Recently, the Windows Phone 8 has become the new darling of the mobile operating system, the topic heat has even cought up with Android and iOS mobile operating system. The major mobile phone manufacturers have hurried to launch their own phones equipped with Windows Phone 8.
Samsung is no exception. According to the latest news, Samsung first Windows Phone 8 mobile phone ATIV S has obtained the network license, which means Samsung ATIV S last obstacle to release in the domestic market has been swept away.
Samsung ATIV S is equipped with 4.8-inch 720P Super AMOLED display which is the largest size among the WP8 phones, 1.9 million front camera and 8.0 million rear camera, the built-in storage space has 16GB and 32GB versions, and it supports microSD card expansion, NFC , Bluetooth 3.0 and some other functions. It is expected to be listed at the end of this year or January next year.
It is reported that the date when Samsung ATIV S gained the certification is December 13 this year, and the network license is WCDMA version. This phone also supports WCDMA, GSM (GPRS) signal systems.
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Unless the person you’re shopping for has obsessive tendencies, fitness trackers won’t help him or her get into shape.
Fitbit Is Sad I’ve been using the more expensive Fitbit One, so this Fitbit Ultra is sad. Dan Nosowitz
Fitness trackers, little pedometer-type things that purport to measure your activity and help you get into shape, are on about a billion gift guides this year. But maybe they shouldn’t be. Here are the two most pressing reasons not to buy someone a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, or Jawbone Up as a gift.
1. It implies your giftees are fat. And maybe they are but if you feel like that’s something they should know you should probably not use a pedometer as a messenger. Be nice!
2. 99% of people won’t use it. And this is the more pressing reason–it’s not that they’re bad products, exactly, it’s just that fitness trackers have positioned themselves as gadgets for the masses, a futuristic way to get in shape. And they’re not! They are helpful tools for a very particular type of person, and you know maaaaaybe one of that type of person, and that person probably already has one of these.
I’ve been using both of the new Fitbit products for a few weeks now. I am in awful shape, an overripe chimera of laziness and injury and sedentary job and also laziness, and I thought “hey, I bet this’ll help motivate me to get into shape!” It did not, and that’s only partly due to the execution of the product. The Fitbit One, which just about every reviewing publication ranks as the best or one of the best fitness trackers out there, is fine. It’s tiny and well-designed, it can track your steps, it syncs with an app on your phone, it tracks your sleep patterns. All of that stuff together can be very helpful for monitoring your health, but I suspect very few people will actually see the benefit.
That’s because fitness trackers are dumb. I don’t mean dumb as in “bad,” I mean dumb in the same way that an old flip-phone is dumber than a smartphone. It just can’t do very much on its own. Here’s one (unusually active) day of using the Fitbit.
Fitbit App: I had pho for lunch today. Pho is not listed, although anhyrdrous disodium phosphate is. Weird. Â Dan Nosowitz
Last week, before going to bed, I remembered to have the Fitbit track my sleep. I dug the Fitbit out of my pants, put on the big velcro wristband, stuck the Fitbit in the wristband’s pocket, pressed the button to tell the Fitbit I was going to bed, and then went to bed. Woke up the next morning, pressed the button to tell the Fitbit I was awake. Took the Fitbit out of the wristband, put it in my pocket again. Had breakfast. Logged onto the Fitbit app to tell the app I had breakfast. Searched for the specific breakfast I had, guessed how much I had eaten. Logged it. Biked to work–about a 6.5-mile trip–which the Fitbit did not register, because it only registers walking. Logged onto the Fitbit app to tell it precisely how long and how far the bike trip was.
Worked. Had lunch, logged onto the Fitbit app to tell it what I had for lunch. Fitbit directory didn’t list what I had–it mostly includes fast food or chain food–so I guessed at the calorie count. Went to the gym after work. Moved Fitbit from pants to a clip on my workout shorts. Worked out. Fitbit doesn’t pick up on any of that, because I didn’t do anything like walking, which is what the Fitbit measures. Logged onto Fitbit app to tell it what I did. Weighed myself at the gym. Logged onto Fitbit to tell it how much I weigh. Biked home. Logged onto Fitbit app to tell it about that. Ate dinner. Logged onto Fitbit app and took my best guess as to calorie count. Took Fitbit out of pants, synced with iPhone app. Put it into wristband and told it I was going to bed.
