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    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Rage Against the Machine(s)..


    It's been a very twitter-invaded weekend, and man, am really behind on the updates this week.. But don't worry, things will change very soon (stay tuned).. Anyways, like always, let's get the local news first..

    In a very inspiring news catch this week, nothing will stop us from browsing the web, not even blindness.. And Saudi Arabia wants to contribute with a first-timer (so i've been told)
    Saudi student and Engineer Wisam Al-Sabban has designed and carried out studies for an invention enabling blind people to browse the Internet and read content on websites. The TextoBraille system, which consists of a glove and a special keyboard, is based on the Braille language, said Al-Sabban. 
    To use TextoBraille, users wear the glove and move their fingers on the keyboard. As the pointer comes across words and letters, they are translated into Braille in the form of air the user feels through tiny holes in the glove’s fingertips, Al-Sabban said. He said the invention, which is in the stages of design and development, was selected as one of the six best student projects in Australia during an annual innovation contest in Sydney. -SaudiGazzette
    Am not sure how practical this will be with different content being created daily on the internet, but RSS can be easily a great way of staying updated using the TextoBraille.. Plus, it's really great to have the web even more accessible, and now my blogs can be enjoyed by the blind.. Am pretty excited!




    Now that even the blind have no excuse of sharing the awesomeness that this blog offers, let's dive into last week..


    Well, it's finally HERE!!
    Mac-loving engineers, drafters, designers, and students have been waiting for a Mac-native version of AutoCAD to reappear on the platform for many years, so when Apple and Autodesk announced AutoCAD for Mac 2011 in late August, there was a lot of excitement.

    Autodesk reported today that AutoCAD for Mac 2011 is available for purchase. The application isn't cheap -- the MSRP for the software is US$3,995, although one online retailer is offering $500 off that price. Upgrades from previous versions of AutoCAD on other platforms are $1,995. There's a free trialavailable, and students and educators can get a free copy of the application. -TUAW
    I'm sure those Mac Lovin' engineers, since they managed to stomach to pay for Apple's "supposedly" expensive toys, they can cough up $4000.. Easily.. no SWEAT! ... -_-  ... Then again, lets assume that my planned heist next week goes smoothly, think about the amount of RAM you've been keeping aside for my VM to use AutoCAD + multigesture trackpad features.. Raise your hand if you got goosebumps..



    Of course, the situation is still the same.. If you happen to purchase an iPhone 4 from the UAE, or countries that are supplied with the iPhone from a UAE carrier, then you'll probably not be seeing any Facetime any time soon.. Until Apple resolves this of course, assuming they realize that VoIP is not that contreversial in Saudi Arabia.. However, that's not the topic here.. SaudiMac dug under the hood of the iPhone, and gave the iPad a visit too.. As it turns out:
    The screenshot above is from the file displaying the iPad’s restrictions (SaudiMac pulled the iPhone’s). As you can see, FaceTime for iPad is restricted in Middle Eastern nations like the United Arab Emirates, but obviously an interesting thing here is that FaceTime for iPad doesn’t exist.  Sure, the next iPad is likely to have a camera, but perhaps Apple will let the current iPad do “VoiceTime”. -9to5mac
    Of course, this is already a highly speculated feature ever since the "superior prototype" iPad rumor that Steve Jobs was demoing (it's just a light sensor, people!) and the endless room for potential once added to the iPad.. However, it's good to know that Apple is already blocking the unborn feature.. Very good to know indeed..


    via Gizmodo




    Speaking of Companies that know what's best for you, Facebook is aiming to make your quick stalking sessions that much safer.. And we're talking bank-login-style security..
    First, we're launching one-time passwords to make it safer to use public computers in places like hotels, cafes or airports. If you have any concerns about security of the computer you're using while accessing Facebook, we can text you a one-time password to use instead of your regular password.  

    Simply text "otp" to 32665 on your mobile phone (U.S. only), and you'll immediately receive a password that can be used only once and expires in 20 minutes. In order to access this feature, you'll need a mobile phone number in your account. We're rolling this out gradually, and it should be available to everyone in the coming weeks. -The Facebook Blog
    If you're as paranoid as I am, this is really a great security feature for the amount of information and communication i store and do on a daily basis, and not to mention the weird itch that many go through when they feel like they need to check their Facebook RIGHT NOW from the next computer with an internet feed.. There's no clear mention on when will this feature be active around the world, but i seriously can't wait..




