Category Archives: Tech News

Google acquires Instantiations: Google Web Toolkit keeps getting Better

Eric Clayberg, VP of Product Development at Instantiations wrote in an email today saying,

I have exciting news to share about important developments here at Instantiations… Instantiations’ award-winning Java and Ajax development tools and our incredible Eclipse team have been acquired by Google! We’re all very excited about taking our technology and team to the next level – and there is no bigger step up than Google!

google-logo

The same message has been put up on the  Instantiations homepage too and the people at Instantiations are quite excited about this. Instantiations is now a part of the Google Web Toolkit and Google is planning to use the GWT designer in Instantiations to its own advantage. Instantiations provides developers with a GUI interface for building applications using Google Web Toolkit. The seamless integration with Eclipse IDE simply makes things better.

However, Instantiations will still exist under the same brand name and will work on Smalltalk. The GWT part of the company will be forked off to Google. Instantiations holds many Smalltalk products like the Smalltalk IDE and VA Smalltalk under its banner.

With this acquisition, Google has acquired a powerful tool, a powerful team and has increased our expectations. Together, this team can make significant improvements and we hope to see of it soon enough.

(Source)

Gmail Introduces Drag-and-Drop To Save Attachments

What makes Gmail so powerful is the simplicity and usability of features, no matter how small they are. Recently added to the list is the drag-and-drop feature to save attachments from your Gmail to your desktop. Instead of clicking on Download, each time you want to save an attachment, just drag and drop it to its destination folder.

Gmail already allows users to drag-and-drop files in to their Gmail to add as attachments, a feature that saves a lot of time when you have to attach multiple files to an email. While the feature is not a game changing one, it definitely is a re-assurance that Gmail is working hard to give more power and  efficiency  to the users.

On the other hand, Hotmail has been trying to hard to win over some hearts by rolling out a set of new features and new looks to its 350 Million users world wide. There are definitely some features that make Hotmail slightly better now bur are they good enough to make Hotmail stand up against Gmail, what do you think?

Lala May Offer Streaming Videos Instead Of Music

When Apple bought Lala late last year, the  consensus  was that Apple will launch a web version of iTunes that will allow users to stream music from the cloud and access it from any internet-enabled device. However, it seems like everybody thought of that but Apple. According to many music labels, Apple still hasn’t secured rights to do that and Apple has been debriefing that if a cloud-based version of iTunes is indeed launched it would be very “modest in scope”.

On the other hand,  rumors  are floating around that Apple has a team working on video streaming services for quite a while now and plans to offer streaming of TV shows and movies from Lala. While nothing is certain yet, the fact that Apple is building a $1 Billion data center in North Carolina supports the fact that Apple is gearing up its infrastructure to offer some serious streaming services.

However, it is also important to note that Apple cannot let go of such a huge market in which Google is almost ready to enter. It is strongly believed that Google will launch its music streaming service pretty soon and without the stringent requirement of a native app like iTunes, Google’s music service can do very well specially with the given growth of Android users.

So, even though there is a lot of speculation around iTunes or Apple’s video streaming service, like every other Apple product, there is nothing conclusive yet and probably won’t be till the actual day of launch.

Twitter Hits The 20 Billion Tweets Milestone

While Twitter may not have as many users as Facebook, the growth it is experiencing is nothing short of phenomenal. As GigaTweet reports, 20 Billion tweets have been sent since Twitter launched in 2006. This is amazing given the fact that only 5 months ago this number was 10 Billion.  With an increasing global outreach, Twitter is still experiencing an astounding growth rate. The number of tweets per day has also reached to 50 Million and it is constantly growing.

GigaTweet is an unofficial web service that keep tracks of Twitter activity and forecast future milestones based on historical data. For example, GigaTweet predicts that it will take Twitter just 11 days to hit the 21 Billion mark and 126 more days to hit 30 Billion.

However, despite the tremendous growth Twitter has been struggling to properly monetize the massive traffic. They have introduced a number of strategies recently to help them make money which include sponsored tweets, sponsored trends and the @EarlyBird account that provides shopping deals.

If you are still not a believer in the miracles of Twitter, check out our post on some extra ordinary and amazing things that have been done using Twitter.

Augen Launches New $150 Android Tablet

Augen has just launched the cheapest Android tablet in the US. The Augen GenTouch Tablet is powered by Android 2.1 and is available for just $150. It’s available at Kmart and has started shipping.

Augen Gentouch Android Tablet

Augen GenTouch Android Tablet Specifications

* Display: 7 inch TFT touchscreen display, 800 x 480 pixels
* CPU: 800 Mhz
* Ram: 256 MB DDR2
* Internal Memory: 2 GB
* Expansion Slots: SD/MMC card slot up to 16 GB
* Connectivity: Wi-Fi Connectivity with Full Web Browsing Capability
* Ebook Formats: Text, PDF, E-PUB, HTML
* Media Formats: MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, JPEG, BMP, 3GP, MP4
* Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Battery

It also supports the Android Market, giving you access to over 80,000 apps. For only $150, the Augen tablet seems like a really sweet deal.