From all of that, I saw how many calories I burned, how far I walked, how many flights of stairs I climbed, how many calories I took in. I could see graphs over time, comparing my activity day by day, week by week, month by month. All of that is cool! But I am not an obsessive type, and I lost interest in spending literally hours per day with the Fitbit app after about two days.
This isn’t exclusive to Fitbit; all of the major fitness trackers (Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, Jawbone Up) have their own quirks and pros and cons–the Fuelband and Jawbone Up, as wristbands, don’t have the problem of having to remember to bring it with you, though they don’t track your food intake–but they mostly work the same way. They’re glorified pedometers with added fitness tracking software. To really get the most out of these gadgets, you have to be kind of obsessive. Just using them casually gets you very little of value; for a few days, it’s cool to see how many steps you take, and I did take the stairs rather than the escalator to get more “points,” but I very quickly tired of it. They just don’t give enough information because they can’t extract enough data, and they can’t be encouraging because they don’t analyze the data they get.
Fitbit In Wristband: You stick the Fitbit One in a wristband when you go to bed. Â Dan Nosowitz
I still think there’s a place for fitness trackers. The Basis Band, for example, is one step closer to being actually helpful for two main reasons. First: it can measure your heart rate, unlike any of the other trackers I mentioned. Second: it uses that data to recommend new exercises–instead of just giving you a chart, it’ll advise that you walk around the office for ten minutes. That’s much more helpful to the vast majority of people who don’t like looking at charts all day.
Fitness trackers can only really be helpful when they get smart. Data is great, but for most people, it’s not enough to just gather data and present it. You have to analyze it, figure out what it means and how to use it. The dream of a fitness tracker is pretty much like a fitness-centric version of Google Now: it needs to take in your data and then figure out what you actually want to know. That’s the next generation of this data tech–it’s not about the data, it’s about the conclusions. What we want is a fitness tracker that suggests, that figures out your lifestyle and then gives you advice, that actually helps you get into shape rather than just telling you exactly how out of shape you are. Hopefully the next generation of fitness trackers go in that direction. But for now, don’t bother with a pedometer.Read More
Methane-producing bacteria may have leverage nickel from volcanism to flood the atmosphere with methane
It was called “The Great Dying”.
I. A Time of Death and Desolation
If that title sounds dire it is because it was indeed a grim time for life on Earth. Â Occurring about 252 and one-third million years ago, the mass extinction came at a time when life on Earth had become fairly advanced. Â Terrestrial life consisted of a rich mix of large amphibians (think huge cousins of today’s salamanders) and scaly reptilian dinosaur predecessors. Â The seas teemed with life.
Then some sort of cataclysm swept the globe. Â Ninety-six out of every one-hundred marine species (96%) went exinct, while seventy out of every one-hundred terrestrial vertebrate species (70%) also bit the metaphorical dust. Â The exinction to this day remains the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history and what is believed to be the only mass extinction to feature a major extinction of insects — traditionally among the Earth’s most hardy species.
