Friday, April 29, 2016

Apple is reportedly Setting up a 'Car Lab' in Berlin


Apple’s iCar Officially Named Project Titan

Apple is a company with a lot of secrets and its rumoured iCar is officially named Project Titan. The Cupertino tech giant intends to enter the electric vehicle market and is probably moving ahead. As per reports by Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine, Apple plans to set up a dedicated `car lab’ in Berlin. The facility is said to be intended to tap into key talent from the automotive industry in the country, employing between 15 to 20 top class men as well as women from the German automotive industry having backgrounds in engineering, software, hardware and sales.

 The workers at the car lab have been described as progressive thinkers in their own respective fields who have agreed to work with Apple after their ideas for invention were subdued by the more conservative outlooks of their earlier employers.

The labisalso exploring more routine characteristics of bringing a car to market such as who would partner with Apple in the country, a fact which could impact Europe-wide production or distribution that regulation would require to be followed as well as evaluating how far ahead the competitors are.It remains a mystery as to what the iCar would really be an autonomous vehicle to compete Google or something in between.

Branded Vehicle to Hit the Road of Germany – 2019 -2020

The Frankfurter Allgemeine had also claimed that an Apple branded vehicle could hit the roads of Germany in 2019-2020. Sources claim that it could be a small vehicle and launch on a car sharing model identical to service like Zipcar which would involve short-term rental or per minute billing instead of customers buying iCar out-right. Considering the price premium of most of the products of Apple, this could be a blessing to the consumers while also enabling Apple to test demand before a wider release.

Interestingly, automotive manufacturer Magna International has been named as a production partner. Parts-maker owned by Austrian-Canadian businessman Frank Stronach has apparently cut production on the Mini range of BMW, enabling capacity for hypothetical car of Apple. The launch window of 2019 repeats the earlier reports that Apple intends getting a vehicle on the road before the decade is out.

 Last autumn, Apple seemed to be hiring specialist in the vehicle industry and as reported by Reuters at the time, significant figures comprising of Jamie Carnegie Mellon University and Xianquao Tong, who came from Nvidia after creating computer vision software for driver assistance systems.

Technology in Development Stage

The article goes on to recap the earlier speculation regarding the rumoured vehicle research of Apple, observing that the first car of the company will be electric though also claims that it would be lacking self-driving abilities since the required technology seems to be yet in the development stage. Besides this the report claims that Apple is investigating a vehicle sharing model alike to BMW’s Drive-Now and European car rental service Sixt, due to the lack of a nationwide distribution network of the company.

 Related to the earlier rumours, Austrian contract manufacturer of high-end cars Magna Steyr has also been mentioned as a partner for vehicle creation on completion of the R&D. The bulk of research and development is presumed to be taking place in an Apple leased Sunnyvale campus in California, where motor noises were heard, giving rise to speculation that the building is a secret car testing facility for the automotive project of Apple.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Apple Revenue Falls for First Time Since 2003


iPhone Officially in Decline

Apple has reported a drop of 13% on Tuesday, in its second quarter revenue as sales of iPhone had fallen. The quarterly sales reported by the technology giant was $50.56bn down from $58bn last year, which is the first fall in sales for the company since 2003. Apple had sold about 51.2 million iPhone during the quarter, down from 61.2 million the same quarter of 2015.China had been a weak spot where the sales had fallen by 26% and the results were hit by the influence of a stronger dollar.

 Apple shares had fallen by 8% after several hours of trading and its shares had dropped close to 20% over the last twelve months. Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple had commented that the company had performed well in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds. Slowdown in sales in established markets had not been much of an issue for Apple, since China has always been there to support its earnings, keeping it posting, after each quarter of record breaking profits. The whole company tends to suffer with regards to revenues in China taking a hit. The most successful technology product in history, the iPhone, is now officially in decline.

Smartphone Boom beyond Its Extraordinary Peak

The company had notified about three months ago and to see the numbers for real would give investors reason for concern. Some have been considering the recent incidents as a sign that it is the end of a gold age for hardware makers and the smartphone boom is beyond its extraordinary peak. Apple, more than any other company, apparently needs the next runaway success sort to come along. The Apple Watch will be bringing in an estimated $1bn every quarter though that would not be sufficient.

