Trojan horse Flashback botnet returns, Intego VirusBarrier includes protection
The Flashback botnet -- a malware attack which first appeared in 2011 -- has been noted as being still a threat in 2014, according to Intego. Beginning January 2, Intego studied command and control domains, and its sinkhole servers recorded all connections from Macs where Flashback is still active, trying to contact the command and control servers. This research, as of Tuesday, counted 14,248 unique identifiers of Flashback variants.
Google updates Glass Explorer Edition, app to avoid tethering charges
Google has updated the Explorer Edition of Google Glass, allowing users to avoid tethering fees on their carrier's data plans. The XE9 firmware, discovered by user Nick Starr, appears to allow the headwear to send and receive data via its companion app on a smartphone, with Engadget reporting that it is bypassing the phones Bluetooth tethering settings.
Android 79 percent of smartphone market, iOS 14.2-percent share
Research by Gartner suggests that sales of smartphones have exceeded those of feature phones for the first time. While global smartphone sales have increased by 3.6 to 435 million in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year, according to Gartner's own figures, smartphones make up 225 million of the total, a year-on-year increase of 46.5 percent, with feature phones seeing a 21-percent year-on-year decline to 210 million units.
One Samsung design center will accommodate 10,000 employees
Samsung is preparing to invest in five research and development centers in its native South Korea, say company officials. The investment, in the region of 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion) will cover the creation and operation of the new centers in the country over the next three years, in its efforts to create new products and technologies.
Says company must create game-changing products more often
In a article that could have been written by Samsung's advertising department, the Sydney Morning Herald has published an article detailing claims from "social researcher" Michael McQueen, who tracks the ever-shifting tastes of the group he calls "Gen-Y" (meaning people who reached their teenage years after 2001). In it, he says that despite wide evidence to the contrary, Apple is "losing its cool" with youth.
Research firm sees 51.8-percent rise in touchscreen-enabled notebook shipments
Almost one in ten notebook computers shipped in the first quarter of 2013 have touchscreens, according to a market research firm's report. It is claimed by Displaybank that 4.57 million of the notebooks used the displays out of a total shipment figure of 46 million, a rise of 51.8 percent compared to the previous quarter.
Capacitors supports 10k recharge cycles
An 18-year-old student, Eesha Khare, has reportedly developed a new form of energy storage, referred to as a supercapacitor, that promises to recharge a cellphone in 20 to 30 seconds. The research project landed Khare a $50,000 scholarship and an Intel Foundation Young Scientists Award at the Intel-sponsored International Science and Engineering Fair, along with a $5,000 "best of category" award and another $3,000 prize in the chemistry division.
Survey includes notebooks, tablets, phones, excludes actual sales
In its latest report, industry research firm Canalys is reporting on what it calls "worldwide smart mobile device shipments" for the first quarter of the year -- a term that includes smartphones, notebooks and tablets. Of the 308.7 million devices that fall under one of those categories that shipping in Q1, around 60 percent were said to be Android devices, reflecting the platform's strength in smartphones -- the fastest-growing area of mobile electronics. Apple's iOS placed second again, despite a dominant presence in tablets.
Apple still tops all usage studies, suggesting stronger actual sales
Research firm IDC has posted the results of a questionable study on tablet "market share" that makes the claim -- not supported by sales evidence -- that Android has outgunned Apple in the tablet market, with 56.5 percent share in the first calendar quarter of the year, leaving Apple with barely 40 percent. The study also claims that Asus, not Amazon, is the third-largest tablet vendor with 5.5 percent of the market, having seen 350 percent growth year-over-year. The numbers seem unbelievable -- until one notices that IDC is estimating shipments, not sales.
Released video shows robot capable of changing wheel, using tools
DARPA has demonstrated the results of its research into creating low-cost robotic hands. A clip released by the agency shows a robotic torso using an ordinary electric screwdriver to remove the screws mounting a wheel to a frame, before removing the wheel and attempting to re-mount a second wheel in its place.