So what caused this severe event?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology ProfessorÂ Daniel Rothman has become the latest researcher to throw his hat in the paleontological ring, offering up an interesting alternate hypothesis of how such a catastrophic climate change incident may have been triggered, leading to the Earth losing so much biodiversity. The Great Dying marked the edge of the Permian. Â Its end ushered in a new era — the Triassic — which would become the first of three major historical eras when the land-masses were ruled by large reptiles (dinosaurs). To look for clues as to what caused The Great Dying, Professor Rothman dug back into sediments from the end of the Permian era. Â Examing deposits in China, he found something intriguing. Carbon levels in the sediment indeed appeared to rise quickly. Â But the interesting part is that they rose so quickly that he feels that the sedimentary analysis rules out change by slower-acting forms of carbon release, such as volcanoes. He also observed that oceanic nickel levels spiked 251 million years ago, as volcanoes in Siberia dumped tons of molten nickely into the sea. II. What Caused Carbon Levels to Spike?Â Nickel is a ubiquitous catalyst in certain kinds of biochemical reactions. Â Microorganisms, such as the ocean-based methane-producing bacterium methanosarcina, often use the metal to speed up reactions that produce carbon waste byproducts. Thus Professor Rothman suggests thatÂ methanosarcina likely exploited the rising nickel levels to transform carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methane. Â In fact, Professor Rothman believes thatÂ methanosarcina fortuitously acquired the its triple metal-catalyzed methane-producing metabolic pathways about 251 million years ago, just as the nickel levels spiked. The researcher’s hypothesis was set forth on Dec. 4 at the annual meeting of theÂ American Geophysical Union. Â The meeting was held in San Francisco, Calif. at the Moscone Convention Center. If he is correct it suggests that methanosarcina could be the most diabolical murderer in history, by far eclipsing mankind’s worst impact in terms of speciation. Not all experts are convinced. Â Anthony Cohen, a researcher at the Open University in the United Kingdom, comments, ‘”[For the hypothesis to be correct] there are a lot of assumptions you have to make.”
In line with all the hype and fervor surrounding global warming, some past researchers have suggested climate change may have played a role. Â Criticism of this hypothesis has traditionally been that it’s improper to assume the markers of climate change — atmospheric and ocean carbon levels — as causing ecological changes, when ecological changes can also cause climate change.
The loss of atmospheric carbon dioxide would likely have twin adverse impacts — first as plants require carbon dioxide to produce sugars, there likely would be mass loss of foliage globally; second as methane is a more potent warming gas than carbon dioxide, temperatures likely would have spiked globally.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology ProfessorÂ Daniel Rothman has become the latest researcher to throw his hat in the paleontological ring, offering up an interesting alternate hypothesis of how such a catastrophic climate change incident may have been triggered, leading to the Earth losing so much biodiversity.
The Great Dying marked the edge of the Permian. Â Its end ushered in a new era — the Triassic — which would become the first of three major historical eras when the land-masses were ruled by large reptiles (dinosaurs).
To look for clues as to what caused The Great Dying, Professor Rothman dug back into sediments from the end of the Permian era. Â Examing deposits in China, he found something intriguing.
Carbon levels in the sediment indeed appeared to rise quickly. Â But the interesting part is that they rose so quickly that he feels that the sedimentary analysis rules out change by slower-acting forms of carbon release, such as volcanoes.
He also observed that oceanic nickel levels spiked 251 million years ago, as volcanoes in Siberia dumped tons of molten nickely into the sea.
II. What Caused Carbon Levels to Spike?Â
Nickel is a ubiquitous catalyst in certain kinds of biochemical reactions. Â Microorganisms, such as the ocean-based methane-producing bacterium methanosarcina, often use the metal to speed up reactions that produce carbon waste byproducts.
Thus Professor Rothman suggests thatÂ methanosarcina likely exploited the rising nickel levels to transform carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methane. Â
In fact, Professor Rothman believes thatÂ methanosarcina fortuitously acquired the its triple metal-catalyzed methane-producing metabolic pathways about 251 million years ago, just as the nickel levels spiked.
The researcher’s hypothesis was set forth on Dec. 4 at the annual meeting of theÂ American Geophysical Union. Â The meeting was held in San Francisco, Calif. at the Moscone Convention Center.
If he is correct it suggests that methanosarcina could be the most diabolical murderer in history, by far eclipsing mankind’s worst impact in terms of speciation.
Not all experts are convinced. Â Anthony Cohen, a researcher at the Open University in the United Kingdom, comments, ‘”[For the hypothesis to be correct] there are a lot of assumptions you have to make.”