It would require another punch like the iPhone but there seems to be no sign of one coming up soon. Quarterly profit of Apple had dropped to $10.5bn from $13.5bn. However, it had been reported that it would return $50bn to the shareholders through an increase in share buybacks as well as a 10% increase in quarterly dividends. The company had cautioned, back in January, that it had been facing its slowest-ever increase in orders for the iPhone and the same would cut into second quarter earnings.

Apple – Expects Access to Service, Restored Soon

Decreasing growth in the sales of smartphone had an impact on the overall industry and companies have been stressed in locating the next area of innovation. Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight had stated that the industry is in a lull between the mobile boom and what comes next in automotive, the connected home, health and industrial applications of the internet of things. Its service unit had been one bright spot for Apple which comprises of App Store downloads, Apple Pay and Apple Music.

 The separation experienced a 20% growth when compared to the same quarter in 2015. But the growth could be threatened at the unit by a new law passed in March, in China which needs all content shown to Chinese people to be stored on servers based on the Chinese mainland. This resulted in Apple’s iBooks and iTunes movies services to be shut down in the country. Apple has stated that it expects access to the service would be restored very soon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Raspberry Pi Gets an 8-megapixel Sony Camera Upgrade


Raspberry Pi – Various Restores, Camera Module Unchanged

Since its launch three years ago, though Raspberry Pi had undergone various restores, its first official accessory, a 5-megapixel OmniVision camera module tends to remain unchanged. That is owing to the Raspberry Pi Foundation together with its partners buying a massive amount of sensors that are not only keeping the price low but also permits it to have surplus of stock for the future. As per CEO Eben Upton, those reserves seem to be running low and it is time to show off the new merchandise, two new cameras powered a Sony IMX219 8-megapixel sensor.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation like several of the big smartphone and tablet makers has been using Sony’s mobile imaging smarts for its new visible-light as well as infrared cameras. The IMX219 tends to have a fixed focus sensor which has the potential of outputting 3280 x 2464 photos and 1080p HD video at 30fps. Upton has stated that it was chosen for its impressive image quality, low-light performance as well as colour fidelity that perform nicely with the Raspberry Pi’s VideoCore IV CPU. VideoCore IV comprises of a sophisticated image sensor pipeline – ISP.

YUV Format Output Images

This tends to cover raw Bayer-format RFB input images from the sensor into YUV format output images, while correcting for sensor as well as module artefacts like thermal and shot noise, faulty pixels, image distortion and lens shading. Tuning the ISP to function with a particular sensor seems to be time-consuming, specialist activity, where there are only some people with the required skills.

This was done after some specialist tuning by Naush Patuck, former Broadcom imaging engineer who had volunteered to take this on for IMX219. The purpose of auto white balance – AWB is to improve the true colours in a scene irrespective of the colour temperature of the light lighting it and filming a white object must result in white pixels in sunlight or under LED, florescent or incandescent lights. These pairs are seen before and after images which Naush had tuned, who has done a wonderful job under challenging situation.

Open Doors to Hyperspectral Imaging Hacks

The hardware tends to retain the same price prior to taxes as its predecessor, as is the normal case with any new Raspberry Pi launch. The sensorOmniVision OV5647used in the original camera module together with its infrared sensitive sibling had reached its limit towards the end of 2014 and hence a new sensor was found with Sony coming to the rescue. The Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2 and NoIR Camera Module v2 are said to be on sale from the usual Pi suppliers comprising of RS Components, Element14 and The Pi Hut and in spite of its upgrade, the cost of the camera is just $25.Being the first official accessory back in 2013, they have found their way in a bunch of fun projects comprising of telescopes, science lesion, kites as well as Naturebytes camera trap and have joined the Pi NoIR infrared-sensitive version that only enables to see in the dark though it also opens the door to hyperspectral imaging hacks. The object of auto

Saturday, April 23, 2016

User Experience Design Blog: Examples of What to Emulate

The user experience industry is a constantly evolving one. For both seasoned practitioners and newbies, it is important to stay abreast of developments and be in the know about what is happening. The best way to do this is by following a user experience design blog, or a few really, to stay current. It's easy to set up an RSS feed in your email, and just receive the updates in your inbox. You can then choose to read it immediately, or set it aside for further reading later on.