Here’s a user video review via Engadget

Official Links:

Augen Android Tablet – Augen US

Augen Android Tablet – Kmart

Judge refuses to Freeze LimeWire Assets, RIAA gets an In Your Face

We all remember how the RIAA went after LimeWire when it could not make enough out of people and especially students. Greg Sandoval at the CNET blog on Digital Entertainment writes,

In March, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Lime Group, parent company of Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton  are liable for copyright infringement by enabling and “inducing” users of the file-sharing software LimeWire to pirate songs from the four major record companies.

Mark Gorton created LimeWire and he happens to be the founder of Lime Group. The RIAA has an ongoing case against the company from 2007 and has tried to freeze all assets of Gorton. However, recently, RIAA accuses Gorton of having moved asset into private family trust.

The judge ruling this case has denied freezing these assets. However, LimeWire will not stay here for long and in all probability, it will be shut down and the assets frozen. Apart from that, it would also have to pay fines amounting in billions of dollars.

(Source)

Wikileaks and Julian Assange, now Insured against the US Government

While Julian Assange is enjoying his time in Sweden, he cannot necessarily stay there for eternity in a house arrest. In a new move, he has now ensured and insured his safe passage out of Sweden without the FBI making trouble for him.

Just like NDAKOTA in Digital Fortress, Assange is now insured with a passphrase which will make for the largest leak Wikileaks has ever made. Wikileaks has a new file “insurance” in its server which is encrypted with an AES256 encryption. The file is posted on the Afghan War page and is sized at more than all the earlier Wikileaks leaks combined. The file has 77,000 Afghan war documents.

In case something happens to Julian Assange or Wikileaks, volunteers will release passphrase of the documents and it will be open to all. If that happens, the United States will have a lot of people to answer to.

The expected greatest benefits from this release would possibly go to Taliban which has already claimed to be scanning through the Wikileaks documents. They are looking for people involved in the matter and are ready to punish them if needed.

(Source)

BlackBerry May Be Launching a Tablet This November

Blackberry’s plan to launch a tablet computer to rival the iPad has been speculated for quite some time now, but the speculations got affirmed when earlier this week Blackberry bought the domain BlackPad.com Many think that this will be the name for BlackBerry’s iPad rival.

Bloomberg cites some specific details of the device and claim that the launch is set for this fall. According to the report, the device would sport a 9.7 inch display and will offer WiFi and Bluetooth as connectivity options. No 3G connectivity has been plan for the device so the customers don’t have to way for an extra data plan. The device will also be able to tether with the Blackberry smartphones using the  Bluetooth  and use its data connectivity.

There are no further details or images out yet but it will be exciting to see if Blackberry can any unique features to steal iPad’s market share. There is specially some discussion around the type of keyboard BlackBerry would offer on its tablets. The brand doesn’t have a good track record with touch screen keypad on its phones, but on the other hand, a physical keyboard would probably kill the whole charm of a tablet. The device will also have front and back facing cameras to  accommodate  video conferencing features and will be priced  around $499, the same as Apple’s iPad.

PayPal Re-enables Electronic Withdrawal Service in India

PayPal India has built quite a reputation for pulling nasty surprises out of the blue. Three days back, they suspended indefinitely electronic withdrawal services or direct deposits in India. The good news is that something changed, and PayPal has re-enabled the crucial electronic withdrawal services.

Paypal-Withdrawal

As always, PayPal’s official announcement offers little explanation and simply apologizes for any inconvenience. “We want you to know that our customers are our #1 priority and we are working non-stop to improve our service to you”, wrote Dickson Seow from PayPal’s Corporate Communications team. The previously announced $5 refund for cheque withdrawals will also be continued for Indian users.

Needless to say, these out of the blue jolts have seriously damaged PayPal’s reputation. It’s hard to imagine PayPal being happy with the current situation either. Although we don’t know what caused the latest flip-flop, I will be surprised if the Indian government and regulatory bodies didn’t have a hand to play.

Hacker Turns ATM Machines into Magical Money Tree

Black-Hat-ConferenceWhen I was a kid, I used to wish that everyone had a magical money spewing tree. In the mind of a dreamy little kid that would have been the perfect solution to poverty. Even better, kids could then be kids, instead of having to understand why diamond is hard and graphite is soft. On Wednesday, Barnaby Jack, a security researcher, demonstrated how anyone could get their own magical money spewing machine. And frankly, it’s downright scary.

In a session titled “Jackpotting Automated Teller Machines Redux”, Jack demonstrated to attendees at the Black Hat security conference, how easy it is to hack modern day ATM machines to make them do your bidding. Although ATM Machines are secure physically, their digital underbelly has simply not managed to keep up with the times. Most of them are powered by ancient software that have primitive security measures.

In one instance, Jack simply used a master key available online, while on the other instance he remotely hacked into the system. Although, his demonstration was focused on machines manufactured by Triton and Tranax, Jack believes that he can manipulate practically any ATM installation.