Agreement follows more ITC complaints from InterDigital
Sony has formed a new company with InterDigital, which will work on wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and bandwidth management systems. It has also been revealed that Sony has signed up for a patent license from InterDigitial for its 3G and 4G devices, and comes shortly after InterDigital filed ITC complaints with a number of other manufacturers.
Research to boost power five times in five years
The US Department of Energy is making a push to improve the technology used in batteries. The newly-formed Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), originally the Batteries and Energies Storage Hub, hopes to develop batteries five times more powerful than at present, at a fifth of the cost, over the next five years.
Briefcase-sized transmitter could block thousands of devices
An LTE network in a city could be taken down by $650 worth of equipment, according to researchers. The team at Virginia Tech believes that a battery-operated transmitter the size of a small briefcase could, if operated correctly, knock out 4G coverage for miles around a large base station, cutting off communications for thousands of users.
NC State software could be added to existing hardware
Researchers have worked out a way to boost the throughput of a high-traffic Wi-Fi network by up to 700 percent. Created by a team at NC State University, software called WiFox is able to monitor data traffic and set priority for various users, balancing traffic flow between multiple routers on a network and allowing for a smoother connection for the majority of users.
University to spend three years making OOFDM commercially viable
Scientists are working on a way to improve broadband speeds to 2,000 times that of what is currently offered to users. A team of researchers for Bangor University in the UK have succeeded in creating a 20-gigabit fiber optic connection, and will spend the next three years working on making it more commercially viable.
Nokia N900 converted to vibrate when squeezed
A phone has been modified to be able to transfer a squeeze to another phone. A prototype by Nokia Research and the Helsinki Institute of Information Technology amended an N900 to use a resistor to detect up to four different levels of pressure from compression. The recipient of the phone call receives different levels of vibration, depending on the amount of pressure applied.
Robot to use objects as tools and simple machines
A team of researchers have been given funds to develop a robot that behaves like MacGyver. A three-year, $900,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research has been handed to the Georgia Institute of Technology, to try and create a machine that can interact with the local environment as well as humans can.
Research to create next generation of mobile standards
A research center has been created in the UK to help in the development in 5G networks. The 5G Center is a partnership between the University of Surrey and various mobile companies, which will look into maximizing the use of the limited radio spectrum available, as well as making the future standard “greener” than previous versions.
Project aims to help disabled police officers back to work
Researchers are working on robotic members of the police force. The Discovery Lab of Florida International University is working with the US Navy Reserves on building telepresence robots, controlled by disabled police officers and members of the armed forces, that could be used to police the streets, according to CNET.
Charging efficiencies in larger batteries increased hundredfold
South Korean scientists claim to have found a way to greatly reduce electric car charging times from hours to minutes. The researchers have altered the geometry and physics of a lithium-ion battery to allow the cell to charge evenly throughout the battery, rather than charging from the terminals inward during a standard reduction-oxidation reaction on larger lithium-ion batteries.
Electrostatic field generator offers multiple touch sensations
A team at Disney Research has created a new wearable tactile technology that effectively changes the sensation felt when touching physical objects, using electricity. Revel can add artificial tactile sensations to almost any surface or object, without having to use the motors and actuators currently employed by touchscreen haptic feedback found in phones and tablets, and force feedback rumbling found in game controllers.
Mac, Linux see up to five percent variance in data
Neurological imaging tool FreeSurfer, curated at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, is a commonly-used open-source software tool employed by researchers to measure cortical thickness and volume of varying brain structures from the MRI scan of a patient. Recent research has shown that the calculations, given the same input, can vary up to 15 percent between different versions of the software, and up to five percent between Linux and OSX. No explanation has been given by the curators for the phenomenon.
Researchers use retinal latency to boost low-resolution screen
Researchers have found a way to increase the resolution of a display beyond its normal capabilities, thanks to the inherent latency of the brain's visual processing. Floraine Berthouzoz and Raqanan Fattal, graphics researchers, found that by vibrating the screen and quickly showing four lower-resolution images of a larger-resolution photograph, the viewer's brain can combine the images and see something close to the original photo.
