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Thursday, 15 August 2013

A salute to the Flag: "जय हिंद" : Happy Independence Day

“India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” ~ Mark

Today on 15th Aug 2013, we are celebrating our 67th Independence Day. India has been a great country till date and it’s not only because of the history but the people it keeps. I believe that on the face of this earth India is the only place where dreams of a common living individual found a home from beginning when man began the dream of survival. Independence Day of India is a moment of glee and dignity but this is not something which was easily achieved, India had to put up a long battle for over years against the British Empire. On August 14, 1947 at midnight, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru said that ‘Awake to freedom’ "Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially.” At the stroke of that midnight hour, the world was sleeping but India was awaken to life and freedom.

On that precious day of 15th August 1947, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru asked one question to India that “The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?" And today after 66 years of Independence I presume that India got its own respect and identity throughout the globe for its incredible success in various facets like economy, science, technology and engineering. 

Today India stands 2nd in the world for its substantial success in Technology. India has the largest technical and professional talent pool in the world. It’s said that Adaptation is the key of success and that’s where India started its journey. When asked about India Mr. Bill Gates said “India is in an interesting position: It has both a deep understanding of the challenges and great capacity to help solve them. India’s cities are flush with highly educated people working in well-funded labs, as well as extremely poor communities like the slum in Uttar Pradesh that I visited last year. That makes the country an ideal place to understand both the problems and the solutions. This is one reason why I try to visit at least once a year”. In recent survey 80% of European and US IT companies outsourcing firms ranked India as their number one destination. The National Association of Software & Service Companies (NASSCOM) also reported that almost half of all fortune 500 companies choose to outsource software development to Indian outsourcing firms. Even there are large competition for India like China, Mexico, Ireland etc., India has managed to outmaneuver all others and emerge as top outsourcing.

Well, there is a lot to write and my aim behind this is not to show off what India is but to inspire all upcoming developers, IT companies that it’s just the start of the journey and there is a lot to do for us. All I want to conclude with this, be the change you wish to see in this world! Lead the country with pride and honor!

You have the freedom, Respect It and Value It !

Harshal Modak wishes you a very Happy Independence Day !

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Leap Motion ~ A glimpse into the innovative future of computer interaction !

LEAP MOTION CONTROLLER - Since the beginning of graphics enabled computers in April 1981, interaction has tremendously evolved over the past thirty years to include different interface metaphors like mouse and keyboard, pen computing, touch screens and recently multitouch screens. These continuously enabling developments have made the view of interaction more accessible and natural. But despite of the broad range of technologies in these development area, they all rely on two-dimensional plane. So as a qualifying technology, Leap Motion has very important and motivating platform to encourage further improvement and it helps to improve the naturalness in this interaction metaphors. What motivates me to use Leap Motion is a problem of wasting time and inconvenience by duplicating same keyboard and mouse events to extract information from same source, in which I am interested in accessing same kind of information using hand pose signs given by me. Due to real-time operational requirements, I am interested in a computationally efficient algorithm and probably hardware. And here it is, the revolutionary future of computer interaction Leap Motion. Leap Motion is first and unique mainstream contender for a high fidelity gesture peripheral. The first question everybody asks is, "So what can it do?". The short answer is, today, very little. Tomorrow? Well, I for one am a believer. What we have here is a limitation of imagination, not of technology. That is usually a catalyst for innovation.

The Leap Motion controller is a small USB peripheral device which is designed to be placed on a physical desktop, facing upward. Using two cameras and three infrared LEDs, the device observes a roughly hemispherical area, to a distance of about 1 meter (3 feet). It is designed to track fingers (or similar items such as a pen) which cross into the observed area, to a spatial precision of about 0.01 mm.

Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald said:

"We want there to be world-changing applications that fundamentally transform how people interact with their operating system or browse the Web.... The goal is to fundamentally transform how people interact with computers and to do so in the same way that the mouse did, which means that the transformation affects everyone, both from the most basic use case all the way up to the most advanced use cases you can imagine for computing technology."

I love the idea of controlling computers by waving my hands. Using the Leap is a novel experience, it is very user friendly but there are still some flaws which will be resolved soon.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Google Latitude will be retiring on August 9th

Google's very own location sharing system will no longer be available... Google reported that "Earlier today, we announced that Google Latitude is no longer part of the Google Maps app, and we're retiring Latitude on August 9, 2013.
This means that after August 9, your Latitude friends list will be deleted and you'll lose the ability to share your location with them. There will also be some changes to Location Reporting and Location History, including changes to third-party applications that use Google Latitude. Please see our FAQs for more information.
We understand some of you still want to see your friends and family on a map, which is why we've added location sharing to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS)."