Sources: Live Science, AGU Meeting Schedule
iPhone owners: let’s raise our glasses to Apple Maps, which has, indirectly, given us a better iPhone. And then let’s get rid of it.
The New Google Maps for iPhone Google
The terrifying few months of what will be forever known as Apple Mapgate (no it won’t) are over. Google just released Google Maps for the iPhone, so we can all stick Apple Maps in our “Utilities” folder on our homescreens where it can sit comfortably next to other useless apps like Compass and Stocks. But here’s the weird thing: Google didn’t just package up the old Google Maps for iOS app and re-release it. They spent the past few months actually making a better app, with features the iOS version of Google Maps never had before.
In other words, thank you, Apple Maps, for giving iOS users a better phone.
It’s easy to forget that Google Maps for iOS was never particularly great; it was pretty, but increasingly limited, especially compared to Maps on Android. It never had turn-by-turn navigation, which Android has had since October of 2009 (!), it never had bike directions or offline caching, and it used clumsy bitmaps instead of vectors. That last one is why Google Maps for Android (and, to be fair, Apple Maps) loads faster and never looks blurry while zooming or panning.
The underlying data in Google Maps for iPhone was always great, of course; Google spends lots of time and money and effort getting the best data for its maps. But during all the panic over Apple Maps, we lionized the old Google Maps, and we shouldn’t have, really.
That’s why it’s interesting that the new Google Maps is such a marked improvement. It actually looks modern now–no stupid folded-over corner, a skeumorphic relic from 2008. Instead it looks like Google circa 2012, which is very nice indeed. Clean white bars, clear symbols, a hidden sidebar with more options. It has turn-by-turn navigation now, and vector graphics, and listings from Zagat (which Google acquired a few months back). It works even with older iPhones, which Apple Maps does not.
Google responded to Apple Maps as if Apple Maps was a threat, as if any app named “Google Maps” wouldn’t get about a billion downloads as soon as it was released. Google decided to compete with Apple. And that’s great for us, because Google finally (mostly) stopped handicapping the iOS version of it’s map app. It still doesn’t have everything the Android version has, but the weird thing about this whole mess is that iPhone users have come out on the other side with something they should have been demanding all along: a modern, full-featured maps app.Read More
‘Users are Instagram’s product’: Privacy row as photo-sharing app claims right to put users’ pictures on adverts
- Comes after standoff between Instagram and Twitter over photo apps
- Company claims the right to use any uploaded photos or user data to promote its partners’ products
- It adds that it may not always identify when these recommendations are merely adverts or genuine user actions
By Damien Gayle
Instagram has claimed the right use any picture uploaded to the service to promote its corporate customers’ products without any compensation to the user who originally took it.
The photo-sharing app, recently bought out by Facebook, has adopted several sections from its new parent’s terms of service which reveal how it is to operate in the future.
Foremost among them is the company allowing itself to put users’ names, likenesses, photos and actions online next to any product it is paid to promote.
‘Did we mention its free?’ Except Instagram’s new terms of service makes clear that users grant the company rights over all their photos and personal information uploaded to the site
It comes as twitter and Instagram are involved in a war over mobile pictures – with twitter adding retro filters to its software, and instagram banning twitter users from embedding their pictures in tweets.
Privacy campaigners have blasted the new terms, saying it is just another example confirming how users’ personal data are turned into products traded between powerful companies.
Instagram’s home page describes the service as ‘free’, however the new terms make clear that users effectively hand over the rights to their pictures and personal information in exchange for access.
The changes to Instagram’s terms of service bring it into line those of Facebook, which bought out the photo-sharing app for $715million in September.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: His company bought out Instagram in a $715million deal in September
Clause two of the Rights section of Instagram’s new terms of service says: ‘You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.’
What this means Instagram can now takes its users’ identities and data and put them next to any business partner who pays for the privilege of advertising on the site.
To make matters worse, it adds in the following clause: ‘You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.’
This seems to mean that where it has taken users’ personal information and used it to promote a product, it needn’t let it be known that it is not the choice of the user identified.