Processor loses 8 percent accuracy, slashes power draw
Researchers from Rice University and other institutions have unveiled an "inexact" computer chip that is built to allow for errors. The design forsakes 100 percent accuracy in an effort to save power; in its current form, the chips are claimed to be up to 15 times more efficient than current technology.
Research firm claims 91 percent of mobile game revenue as in-game sales
American gamers spend five times more on iOS games compared to those on Android, according to game-focused research firm Newzoo. The claim is said to be based on a comparison of revenue and download data from the top 200 grossing games, along with survey results from a group of 17,000 gamers.
Colloidal quantum dot construction revolutionized
Researchers at Brown University have uncovered a new method of producing a polychromatic laser. A new material has been produced that, in conjunction with a monochromatic laser, is capable of producing laser light simultaneously in the red, blue, and green (RGB) wavelengths. This new material points the way towards multi-wavelength, single-material lasers for commercial utility.
MIT research shows glass that bounces water off
MIT researchers have worked out a way to make glass without all the drawbacks in the medium. The 34 page research paper explains a method for making self-cleaning, hydrophobic and extremely clear glass.
Copper-graphene composite said to be low cost
Researchers at North Carolina State University have reportedly developed a new form of graphene technology that is claimed to be suitable for electronics cooling systems. The copper-graphene composite materials are said to bring a 25 percent improvement in thermal conductivity compared to pure copper.
Researchers 'twist' airwaves, boost bandwidth
A team of Swedish and Italian physicists has developed an experimental technique that has the potential to dramatically increase both speed and bandwidth using the electromagnetic wireless spectrum. According the BBC, the method exploits a property of physics that can be observed in space known as the ‘orbital angular momentum’ of airwaves. Already in discussions to commercialize the technology, the researchers have used the phenomenon to impart the waves with a ‘twist’ to fit multiple data streams where previously there was only room for one.
Microsoft demos blend physical and digital worlds
Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie unveiled several new technologies that blue the line between physical and digital reality at the fifth annual TechForum gathering at Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. The innovations included the latest iteration of the holographic projection systems for the desktop, an augmented reality mirror, and a low-cost lamplike device that turns any surface into a shared VR environment. The devices could find application in areas as diverse as education, gaming and business.
Microsoft Research releases 'Code Space'
Microsoft Research has released a new user interface for sharing content across devices and displays using Kinect technology. Project 'Code Space' has currently been implemented for developers who are working in small teams and who want to move content from a presentation onto their device simply by using a hybrid of touch and air gesture interactions.
Researchers use graphene for flex transistors
Korean researchers have developed flexible transistors using graphene to accomplish the feat. The researchers had experimented with a range of conventional materials including molecules, polymers and metals but found them to be ineffective for this purpose. Graphene has an advantage in that it can be integrated using the traditional printing processes at room temperatures without vacuum or high-temperature steps.
Research network and library coordination app
Mendeley, a collaborative social network for researchers combined with a cloud-based document management and storage application, has hit several milestones lately: over 1 million individual users, over 100 million research papers in its database, and the release of Mendeley Desktop 1.0 for all three major platforms. The app works as a PDF document management tool and offers levels of public and private collaborative sharing.
Menu extra now persistent, new RSS style sheets
DevonTechnologies has released the last public beta of their Internet research assistant software DevonAgent 3.0 which adds new plug-ins and features for increased functionality, along with a maintenance release for all editions of DevonThink and DevonNote. The latter two programs now sport important bug fixes and an improved DevonThink To Go conduit for packaged file formats such as iWork documents.
Prototype flexible PaperPhone makes its debut
Canadian researchers have debuted the PaperPhone (PDF), a prototype smartphone made from electronic paper. The fully functional smartphone can make and receive phone calls, send texts, play music and even display e-books. However, the device moves beyond accepting now familiar touch inputs, to trigger different functions according to the way it is handled. Bending it, folding it and flexing it at its corners or sides can control the phone’s actions.
Hot laps and sub-par sound the main complaints
A survey of laptop owners done by Wakefield Research on behalf of accessory maker Logitech has revealed that although they enjoy the mobility they get from the devices, the compromises made are a sore spot -- and that sore spot is often located in their laps.