Google Latitude RIP...Welcome Sharing on G+ !

Dropbox Platform : Cross Platform Cloud

Dropbox at its first developer conference in San Francisco on Tuesday announced a new initiative dubbed as 'Dropbox Platform' which is a suite of APIs that provides a cross-platform syncing solution for almost any form of data. The new platform was detailed at Dropbox's official blog.

They said - "We’re proud that Dropbox has become the home for millions of people’s most important stuff. So we want to be sure that stuff is always available, no matter if you’re on your laptop at work, a tablet on a plane, or a Smartphone on the bus. Keeping devices and apps synced with your most up-to-date info has gone from “nice-to-have” to essential, which creates a real challenge for the people developing apps."

That's why Dropbox designed a cross platform to connect world's applications, devices, and services together. They used SAS and PAS of Cloud computing platform. As an initiative they started with Sync API, which allowed all users to sync their files on the go and that took years to develop and test. But today they came up with a nice package of application which allows users to sync files and any sort of data across devices and platforms.

The latest designed platform of Dropbox includes a new API named as 'Datastore'. Datastore allows applications to sync any form of data from cross platform devices. Any form of data includes contacts, to-do items, and saved game states. Dropbox no more worried about your hardware and software configuration of the device, they designed their API in such a manner that it will work seamlessly with any platform. "With the Datastore API, we're moving beyond files and providing a new model for effortlessly storing and syncing app data. When you use an app built with datastores your data will be up-to-date across all devices whether you're online or offline,"...Said the blog.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Intel's New Era 4th Generation Processors (Codenamed - Haswell) - Huge boost to Graphics

After the huge success of Intel's i-core processors, they launched the first batch of Haswell processors, which deliver a symbolic boost towards graphics performance in recent PC's and tablets.
Haswell - officially it is known as 4th Generation Intel Core - is the successor to Ivy Bridge (3rd Generation Core processor). Haswell is a new architecture that's built on the same 22nm process as Ivy Bridge. When it comes to graphics processing, Haswell has achieved great success in processing batch graphics. Haswell desktop processor is also known as Core i7-4770K.
Graphics performance is set to improve further still with the forthcoming i7-4770R model, which will include the Iris Pro GPU, which contains more graphics execution units and 128MB of embedded dynamic RAM inside the CPU package, capable of serving as an extension to the CPU cache – or as a high-speed video buffer.
I must say that Haswell will be the greatest invention for many gamers. As it improves the graphics quality up to a lot extent that they don't have to pay huge amount for graphics card. 

Intel revealed something about Mobile CPU's -These include the first two chips in its new Y-range, aimed at tablets and lightweight convertibles: the Core i5-4200Y has a maximum Turbo speed of 1.9GHz, while the Core i3-4010Y is fixed at 1.3GHz. Both offer a low 11.5W TDP, and benefit from Intel’s "one-chip" design, which moves the chipset into the CPU package to reduce power wastage and increase battery life.

Intel Corp. is doing a great job and I wish them huge success in near future ..... When it's "Intel Inside" then performance guaranteed !

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Surface Computing Unleashed - Samsung Ativ Q vs. Microsoft Surface Pro

Research says that people are more fancied towards touchscreen and portable devices. That is one of the reasons surface computing rapidly growing and very soon it will change the computing era. Surface computing was not at all possible without integration and embedding technologies which helped a lot in compacting and making lightweight products. According to me surface is going to replace the old interaction techniques very soon in near future. There are lot of companies working on this new human computer interaction way. But some of them really came across with huge success like Microsoft's New Surface Pro and Samsung's Ativ Q. Both of them runs on Microsoft's Windows 8 Platform.

In this review I will talk about this two emerging Surface computing devices -

Windows 8 is a loud-and-clear statement about the future of the PC: it's touch-oriented, it's mobile, and it's convergent.The jury is still out on whether customers will wholeheartedly buy into that vision, but several recent devices at least give us more tangible examples of what that kind of future looks like.

