Tag Archives: China

China Achieves Successful Manual Docking Of Spacecraft With Space Station

China has done what only the Americans and the Russians have had the right to brag about till now. Not only that, they did it, undid it and did it again! I am talking about the manual docking of the Shenzhou spacecraft on their Tiangong-I Space Station module.

Docking with the Tiangong-1 space station module.

The First Docking

The Chinese had launched their their Shenzhou-9 spacecraft to rendezvous with the Tiangong space station module on the 16th of June. Now, finally, on the 24th of June, the Chinese have attempted and succeeded in docking the modules. While Tiangong-1 is unmanned, Shenzhou wasn’t.

This is China’s first shot at an unmanned docking, marking a historic day when they achieve what only the Americans and the Russians have been able to achieve before them. But then, if it’s the Chinese, there’s always something more.

Docking Once More!

The Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts as they are called, undocked the two modules earlier today, and drove them apart by almost 400 meters. Then they attempted to manually maneuver the Shenzhou capsule, with Liu Wang, China’s first woman astronaut and a former fighter pilot, at the steering wheel. The procedure was a grand success! The refitted spacecraft-module configuration is now orbiting the Earth about 343 meters above the Earth’s surface.

China’s Manned Space Mission Program guys are a happy lot. Says Wu Ping, spokeswoman of the Manned Space Program:

The success of the manual rendezvous and docking mission represents another important phase achievement of the Shenzhou 9 and Tiangong 1 rendezvous and docking mission

And then adds

The three astronauts will once again enter the orbiting module of Tiangong 1 to carry out scientific experiments.

The crew returns on the 28th of June, touching down on Earth on the 29th.

China Sends Its First Woman Into Space As It Sets Up Its Space Station

China has joined the space race. The Asian giant with a booming economy launched its Shenzhou spacecraft carrying three astronauts, including the 33 year-old Liu Yang.

Liu Yang, the Chinese astronaut and first Chinese woman in space. (Courtesy: Reuters)

The spacecraft will dock with the spacestation module Tiangong 1. Tiangong means Heavenly Palace in Chinese. This is the second step in China’s long-time plans to put a space station in orbit, rivalling the International Space Station. The target year is 2020.

The Shenzhou spacecraft

While Tiangong 1 is nowhere close to the magnificence of the International Space Station, it has to be remembered that this is just a test module. The docking techniques being used by China have been mastered by only the Soviets and the Americans before. A space lab is on the cards and China is putting heavy stress on manned missions.

This is in complete contrast with the ambitions of the American space program, which is now focussing on unmanned and a future manned mission to Mars. While it has been only the Chinese government which has been funding and operating the space program, NASA has been encouraging private players like SpaceX and Orbital Corps into entering the space race. Of course, the end of the Space Shuttle program has a lot to do with that!

The Chinese are optimistic about their chances. Said Zhou Jianping, the chief designer of China’s manned mission:

I believe that we can achieve this goal, because we already have the basic technological capability

The Sino-US competition is getting hotter and, in a twist of fate, entering a space race just like the one of the Cold War days. History does repeat itself… hopefully in a more positive way.

HTC Unveils Three New Desire Handsets For China

HTC has announced a trio of Desire branded handsets for the Chinese market – the VT T328t, VC T328d and V T328w. Except for their complex names; the handsets are similar to each other. The spec sheet of the handsets include a 4-inch WVGA (480*800) S-LCD, a 1GHz Snapdragon S2 processor with an Adreno 205 GPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory, and a microSD card slot. The usual connectivity features and sensors are also present.

At the back of these Desire branded handsets is a 5MP camera aided by an LED flash. If you have not guessed it by now, these three new Desire handsets from HTC are nothing but re-branded HTC One V. Even though the handsets don’t use the One brand, they come with HTC’s ImageSense and Beats technology. The handsets will also be running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Sense 4.0 out of the box.

The VT T328t will be available on China Mobile, while the VC T328d will be available on China Telecom, and finally the V T328w will be available under China Unicom network. Talk about too much ‘China’ eh? All the three handsets will be available by the end of this month.

Via – GSMArena

 

Five People Charged After Boy Sells Kidney For iPad

New iPad

You may remember that in April of 2011, a 17-year-old from the Anhui province in China sold one of his kidneys for ¥22,000 (roughly $3,400). The teen, who goes under the surname Wang,  claimed he sold one of his kidneys because he wanted an Apple iPad 2, but could not afford it. When asked by his mother how he acquired the Apple tablet, Wang told her about the sale. Wang is now suffering from renal deficiency, which occurs when a person’s kidney is too small to sustain normal life.