Need for copper wires replaced by light pulses
IBM has announced that its scientists have created a system that allows computer chips to communicate using light instead of electrical signals. The device, known as a nanophotonic avalanche photodetector, is claimed to be be ultra-fast while minimizing power consumption.
iPhone treats stuttering
The iPhone is being used as a "real-life" therapy tool for stuttering. The Hollins Communications Research Institute says it has developed special software for the device that monitors and evaluates speech patterns to help patients overcome the speech impediment which affects an estimated 66 million people worldwide. The software provides training and feedback for patients in their everyday lives, outside of a speech clinic.
Apple edges Acer for No. 3
Research firm IDC reports that worldwide PC shipments grew at 15 percent in the second quarter of 2008. The quarter also saw Apple roughly tie Acer in the US market, assuming fourth place and missing third place by only a few thousand units. Demand in the United States suffered from the ongoing economic pressure, with rowth in the low single-digits. Dell continued its recovery with another quarter of double-digit growth, while HP saw year on year growth rise from the first quarter. Portable adoption continues to be a key driver, even though consumer share is generally at its lowest during the second quarter.
3G iPhone impact mobile TV
Apple has a window of opportunity to make a significant impact on the mobile TV market with it's imminent launch of the 3G iPhone around the world, according to the latest report from Analysys Mason. Market research shows that many iPhone owners have accessed TV and video content, with greater frequency than subscribers using other types of mobile handsets. If a new iPhone based on AT&T faster "3G" network is announced during next week's Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) it could mean big things for the mobile TV market.
Apple takes 63rd place
A private New York-based research and consulting firm, Reputation Institute, recently compiled a list of the 600 largest companies with the best reputations, with Apple taking the 63rd spot, ahead of Microsoft at 137th place. Forbes reports that the electronics manufacturer went up 1.71 points from 73.71 a year ago, to 75.42 in the 2008 "Pulse" score, more than 11 points ahead of the global average. Clinching the top three spots were Japanese care manufacturer Toyota, search giant Google, and Swedish home furnishing company IKEA.
Sente 5.5 enhances PDF
Third Street Software has released Sente 5.5 with enhanced PDF management. Sente is an academic reference manager that helps users find, organize, review and cite the academic literature. Version 5.5 offers the ability to create references directly from the PDF files they already have, as well as new PDFs that they receive from colleagues. It also adds the ability to create complete references by entering only an ISBN, DOI or other common identifier using Google Scholar, the Library of Congress and PubMed to create complete references when importing a new PDF.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has reversed a prior downgrade on share's of Apple Inc, changing his rating on the stock to from Neutral to Buy. Wu's downgrade came right before Apple's blowout March quarter, in which the company announced record revenues on surging Mac sales. Barrons quotes Wu: "We overestimated the potential negative reaction on the quarter and in hindsight should have moderated our near-term posture rather than downgrading. While AAPL shares will likely remain volatile and may offer a better entry point, we need to align our rating with our longer term view on fundamentals." Wu has set a $210 price target on Apple's stock. Barrons also notes that RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky has raised his target price on Apple to $220 from $200, predicting that Apple will sell 14 million iPhones this year.
- Mactracker 5.0.2 (donationware) database of Mac models. The latest Apple hardware has been added along with numerous improvements to the "My Models" category in the main window. New specification entries include "Brightness" and "DPI" information (where available) for the built-in display on MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models. The maximum supported resolution for an external display is now detailed for Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and PowerBook G3/G4 models. This release also fixes an issue with creating new Smart Categories. [Download - 20.8MB]
- Graph Paper Maker 1.9 ($20) lets you create your own custom sheets of graph paper. It is ideal for students, teachers, engineers, scientists, researchers, businessmen, and others who need to create specialized sheets of graph paper.