Lets compare Samsung's upcoming Ativ Q and Microsoft's own Surface Pro -

Well, as per the future of surface computing is concerned they both are best at their place according to their configuration and features. But differs in some minor criteria.....
  • Keyboard - Samsung Ativ Q has its own in-built convertible keyboard where keyboard for Surface Pro is sold separately on demand. Both of these devices fit the bill, though in very different ways. The Ativ Q is a convertible, which comes with a touchscreen that folds and flips, great to be used in several different configurations.The Surface Pro, when taken alone without keyboard, is a tablet. A powerful Intel Core-powered tablet, but a tablet nonetheless. But Microsoft's snap-on keyboard accessories, sold separately, let you easily turn it into a faux-laptop by folding out the Touch Cover or Type Cover. Both devices take our minds off the mouse as we interact using touchscreen. 
  • Size & Weight - Well when it comes to portable computing size and weight matters a lot. The Ativ Q makes for a huge tablet, with a 13.3 inch display. Compared with Surface Pro, Ativ Q got 47% larger display. I guess that's a huge difference on your hand or your bag. Samsung did, however, manage to make the Ativ Q about as slim as possible. It's only three percent thicker than Surface Pro, despite having a built-in keyboard. Samsung Ativ Q weighs around 1290g and Surface Pro around 907g (without keyboard).
  • Processor - Samsung did not revealed the number of cores or clock speed in the Ativ Q, so I am not too sure about this. But Samsung did published that it's a Haswell-based Intel Core i5, so even if the exact processor changes in the final version, that part won't. Since it's a Haswell chip, it will likely get better battery life than the Surface Pro.
  • Graphics, Storage & Battery - Both of them got Intel HD graphics 4000. They got 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage. Both can be expanded with the help of Micro SD card and they have USB 3.0 option as well. Ativ Q claimed the battery backup of 9hrs where Surface Pro claims up to 6hrs backup with Web.
  • Camera - Ativ Q comes with only front camera worth 720p where Surface Pro have both front and read camera's of same quality i.e. 720p.
  • Operating Platform (OS) - For all of the Ativ's eyebrow-raising features, this is probably the most exciting. It's a Windows 8 tablet, but it also runs Android (likely in a virtual environment). You can quickly toggle back-and-forth between Windows 8 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It even lets you share files between the two systems. The Surface Pro doesn't run Android, but you can actually achieve some of the same results with Bluestacks' Android emulator for Surface.
Well now just to wrap up, both of them are undoubtedly best in the configuration and processing. All we have to worry is about the pricing of these two future PCs. Considering its components, I don't think Samsung will reveal it for below $1000. But until Samsung gives us something solid, we're left guessing. But Surface Pro revealed its price and it starts from $900. The Ativ Q, meanwhile, leaves us with too many questions to jump to any conclusions. Can convertible hybrid devices also make for great tablets? Is a 13-inch screen way too big for this kind of machine? How much does the Ativ's high-res display affect its battery life?

Stay in touch and I will update the same here time to time.....

Canon EOS 70D "dramatically improved video friendly focusing" - Sept 2013 release.

As compared with older DSLRs now a days there have been a tremendous change emerged in DSLRs. DSLRs can shoot amazing quality videos up to 1080p. But their autofocus feature is primarily designed for shooting stills and can result in stuttering/blurred movie footage, which is why most of the filmmakers do not use it.

However, Canon came up with an innovative thinking that this could change with the launch of magnificent EOS 70D. Canon embedded new AF (auto focus) system in the Wi-Fi-toting 20.2-megapixel DSLR, which is said to offer much faster focusing during Live View. 
In simple words they made Auto Focusing more dynamic in nature that we can use this as a camcorder.

EOS 70D is a new mid-range DSLR which follows on the aging 60D. While the CMOS sensor has received a modest upgrade of 20.2MP, and the camera has gained the wireless connectivity capability from 60D. Apart from these normal changes AF system is the biggest change in 70D. This newly improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF is said to vastly improve Live View focus speed and subject tracking. 70D features a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD with 1040K dots, like the same on 700D. Canon 70D is subject to release in coming September and for a body only price claimed by Canon, USA is $1200. I will be bundled with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens for $1350. Canon, India yet to reveal the price.