Xinhua News Agency, a government-run news network in China, has recently stated that five people have been charged with intentional injury of Wang. While we are not completely sure who these five people are, Xinhua said that the surgeon and the broker have been charged. Xinhua has not stated who bought the kidney.

The broker reportedly received ¥220,000 (approximately $35,000) for the transplant. While Wang only received ¥22,000, the rest of the cash was divided between the defendants and medical staff. As of now, we are unsure if the buyer of the kidney will be charged as the trade of organs has been illegal in China since 2007.

Unfortunately, stories like these are becoming a regular occurrence because of the growing popularity of Apple products in China. Scalpers are getting in on the deal by purchasing mass quantities of Apple products on launch day and selling them for large profits in  tthe grey market. In the end, this causes people to go to perform outrageous acts in order to get the latest and greatest Apple device.

[SAI]

Anonymous Brings Down the Great Firewall of China with a Massive Hack

After a long inactive period, Anonymous has resurfaced with a massive hack in China. Nearly 500 websites have been hacked in this operation and these attacks have been carried out by an Anonymous group based off China. A Chinese Anonymous Twitter account was created to announce this operation involving the takedown of government websites, contractors and several trade groups. This marks the most successful hack by the Anonymous faction, because the Great Firewall of China was believed to be impenetrable until now.

Anonymous China started announcing the hack on a Twitter account, @AnonymousChina. However, the account was taken down later and all its tweet were removed. Nonetheless, Anonymous China has another Twitter account in place (WeWorkForGlobal) to spread its propaganda. Most of the hacked websites are still showing a message from Anonymous. It was reported that some of these websites came back online for a brief period, only to be DDoSed again. The complete list of hacked websites can be found on this page.

The message on all the hacked websites reads,

Hello, everyone! Message to the Chinese government: Over the years, the Chinese communist government to unfair laws and unhealthy process to control the people. Dear Chinese government, you is not never fall, and today the website is black, tomorrow is your evil regime fell. So do not think we will give up, never give up. All you have done to the people today, tomorrow will double back. Not a hint of tolerance. No one can stop us, not your anger, nor your arms. Not deter us, because you can not be intimidated by the thought. Chinese friend’s message: You have been in a do not understand you suffer under the tyranny of the government. We are with you. At this point, here with you. Tomorrow and beyond will be to ensure your freedom. We never give up. Do not give up hope, and revolution created since your heart. The silence of other countries has highlighted the fact that China’s lack of democracy and justice. This is intolerable. We are fully committed to fighting for your freedom.

Just last week, one of China’s defence contractors, China National Import & Export Corp. (CEIEC), was hacked by a hacker who likes to call himself Hardcore Charlie.

This breach of the Great Firewall of China proves the futility of having a government regulated censorship of this form. However, the matter might not end here. China itself has many pro-government hackers and they might retaliate with a counter attack or a dox of the hackers involved in this breach. We have seen Anonymous getting pwned by the ruthless Mexican drug mafia earlier. Let us just hope that this does not end up in bloodshed.

Nokia Lumia 800C And Lumia 610C Announced For China Telecom

Nokia recently announced the new Nokia Lumia 800C smartphone in China. This handset will be exclusively available for the China Telecom subscribers. The Nokia Lumia 800C is basically the CDMA variant of the company’s popular Lumia 800 smartphone. This handset runs on the Windows Phone 7.5 Operating System.

The Nokia Lumia 800C is the first CDMA Windows Phone in China. Apart from the Lumia 800C, Nokia also announced the Nokia Lumia 610C smartphone. It is also the CDMA variant of the Nokia Lumia 610 smartphone. The Nokia 610C is specially targeted at the youngsters for social networking and fast communications.

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, said,

“We’re excited to introduce our first Lumia smartphone, the Nokia 800C, to this important market with our exclusive launch partner, China Telecom. Working closely together, we’ve created a compelling, locally relevant experience on the Nokia 800C especially tailored for people in China.”

nokia lumia 800c

Nokia Lumia 800C features a 3.7 inch AMOLED display, sporting a resolution of 480 × 800 pixels, 1.4 GHz single core processor, 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, HD (720p) video recording and playback, 512 MB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, up to 335 hrs of stand-by time and a 1450mAh battery.

Nokia Lumia 610C features a 3.7 inch LCD display with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, 256 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, XBOX Live Hub, up to 720 hrs of stand-by time, up to 9.5 hrs of talk-time and a 1300 mAh battery.