While Facebook’s terms of service are similar, the social network at least explicitly grants its users the ability to change how their names and profile pictures are used for commercial content.
Section 10, clause one of Facebook’s terms of service reads: ‘You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us.’
HOW TO KILL YOUR INSTAGRAM
If Instagram’s new terms of service are tough for your to swallow, there is a quick way to remove yourself from the service – and save all your pictures.
First you need to download all the pictures you have handed over to the app. Wired Gadget Lab recommends using Instaport, which will download your entire library in just a few minutes.
Once your photos have been rescued, you can upload them to another photo-sharing service with less invasive terms like Flickr.
Once your photos have been removed, its time to delete your account – but bear in mind that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Instagram will not reactivate delected accounts and you will never again be able to sign up to the service with the same user name.
Instagram’s new terms also reveals that the service has given itself the right to share users’ cookie data with third-party advertising networks, allowing them to target advertisements that follow users across the web.
The changes to the policies come as a senior Facebook executive recently confirmed plans to ‘monetise Instagram’.
Facebook’s vice president of global marketing Carolyn Everson told Business Insider: ‘Instagram continues to grow incredibly fast and we’re still a very small team when you think about the amount of people they are reaching.
‘There are many brands that use Instagram right now to try to get a feel for how to engage with their followers. We will definitely be figuring out a monetisation strategy.
‘When that will happen, I can’t comment, but it’s going to happen.’
Ms Everson pointedly avoided confirming that adverts would appear on the service, implying that the company may choose to use the wealth of data about Instagram’s users to make money.
FACEBOOK OWNED INSTAGRAM DECLARES WAR ON TWITTER
Instagram no longer allows Twitter users to view its photographs in tweets in an effort to drive more people away from the rival social media company to its own website.
Kevin Systrom, CEO of the photo-sharing service, which was snapped up by Facebook earlier this year, said Instagram has turned off support for ‘Twitter cards,’ signalling a deepening rift between two of the web’s biggest brands.
Twitter users started to complain earlier this month in public messages that Instagram photos were not displaying properly on Twitter’s website.
Clarifying the situation, Mr Systrom released a statement saying: ‘We believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives.’
Instagram started off as a smartphone application-only service but has recently improved its website.
‘A handful of months ago, we supported Twitter cards because we had a minimal web presence,’ Mr Systrom said, noting that the company has since released new features that allow users to comment about and ‘like’ photos directly on Instagram’s website.
The rivalry between Facebook and Twitter intensified in April when the former outbid Twitter to nab fast-growing Instagram in a cash-and-stock deal valued at the time at $1billion.
FACEBOOK PLANS OWN VERSION OF ‘SEXTING’ APP SNAPCHAT
Facebook is developing its own in-house equivalent to Snapchat, the controversial photo messaging app that has been accused of promoting ‘sexting’ among youngsters.
Snapchat allows users to send pictures with a time limit – meaning that they automatically delete themselves after a predetermined time has elapsed.
The messaging service,Â has reportedly become popular for sending flirtatious pictures, with recipients unable to hang on to the embarrassing evidence and leak it online.
However, it has come under fire for promising more privacy than it can guarantee, since it remains possible to take a screengrab of the picture before it self destructs.
Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, reportedly plans to launch its own Snapchat-like service in the coming weeks, before the end of the year.
The new app will be standalone and separate from the main Facebook app, bringing the social network’s app count up to five.Â
All photos uploaded from users’ mobile phones contain geotagged location data that reveals exactly where the picture was taken.
That, combined with records of users’ activities on the service and Facebook’s own facial recognition technology, gives the company a rich seam of data to mine. The new policies go into effect on January 16, which will mark the completion of Instagram’s merging with Facebook.
Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘People thought they were Instagram’s customers, but in reality users are Instagram’s product.
‘It goes to show when respecting people’s data and privacy come into conflict with profit, there’s only ever going to be one winner.
‘Users are now paying the price of Facebook’s acquisition of the company and unfortunately this kind of move will be seen time and time again as long as it is our personal data and advertising paying for services.’