Friday, 5 July 2013

HTML5 - Revolutionary approach towards web designing

HTML stands for 'hypertext markup language'. HTML widely used for coding web pages and few mobile applications. While there are still some debates and discussions, I believe the war is over and HTML5 is the future of digital publishing. HTML5 is nothing but the fifth revision of standard markup language HTML. Whether HTML is packaged in an EPUB file, displayed as a website, or packed as an app, its richness and ubiquity make it the perfect language for expressing content.

Why HTML5 won the war and awarded as best scripting language ? Well, whenever we start coding for any website from scratch (without taking help from any CMS) we have to deal with a bunch of sensitive and complex HTML code, the job becomes more tough when it comes to designing of the heavy content site. HTML5 recovered all these problems, HTML5 provides some great features to programmers like 

1) Tools - there are some thousands of HTML editing tools at various points and level of complexity. HTML5 provides developers with tools such as Offline Web Storage, GeoLocation API, Canvas Drawing, CSS3, and many more.

2) Ubiquity - HTML5 works simply perfect with all the web browsers and the mobile browsers as well. 

3) Features- Unlike proprietary formats, or lesser-known languages, there is an ocean of open source code and widgets that can be used to bring content to life.

HTML5 provides an API for a programmer. It is very user friendly and generates code for simple things at his own like a text box or a label etc. HTML5 enhances the contents like the use of graphics, non fiction things, high definition images and embedding of flash. Or even worse, we do the craziest things we can think of and enter an awkward period of using the <blink> tag. (The <blink> tag was an old HTML tag, that caused text inside to blink on and off. It was terrible, but simply because it exists, quite a few early websites made heavy use of the tag.)

HTML5 is the future. Static contents are here. HTML powers the new sites we read, the blogs, even many of the mobile apps we use. It is the core behind todays web. I created my own site with HTML5 and believe me its very interactive and makes life more easy than older versions of HTML.

Vespa VX , India's most expensive scooter ~ DNA

Piaggio launched scooter Vespa VX in New Delhi, India. Piaggo is basically Italian auto manufacturer. The ex-showroom costing of Vespa VX is Rs.71,500/-.

I must say that Piaggo did remarkable research on the history of Indian scooters and came up with nice and authentic Vespa design. If you look into the specification of Vespa, it got 125cc engine which gives mileage of 60kmph. There is nothing special in engine design but still people are going crazy behind this vehicle. As far as my view is concerned the reason behind this is its Traditional Scooter Look. Vespa got the charm of those historic scooters which eloped with time. Everyone is fancied about the look and feel of Vespa VX. Piaggo did their best to maintain safety and comfort.

The company had so far sold 52K units of Vespa VX since its launch last year.

What's the hashtag (#) ?

The first thing which comes into mind is "What is this hashtag (#) ?" In simple word #hashtag represents data about data i.e. Metadata. Hashtags provide a platform of grouping messages together, since one can search for the hashtag and get the complete list of messages that contain it. Hashtags were popularly used on Twitter and that is one of the reasons why Twitter is so famous now a days. Hashtag can be treated as ad-hoc discussion forum where we can discuss about one common topic for which the tag is created.

Hashtags are unattractive, easily abused, the butt of jokes, and yet more popular than ever.

Hashtags are a cultural phenomenon that has bypassed their twitter origins. They became so popular that all the social networking sites started embedding #hashtags into their sites. They are useful for conveying irony on the internet, and extreme irony in real life conversations. A few months before hashtags were deemed "Word of the year" - it's gone global.

New York Times social media staff editor Daniel Victor wrote a post for Nieman Lab recently where he argued that hashtags are functionally pretty worthless. He even argued that they’re aesthetically damaging, and that over-hashtagging makes your tweets hard to read.

Facebook welcomed Twitters one of the most iconic feature with open arms, apparently not ironically : "Hashtags are a first step in surfacing relevant and important public conversations. Over time our goal is to build out additional functionality for marketers including trending hashtags and new insights so that you can better understand how hashtags fit into your overall Facebook advertising strategies and drive your business objective." May be in previous days search was not that faster than it is now, hashtags helped you discover topics you were interested in. hashtags are occasionally very useful if you are looking for updates on a particular event.

So what does it mean that we have hashtags on Facebook now? It’s a nice validating moment for Twitter, that its iconic symbol has been adopted by the social network with a billion users. And it could help Facebook push to become more of a real-time news network, since hashtags are often associated with live events or activities. I doubt I’ll be doing many hashtag-based searches any time soon, but they sure are fun to write with.

Keep #hashtagginggg............