Nokia also offers exclusive applications such as magazines from Trends and special offers for free downloads of popular gaming titles such as Fruit Ninja and PVZ. The Nokia Lumia 800C comes with a price tag of 3599 RMB (approx. $570). This handset will be available for purchase from next month at Tianyi FlyYoung shops, Nokia brand stores, Suning, Gome, Funtalk and other retail outlets. Nokia has not yet announced the price and availablity of the Nokia Lumia 610C.

Calm Down, Windows Phone Developers. Tango is Good for You!

Nokia Lumia 610

Recently, after a blog post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, there was concern among the Windows Phone developer community about the impact of 256MB phones on the general app quality. The basic assumption made was that apps will now have to be catered for the lowest common denominator. Per these concerns, today’s phones with 512MB memory, and tomorrow’s super phones with possibly more, will be under-utilized, and app developers may not be able to push the limits on the resource usage within their apps.

Justin Angel, the newly hired Principal Engineer at Nokia, has been doing the rounds of popular Windows Phone podcasts to clear the air on this topic. I listened to WPCentral and WPDevPodcast episodes recently, and wanted to highlight the main points Angel made. So, here you go:

  • As mentioned in the original blog post, there are less than 5% of the total apps which are affected by the restrictions imposed on the maximum memory an app can use.
  • These affected apps, which use more than 90MB of memory, should have actually been declined certification in the first place.
  • Microsoft had two choices on handling these apps – pull them off the Marketplace, or what they did, which is mark them as incompatible with the low-end devices, and notify each developer with an email. This email explains what the developer can do to update the app so it passes certification the next time they submit it.
  • The updated developer tools ship with a second emulator to help understand how an app would perform under both 256MB and 512MB devices. The best practice suggested is to always test the app in the 256MB emulator. Angel also suggested that developers should use the memory profiler that comes with the tools, which will help them in understanding where their app ends up using more memory.
  • Microsoft has made some clever technological updates in the “Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh”, aka Tango, which enable even the 256MB devices to support up to 90MB of memory per app. This trickery is completely transparent to the developer (and naturally, to the customer).
  • Since the trickery only applies to the 256MB devices, current Windows Phone customers need not worry about it at all. Developers also need not worry about how their apps will perform before and after Tango on the first-generation devices, since on those devices there is going to be no impact at all.
  • As for loss of functionality or APIs, the generic background agents will not work in the 256MB devices. These are two new types of agents introduced in Windows Phone Mango, which allow arbitrary code to run in the background based on app developer’s discretion. The apps which use such agents are listed under the new settings section so the customer can go and de-select to turn them off. Angel mentioned that because of this ability provided to the phone owner, these generic background agents should not have been made a core part of any app anyway. Remember, push notification services are still available, so toast notifications, live tile updates, alerts, etc. should still work if you use the Push Notification Service (and related APIs).

So there you go, developers. There is virtually nothing to worry about with Tango. In fact, there is a LOT to be excited about. With the addition of 23 new markets including China, and the push by Nokia and others into these markets with low-cost devices, there is a very good chance that the lower end devices will actually outsell the top end devices. If your app works on these low-end devices, you will now have access to about 60% more customers!

If you are one of the 5% affected developers, please let me know if you have a reason to exceed the 90MB memory limit. I’d like to know why it is so.

Nokia Hosting Lumia Launch Event On March 28

While HTC was the first company to launch a Windows Phone in China, it would appear that Nokia is acting fast to get a device launched in that market as well. Engadget China reports that Nokia is hosting a Lumia launch event in China on the 28th, during which they are expected to announce the devices, carriers, and availability dates; the phones won’t be available immediately. The Verge has received confirmation from a Nokia spokesperson that the company plans to actually launch the devices beginning in April, post-event.

So, which devices can we expect to go on sale in China? We know that Nokia will definitely be launching the Lumia 610, a Tango-era Windows Phone that’s tailored towards emerging markets. Thanks to diminished hardware requirements — along with some software-side limitations as well, which we covered here — Nokia were able to aptly price the 610 for emerging markets like China. Nokia may also launch the Lumia 800 in China as its high-end, flagship device in the region.

With HTC having already launched its Triumph mobile phone, along with LG and ZTE also wanting in on the Chinese mobile market, Nokia will have a fair bit of competition. It should be interesting to see how they — and the Windows Phone platform overall — perform in the region.

Samsung Thrice as Big as Apple in China

Notwithstanding all the hype surrounding Apple’s recent launch of the iPhone 4S on China Telecom, it seems that Apple is still way behind Samsung when it comes to the hard numbers. While Samsung has around 24.3% market share in China, Apple accounts for only around 7.5% of the total Chinese smartphone market, according to a Bloomberg report.

