

Facebook administration has input this feature days ago. The question is; why now? this feature has been rumored many times in the past. Well, I think the answer is obvious. 'Google Hangouts'. Google hangouts is the tool in the new social network, Google Plus. Google Plus more or less contains the elements of Facebook, StumbleUpon, some Twitter elements and also posseses videocall function. It is true on the other hand that Facebook has remained stagnant for quite some time. As a result, it is natural for Facebok to feel threatened by Google's new project (Facebooks performance has already started to decline in countries such as France).

But, is this Videocall feature enough to face Google Hangouts?

Want to start a video chat with someone on Facebook? It's hard to miss the option to do it.

Well, in my opinion, no. Facebook has added a videocall feature which is very similar to the IM. A single button has been added (just like the picture above) and the videocall begins. This videocall contains simple things: it is a two persons only videocall and the interface is a mixture of Facebook and Skype. On the other hand, with Google Hangouts more people can co-exist in a videocall, more functions are available (such as youtube video projection), stratightforward call option keys (in case you want to mute microphone/speakers etc). In a way, Google Hangouts is (or said to be, since Google+ is on a testing stage yet) a more 'cared-for' interface with more functions, more flexibility and a more attractive-to-user environment.

With the main, basic characteristics of the call being almost the same, Google Plus beats Facebook videochat due to the better environment that it offers. Facebook videocall is not bad if you want to have a conversation with a person, on the contrary it is quite simple and straightforward. But, the thing is that hangouts' layout has been more attractive to the user (or even just to me, personally).

For more info on Google hangouts, check this: GooglePlus : RIP Existing Social Networks??

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stuxnet, perhaps the greatest computer virus ever..

How many times yor computer has been infected by a virus that has shut down all your current applications? Perhaps rebooted your system? Even erased your hard drive? And you thought that this is a hardcore virus for computers? Think again....

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

Ever heard of Stuxnet? Perhaps no. Stuxnet is a complex computer virus discovered in 2008 that has been designed to strike against industrial plants, software and equipment. Imagine a virous that is able to shout down oil pipelines, power plants and even nuclear reactors! To be accurate, as you can see below on the virous' history, uranium enrichment facilities where a prime target for Stuxnet.

The malware has a very sophisticated function that makes it so efficient; it spreads through a network to seperate working stations but does not activate unless the system meets certain requirements. For example, Stuxnet might have intruded your PC as well but would not have activated since its software was designed to attack special features of mostly industrial plants.

The origins and the creator of the virus vary according to different evaluations regarding the history of the software:

The specific malware has been detected in 58,85% of Iran computers according to a Symantec study. There have been different rumors that Stuxnet's original use was targeted in nuclear plants of Iran. And it is fact that Stuxnet has created a lot of discomfort in Iran, with Iranian officials announcing that there has been an electronic war launched against their country.Some say that Israel was behind the making f the virous, other claim that it was the US, others put the credit on Mosad etc. One thing is certain regarding the manufacturing of the virus: it wild require a great deal of suport for its designing, such suport that only a large organisation (a country's government for example) would be able to provide.

Of course, defensive mechanism and detection programms now have been developed and Stuxnet can be removed from a computer in case of infection. But the ability of the worm to mutate has made matters more complicated, creating doubts to the certainty of the virous succesful removal.

The interesting fact about this virous is that now Stuxnet is provided as a freeware on the Internet!

Google Plus Fake invitation mails

There has been noticed a great deal of fake e-mails regarding invitations to Google Plus, Google's new social network.

These e-mails at the first glance look truthfull but clicking on the link gets you on a pharmaceutical or some 'make,21$ a day online with only 25 seconds of work on a pc' website (...give me a break....), like any other spam mail.

People should know that Google Plus is not available for everyone because it has been working on a testing stage. Unless Google announces its official 'kick off', all such e-mails you receive are 99,9% fake.

For more info on Google+ check out this: Google+ : RIP Existing Social Networks?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

iPad for Aviation use

...That's right, a great change in the world of aviation has already began. In the life of a pilot there were many documented maps, charts and guidelinebooks that should be kept in every flight deck and be used through every flight. In other words tons of books and maps were used during the flight.

But recently the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the US has approved the use of iPad tablet in order to replace all these scripts and maps and make the life of a pilot easier.

From now on US pilots are allowed to use an iPad for flight documentation as well as mapping. To be more specific, the 41 (!) total flight instruction manuals that pilots are obliged to carry in every flight are about to turn into electronic books in the well known .pdf form (Alaska airlines and American airlines have already procceeded to the use of iPad instead of books). With the substitution of books to an iPad not only the information is available to pilots more easily but also the update of these books according to modern standards is going to be a lot easier. In addition there are about 2.4 millions of written pages to be saved, giving an ecology touch to the issue as well.

In addition to the above, not only the flight manuals are about to be turned into electronic but flight maps as well. A special app has been developed under the name of 'Mobile TC' by aviation chartmaker company Jeppesen. After thorought testing of the tablet and the application regarding the stability in extreme conditions (such as even decompression of an aircraft) as well as the interference with other aircraft systems, FAA has approved its use for mapping as well. So, pilots are able to use iPad to replace manual map charting.
Jeff Buhl, jeppesen's product manager for the Mobile TC app said after the testing that the Apple iOS and the application proved extremely stable during the tests.

“The recovery time for an application crashing or the OS crashing is extremely rapid,” Buhl says.

During the evaluation period with the FAA, the production app did not crash. But even if it did, Buhl says it’s ready to go again “in 4-6 seconds from re-launch to previous state.”

Although the permit from the FAA is valid only for one airline company ('Executive Jet Management'), according to Jeppesen's sources, even more and more companies are applying for the use of an iPad for mapping as well as replacing the flight manuals. The fact is that aviation in the U.S. (for a start) is about to change according to the modern breakthroughs of technology. Many airline companies will surely follow the footsteps of the airliners above. So, let us all hope that gaming is not a popular hobby for pilots (if you know what I mean.... well, just jokking.... I guess.... )

Facebook teams up with Skype for videochat feature

Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There have been reports or Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg announcing a cooperation deal with Skype for adding a new feature on his major Social network.

The news was reported by a respected technology blog, Tech Crunch, in a story written by its editor, Michael Arrington, a well-known figure in social media circles across the world. "Next week, says a source with knowledge of the partnership, Facebook will launch a new video chat product, powered by Skype," Arrington wrote.

With this new feature, the enrolled facebook user will be able to not just post updates and chat through an instant messenger system. The possibilities extend to an inside-browser videocall system which will be implemented very soon. And by 'soon' most sources indicate that Facebook will be equiped with videocall by the end of next week.

Videocall with the support of Skype will surely boost Facebooks use. And truth is that the implementation of a videocall feature has been rumored many times in the past. But now such a characteristic is almost certain to be announced next week by official facebook sources. And it is natural for facebook and other social networks to try to support their position against the upcoming 'Google Plus' .