The latest release of Graph Paper Maker adds options to create custom sheets of engineering and lined paper. [Download - 1.4MB]
- Bookmaker 2.2 book publishing system. The new release has 10 Upgraded Book Styles, with over 400 page layouts in total to choose from. Now available for ordering are: Professional Glossy Book Jackets; Deluxe Size PhotoBooks, 15" x 11.5" and imported Leather Covers (custom-made, stitched and padded covers for picture window PhotoBooks) [Download - 9.4MB]
- Default Folder X 4.0.4 ($35) makes it easier for you to manage files by adding features and correcting flaws in the file dialogs of all Mac OS X applications. This release delivers compatibility fixes for Carbon applications, resolving issues that have been reported with FileBuddy, the Microsoft Office 2008 Suite, and Adobe CS3. It also corrects problems with accented characters in the Spotlight comment dialogs that it adds to Open and Save dialogs, and fixes several interface bugs and display problems. [Download - 8.4MB]
- MacTuneUp ($30) discovers and fixes problems, restores hard disk space, creates bootable disk backups, and maximizes Internet and network connections to squeeze the best performance from your Mac. The new release includes greatly improved Leopard compatibility, the ability to redesign the dock, and the support of three languages: English, French and German. Current users can update MacTuneUp by selecting "Update..." in the MacTuneUp menu, or by visiting. [Download - purchase]
Apple shares up 4.5%
Shares of Apple Computer Inc. are up $6.51 to $161 near the end of trading on friday, representing a gain of 4.21 percent. The uptick could be due, at least in part, to strong market share gains posted by the company in recent surveys from various research firms. Apple saw the biggest gain among the top 5 vendors in the U.S. market according to Gartner, enjoying strong retail sales coupled with "decent growth" in the professional market. According to IDC, Apple is expected to come in at fourth place and ship 950,000 Macs to Americans during the first quarter of 2008, earning itself an increase from 5.7 percent in the prior quarter to 6 percent. The increase is a 25.1 percent jump over sales in early 2007 and also represents more than a full percentage point increase in marketshare from year to year.
Analyst Apple myths
Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research has published an article addressing the suitability of Apple products -- the Mac and iPhone in particular -- for business purposes. Noting that Most IT departments are not deploying Macintosh systems in large numbers and those that are are deploying are usually in niche spaces such as graphic arts, Gartenberg says that the Mac OS has changed significantly in the last few years and says that Apple's systems now offer a reasonable alternative for Windows systems used in businesses.
Mathematica Player Pro
Wolfram Research has announced the release of Mathematica Player Pro, the new delivery system for Mathematica applications and interactive documents. Player Pro gives access to any Mathematica-6-based notebook files to users who do not have the full version of the software, allowing performance of adaptive visualization, controlling interface elements, connecting to real-time data, and more. Developers can build applications in Mathematica and then use Player Pro to deploy them to anyone.
Although the U.S. economic slowdown has led to a pullback in PC spending by both consumers and corporations, planned purchases of Apple computers remain relatively strong, even in the slower buying environment according to a new study by ChangeWave research. Apple is the leader among consumers who plan to buy a laptop (31 percent) over the next 90 day. Similarly, Apple planned desktop computer purchases (28 percent; down 1 point) are close to record levels. The study also finds that Apple continues to set the standard for customer satisfaction among corporate respondents who use the Leopard operating system – with 53 percent saying they are Very Satisfied with the software. In comparison, Windows XP Pro has a 40 percent Very Satisfied rating and Microsoft Vista Business achieved just 8 percent.
Mac ownership up
Apple ownership is up among students at the University of Virginia, with 25-percent of freshmen owning a Mac, up from 20-percent in the year prior, according to a computer ownership study performed last fall. These figures show a steep acceptance curve, as ownership was around 4-percent only five years ago, according to The Chronicle. The research indicates that, out of all students polled, 99-percent said they own a laptop, and 0.1-percent admit to not owning a computer at all.
Survey: 6% iPod decline
Analysis of the first month of March quarter iPod NPD data points to iPod sales of between 9.5-10.3 million, according to research firm Piper Jaffray, which would signal a 6 percent year-over-year decline. "While it is way too early to make a definitive call on March quarter iPod units, we have analyzed the first month of NPD data (Jan.) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod units of 9.5m-10.3m," said Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. Wall Street consensus on iPod sales for Apple's March quarter currently stand at 10.8 million units, representing a 2 percent year-over-year increase.