Apple’s iPhone was officially available only on China Unicom, and recently became available on China Telecom, China’s second and third largest telecom carriers respectively. However, Apple still doesn’t officially support China Mobile, which is the largest Chinese telecom operator. China Mobile still has around 15 million iPhone users though, who have purchased an unlocked device and use only 2G connections just to use the iPhone.

Samsung, on the other hand, supports all 3 carriers, and can easily reach almost the entire Chinese population. China and other developing markets are expected to contribute to a large portion of Apple’s revenue growth in the coming years. Its market share lead over Apple has doubled from the last quarter.

However, the market share alone doesn’t really show you the entire picture. Apple probably has a much higher profit that Samsung, despite having a third of the market share, thanks to its high profit margins.

Globally, Samsung is the largest smartphone maker, but the tremendous popularity of the iPhone 4S propelled Apple to the number one position in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Dent in the Great Firewall of China Pulls Hundreds of Chinese Netizens to Obama’s Google Plus Page

You have no idea how much I wanted to write an article under that headline. I did not know how much I wanted to write an article under that headline until I read the news. Apparently, a glitch in the matrix China’s nationwide firewall has allowed many Chinese users to troop around into Google +, the social networking platform with special emphasis on mobiles. These Chinese netizens have flocked to US President Barack Obama’s Google + page and written up posts that range from pleas for help to the US Green Card and applying for the same.

Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009.</p>
<p>(Photo by Pete Souza)</p>
<p>

Many of these Chinese users have reportedly been using the mobile platform through which Google + is accessible, rather than fixed computers, much to the chagrin of the Chinese authorities (or so I would like to believe, since there is not much information on that front). China has blocked Twitter and Facebook following ethnic riots in some parts of the country, while Google has been fighting a hard battle against censoring some search results for the country.

It would be fun to see how President Obama, already reeling under pressure from many parts of the Internet as well as the people in general, will respond to a Chinese “request” to take down the messages on Google + – many of which criticize Beijing’s censorship.

For China, Microsoft To Replace Twitter, Facebook, Xbox LIVE With Local Services

Back in December, Michael Kan wrote at Computer World that  Microsoft’s Windows Phone launch in China was delayed to the first half in 2012. According to news surfacing, Windows Phone 7’s handsets in China will launch with Tango.

Tang Dynasty at WPDang is says Windows Phone 7 Tango handsets will be available starting march 2012. The more interesting information in Dynasty’s article is, Microsoft replacing key features in Windows Phone with local services widely used in China. Microsoft has talked a lot about the Xbox LIVE integration in Windows Phone; the phone is being seen as an extension of the console–as a remote and a portable gaming device. Damaster at Liveside says, in China, there will be no Xbox LIVE.

Windows Phone 7’s social integration–Facebook and Twitter–will be replaced with local social networks. Unlike in the West, Weibo is the micro-blogging platform used in China. Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey, tweeted last month about Twitter being blocked in China; given this having Twitter integration made little sense for Microsoft. It is probably an intelligence move on Microsoft’s part that they’ve partnered with Weibo to integrate the service in Windows Phone, as confirmed by Damaster at Liveside.

Same is the case with Facebook. In China, Microsoft will be replacing Facebook with RenRen.

China Trying To Get An Astronaut On The Moon By 2025!

China is fast becoming the biggest threat’ to the American supremacy in space. They plan to put their very own astronaut on the Moon. The intention of a manned spacecraft to the Moon comes after the Chinese had revealed extravagant plans to build its own space station. An officially written white paper provides the future goals for the Chinese space program.

A more common scene? (Courtesy: The Washington Post)

China plans to enter the space exploration grand stage in three steps. The first one involves the said lunar mission. The next one involves replicating what NASA has done with the LRO, viz. putting a satellite around the moon. The last one involves returning lunar samples to study back to Earth.

The proposed Chinese space station

This is probably the worst news for NASA’s space program. It is still to recover from the retirement of the space shuttle fleet and is dependent heavily on the Russians for trips to and from the space station. Also, the weakening economy is not helping things.

The Chinese have a long way to go, though, before they can even begin to think about challenging the US supremacy. No hard deadline has been given, but unofficial word indicates that the Chinese would like to put up the space station by 2020 and the man on the Moon by 2025.

Ken Pounds, a researcher at Leicester University, UK, thinks this might be a blessing in disguise for the faltering US space program:

Assuming the Chinese are serious, which recent history suggests they are, then I believe the impact could be game-changing. “It is very unlikely the U.S. would not respond. That could breathe new life into their space exploration programme, which is currently going nowhere.