The Best User Experience Design Blog

The good thing about following more than one user experience design blog is that you get to read the opinions and thoughts of recognized industry leaders. You can also follow niche blogs that discuss new trends and innovative topics.

Here are the top user design blogs in the industry:

1. Nielsen Norman Group

The Nielsen Normal Group or NNG is considered as an authority user experience design blog. It is one of the longest running blogs that discuss and cover everything about the UX topic. This blog is known for its insightful pieces which are backed by research and concrete examples. You will also find case studies and interviews. A new post comes out once a week and you can sign up to receive their “Alertbox Newsletter” to be sure that you don't miss any single update.

2. UX Booth

Another good example of a great user experience design blog is UX Booth. This blog is run not by a single person but features the work of several credible authors. It is a comprehensive and high quality blog which publishes lengthy articles which are well researched, with reference citations. It also suggests related materials for the audience to read should they be interested to learn more about the topic.

3. UX Movement

UX Movement is a blog that is geared towards user interfaces and how it affects the behavior of users. This is a very specific niche that focuses on interface and this complements theories and different perspectives offered on the blog. There are also plenty of visual examples which will appeal to artists, who are of course, more visual learners than text-oriented ones.

4. Boxes and Arrows

Boxes and Arrows comes out with a post only every other week, but it certainly makes up for it by sending out quality posts. The articles are well-researched, insightful, and represents all angles. There are usually articles on interaction design, business design, as well as information architecture. The topics are always useful and fresh.

5. A List Apart

This is a design blog which was created for people who truly do web design. It focuses on the best practices and standards when it comes to designing for websites. It contains both shorter blog pieces and longer articles. Both are well curated and are written very well. It does not publish as often though, so you better subscribe to receive it if and when a new post does appear.

Apart from user experience design blogs, you can also check out videos and some ebooks on the topic of user experience design to further your learning.

How To Choose A Cheap Dedicated Server


Are you looking for the best dedicated server hosting solution for your business? Many business owners fail to realize the importance of web hosting when it comes to maximizing the potential of their website. Most of the websites on the Internet use shared web hosting. While this is perfectly fine for websites that get little traffic, this may not be the best option to use for your business. In this article, you will learn the benefits of using a cheap dedicated server and why it might be beneficial to invest a little more money for this web hosting solution.

What Is A Dedicated Hosting Service? 

A dedicated server is a type of web hosting in which all the hardware and software features of the server are used by a single person or company. Because of this, it has greater flexibility compared to shared web hosting or a virtual private server. By having the best dedicated server hosting, you have full control over the server including the choice of hardware and operating system. It is considered the most powerful web hosting solution especially for websites that get a lot of monthly traffic. 

The Advantages Of Using A Cheap Dedicated Server 

Since you have complete control over the cheap dedicated server, you get to enjoy all its features without having to worry about other webmasters sharing your bandwidth and other important resources. In shared web hosting, the server is used by multiple clients, which explains why it comes at a much lower price. However, there are also more security issues associated with a shared server. You would want to protect your business from such issues so choosing the best dedicated server hosting is usually the better choice.

How To Choose The Best Dedicated Server Hosting 

Since dedicated servers are much more expensive compared to shared web hosting or VPS, it’s tempting to go for the cheap dedicated server you can find. While it’s natural for you to want to save as much money as possible, it’s also important to consider a few important points other than price. Keep in mind that you want the best quality server for your business to ensure that there will be no downtimes.

The first thing to look for is good quality hardware. If possible, try to find enterprise grade HDDs or even SSDs. Do not hesitate to ask for the brand names used in the server. This can give you a clearer picture as to the quality of the different parts of the server.

When selecting the best dedicated server hosting, you must also take into consideration the needs of your business. If your website isn’t generating a massive amount of traffic, a dedicated server with decent specifications might be good enough. There are cases in which you do not need to rent a dedicated server with the best specifications. You can speak with the web hosting company to assist you in selecting a dedicated server that matches your business needs.

To choose the best dedicated server hosting, it’s a necessity to choose a host with excellent support. Chances are you are going to need their help at one point or another. Check their response times and see whether their support team really knows what they are doing. If all they do is send you links to other webpages, it is a sign that they are not offering high quality support.

A dedicated server may prove highly beneficial for your business. When looking for the cheap dedicated server, be sure to look beyond price and consider other factors including hardware quality, uptime and customer support.