Archive for October, 2009

Microsoft launches Windows 7

Posted: October 23, 2009 in Microsoft

Hoping to delete the bad memories of its disappointing Vista software, Microsoft launched a new version of Windows that was welcomed enthusiastically in the UAE.

The Home version of Windows 7 will sell here for 499 dirhams, although leading retailers said on Thursday they had yet to receive the new software. It was unclear when shelves would be stocked.

Windows 7 comes almost three years after the launch of Vista, whose complexity frustrated many home users and turned off business customers. A spokesperson for Lenovo, which introduced a Windows 7-bundled PC at Gitex 2009 in Dubai, said on Thursday that response to the product had been excellent. “The anticipation has been huge. It also helps that people were looking for an alternative to the Vista, which came with its share of problems. I am sure it will reflect on the numbers.”

Microsoft has cut out some redundant ways to start up programs and added flourishes that can help users keep track of all their open windows. Windows 7 is faster and also meant to be “quieter” — with fewer pop-up boxes, notifications, warnings and “are you sure …” messages.

“The launch of Windows 7 is an added advantage as far as PC manufacturers are concerned,” said Aman Khan, Middle East and Africa marketing and communications manager for Acer.

“It should definitely boost sales across the region and the fact that it was debuted in the UAE much ahead of its global release means that we definitely have a leg-up compared to players in other parts of the world.”

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Japanese researchers have come up with a computer program, which can tell if a person is about to die by listening to his voice when he makes an emergency call. The study is published in the open access journal BMC Emergency Medicine presents a computer algorithm. This unique algorithm can predict the patient’s chances of dying at the time of the emergency call, according to Time of India.

Kenji Ohshige and a team of researchers from the Yokohama City University School of Medicine in Japan collected information of more than 60,000 emergency calls from October 2008 to March 2009, to assess it at the new Yokohama computer-based triage emergency system. Ohshige, the Lead Researcher, said “A patient’s life threat risk can be quantitatively expressed at the moment of the emergency call with a moderate level of accuracy. The algorithm for estimating a patient’s like threat risk should be improved further as more data are collected.”

The severity of the patient’s condition was categorized accordingly after triage information for each call was entered into the computer system. The researchers then compared the computer-estimated threat of dying at the time of the emergency call with the actual patients’ condition upon arrival at the hospital emergency department to find that the algorithm was effective in assessing the life risk of a patient with over 80 percent sensitivity.

This system is designed to help meet the ever increasing demand for ambulance. With the help of this software, emergency of the situation is predicted through the voice and then ambulance is dispatched.

Why laptops will get cheaper?

Posted: October 22, 2009 in Computer
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The unit sales of traditional, full-featured consumer notebook computers rose by 13 percent during the second-quarter compared to the corresponding period a year ago. The laptop sales are booming in the market.

As reported by Forbes.com, the cheap, stripped-down machines now comprise 26 percent of all notebook sales, up from 21 percent the year earlier. Also, as per the research, netbooks typically sell for just over $400, compared to more than $900 for traditional notebooks. Intel is investing $7 billion in new chip plants over the next two years.

According to geeks, the circuits on these chips are small. These chips can run faster, while using less power, and they cost less to manufacture. Microprocessors are the priciest single piece of hardware in a modern computer. So, where the price of microprocessors will move, the price of computers will too.

Despite the recession, the chip giant Intel is wringing fatter profits. In the third quarter, Intel made 62 cents in gross profits on every dollar of revenue, up from 59 cents a year ago. Consequently, the Intel shares are up more than 25 percent over the past 12 months.

A team of Indian engineers have created a small chip that can hold 1TB of data, which is more than 50 times the capacity of today’s best silicon-based chip technologies. The team of engineers was led by Jagdish “Jay” Narayan, Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures at the North Carolina State University. These engineers said their nanostructured Ni-MgO system can store up to 20 high-definition DVDs or 250 million pages of text, “far exceeding the storage capacities of today’s computer memory systems,” according to Computer World.

The engineers made their breakthrough using the process of selective doping, in which an impurity is added to a material whose properties consequently change. Working at the nanoscale, the engineers added metal nickel to magnesium oxide, a ceramic. The resulting material contained clusters of nickel atoms no bigger than 10 square nanometers – a pinhead has a diameter of one million nanometers. The discovery represents a 90 percent size reduction compared with today’s techniques, and an advancement that could boost computer storage capacity. “Instead of making a chip that stores 20 gigabytes, you have one that can handle one terabyte, or 50 times more data,” Narayan said in a press release.

This invention might also open new doors for boosting vehicles’ fuel economy and reducing heat produced by semiconductors. Narayan said that by using the process of selective doping, the engineers could introduce metallic properties into ceramics. The process would allow them to develop a new generation of ceramic engines able to withstand twice the temperatures of normal engines. The engines could potentially achieve fuel economy of 80 miles per gallon.

The breakthrough using the process of selective doping also advances knowledge in the emerging field of “spintronics,” which is dedicated to harnessing energy produced by the spinning of electrons. “Most energy used today is harnessed through the movement of current and is limited by the amount of heat that it produces, but the energy created by the spinning of electrons produces no heat,” the university said in a press release. The engineers manipulated the nanomaterial so the electrons’ spin within the material could be controlled, which could prove valuable to harnessing the electrons’ energy. The finding could be important for engineers working to produce more efficient semiconductors.

Google to launch music search

Posted: October 22, 2009 in Google

Google is preparing to launch a new feature to its search engine which will allow users to discover, sample and buy songs on the search engine. Google will take help from startups iLike and LaLa, which will enable songs to be streamed on the Google page that will also include a “buy” button. Once user’s click on that button, they will be taken to a variety of different sites, including Amazon.com and Apple Inc’s iTunes Music Store, where they can buy music.

LaLa and iLike are privately held and were recently acquired by News Corp’s MySpace social networking site. The new service will begin on October 28, according to Reuters. The new service will involve all of the major music labels – including Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music. The record music industry has been struggling with plunging sales and fewer media outlets to break new acts. It has high hopes on Google to increase the sales of the songs.

The labels are betting that by making it easier to search for music, they can increase the size of the digital market, which is currently dominated by iTunes, with about 70 percent of download sales. Also, Universal Music and Sony Music are partnering with YouTube to create a new music video service called Vevo, which is expected to launch in December.