Space exploration is a great idea, but history tells us a grim and different story about two powers trying to outdo one another in that regard. Let us just hope that space remains a peaceful frontier for man, for ever!

Lenovo Unveils LePad S2007 and LePad S2010, Android Honeycomb Tablets

Lenovo unveiled two new Android tablets at an event in China today. The LePad S2007 and the LePad S2010 run Android 3.1 Honeycomb, and will likely get an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich eventually.

The LePad S2007 comes with a 7 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, while the LePad S2010 comes with a 10.1 inch display with the same resolution.

Both these tablets are powered by a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm processor, and 1 GB of RAM. They offer dual mode 3G connectivity (EVDO & WCDMA), so they will work with both China Telecom and China Unicom. Both also come with an 8 MP primary camera and a 1.3 MP secondary camera.

The LePad S2007 comes with a 3780 mAh battery and weighs 360 gms, while the LePad S2010 comes with a mammoth 7560 mAh battery and weighs 670 gms.

Both devices will be available in China, next month, along with the 5 inch Lenovo LePad S2005, which was also unveiled today.

Here’s an image of the trio – LePad S2005, LePad S2007 & LePad S2010 – posing together.

Lenovo LePad S2007 & S2010

Everyone seems to be focusing on the largest smartphone market in the world – China – these days. Hopefully, we will also see Lenovo launch variants of these devices globally.

Mitsubishi Heavy- Japan’s Top Defense Contractor, Gets Hacked

Japan’s top defense contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy, has confirmed that it was a victim of a cyber-attack recently. The hack attempt targeted submarine, missile and nuclear plant data stored on their computers. Reportedly, malware was found on almost 80 computers inside the company, including 45 servers and 38 PCs. This confirms that there were 80 infected computers running at 11 Mitsubishi Heavy sites for an uncertain period, nearly half of which were servers.

mitshubishi-heavy-logo

The attacks on Mitsubishi Heavy were spotted for the first time on August 11 and the intrusion seems to have come from a spear-phishing attack. This form of phishing involves sending spoofed emails to the recipient, making it look like it comes from a known email address. The day of this attack was the 80th anniversary of the Manchurian incident.

China has denied involvement with this attack. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson  Hong Lei says,

Such allegations are groundless. The Chinese government has always opposed  Internet  hacking. Chinese laws prohibit hacking and other cybercrimes.  I would like to emphasize that the Chinese government is willing to cooperate with other countries to fight against cybercrimes including hacking.

The matter is still under investigation and a Mitsubishi Heavy spokesperson has said,

There is no possibility of any leakage of defense-related information at this point.

Mitsubishi heavy is the largest and the most reputed defense contractor in Japan. IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries), which is another defense contractor at Japan, was also hit by a similar attack. While Mitsubishi Heavy specializes in  submarine  technology, IHI is famous for its aircraft turbochargers.

This event has  occurred four months after the largest defense contractor in the US was hit by a cyber-attack. In both these cases, it is amusing to see how China is linked to every cyber-attack on defense contractors.

(Via: WSJ, Source: Al Jazeera)

Now, Chinese Scientists Want To Capture An Asteroid Into An Orbit Around Earth

The world is truly not enough anymore. Chinese astronomers want to capture a near earth object (NEO) and force it to orbit Earth. What about the risks, you ask? What about the rewards, comes the answer!

The Asteroid intended for capture. From the arXiv paper of the Chinese astronomer team.

Petting an Asteroid

Researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing want to emulate artificially what Jupiter does on a regular basis capture asteroids. Here’s the trick: Planets will pull smaller objects into an orbit around themselves if the object passes close to them. Now, if the planet is large enough, the orbit will be closed around the planet. Otherwise, the body can just complete a turnaround and fly off into space again. Most of the time this is what happens for Earth. There are many asteroids which get deflected from their paths due to the Earth’s gravity. The Chinese astronomers argue that if we can nudge it just a bit and in the right direction, we can bring it into orbit around the Earth.

The trick Jupiter does to often!

So, what of the obvious dangers? What protection do we have if we make a mistake and find an asteroid hurtling into the sea? Simple the atmosphere. The NEO that the scientists want to study is called 2008EA9, which is a mere 10 meters across and is due to pass Earth in 2049. The group even has a paper published in one of the Chinese Astrophysical Journals.

Why an asteroid? We can look at the asteroid for a few years continuously. We can mine for minerals on the asteroid. We can impinge them and get to know how the Solar System came to be. And then, we can send them on their way out into oblivion once again.

So wait for a few years you might be able to keep an asteroid.