    Speaking of waiting, Microsoft really REALLY took it's time in developing what they suggest as a solution to the woes of smartphone usability in our daily lives.. To them, the Windows Phone 7 is a fresh start..
    The goal for Microsoft’s latest smartphone is an ambitious one: to deliver a phone that truly integrates the things people really want to do, puts those things right in front of them, and either lets them get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking. -Microsoft
    And what's that experience?
    The phone uses an elegant operating system that is very different from the current trend toward app-focused phones. Instead it provides active and configurable interface elements called tiles that update on the fly with real information, allowing users to place the tiles that interest them most where they want on their Start screen. Facebook photos, music and contacts are pulled into the phone and distributed appropriately across Hubs.
    Did anyone in the software research department ever came across any smartphone that's being sold nowadays? Because Microsoft's definition of an "experience you're seeking" (which apparently does NOT include a Copy-And-Paste feature) doesn't seem like they paid much attention to what the consumer needs, wants, or experienced in the evolution of smart devices.. How much fresh is a "Fresh start", Microsoft? Wake up and smell the app stores, for god's sake!


    And no, am not taking it hard on MSFT.. You're supposed to top the competition, not ignore it.. Only a few did and managed to get away with it, but not this way at least.. And apparently Google shares my opinion..
    PC Magazine has posted a very interesting interview with Android chief Andy Rubin today. In it, he talks about their relationship with the carriers, the next version of Android, and of course, the Android rivals. While he never mentions the iPhone by name, he does speak to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7. Of it, he says: “the world doesn’t need another platform.” -TechCrunch


    On a not-so-related-note, How often do you use Ping? Yeah, me neither.. Well, Steve Jobs wants to make sure that we do, and he's ganging up with Mark to do so.. Apparently, this is not the first time the "couple" tried to hit it off..
    The Los Angeles Times Tech Blog reports that the two uber-famous, influential and wealthy CEOs were spotted on a stroll in Palo Alto two weeks ago, and that Jobs had invited Zuckerberg to his home for dinner. Presumably, Jobs was trying to negotiate better terms for connecting Ping with Facebook.
    Apple had originally planned to tie Ping very closely with Facebook, but the deal fell through. Jobs said Facebook’s terms were “onerous.” Frankly, it’s hard to imagine that they could have been so onerous that it wouldn’t have been worth it in the end. -Mashable
    I don't know how good are you in math, but think about this.. Facebook's user data base, and Apple's consumer spread, and iTunes being the biggest (if not the only) legal music store out there.. Put them all together in one formula, let me know what you come up with.. My trusty sun-powerd Casio calculator had a syntax error for some reason..




    When you think of Google, you'll probably think of instant search results, your ever-expanding Gmail storage (although it's in Snail speed), the 3 hour youtube surf-around and maybe the fact that Android OS is slowly placing inside your fridge's AI (mine has AI).. But, what about Cars?
    What Tseitlin captured, of course, was the Google self-driving car. The secret project, which Google revealed for the first time today, is a combination of different technologies developed by Google that will allow a car to drive itself — yes, even on the highway. Google has disclosed that they’ve been testing these cars “recently“, but they’ve clearly been testing them for longer than that, as Tseitlin’s video proves. The fact that these specially-equipped Priuses (and one Audi TT) have racked up over 140,000 miles (1,000 of while have been completely human-free) on the road, suggests a longer cycle of testing as well. -TechCrunch
    Speculating on the way Google see itself spreading around, i don't think it will be a Google made car more than a Google OS that runs the car computer.. However, to many, a Google self-driven might give you even more time to enjoy instant search results, Gmailing, and browsing youtube while commuting back and forth from work.. But to me, it's giving me the creeps.. Yeah, that's one more step closer to have your car mentally go nuts.. Imagine the possibilities :D




    Speaking of doomsday robots.. Meet NELL..
    Indeed, the eight-month old computer system attempts to “teach” itself by perpetually scanning slices of the web as it looks at thousands of sites simultaneously to find facts that fit into semantic buckets (like athletes, academic fields, emotions, companies) and finding details related to these nouns. The project, supported by federal grants, a $1 million check from Google, and a M45 supercomputer cluster donated by Yahoo, is trying break down the longstanding barrier between computers and semantics. -TechCrunch
    Am i the only one who obsessively watched and played and read doomsday stories that end with a robot that over-teaches itself until it sees you unworthy, or the cause of all pain, thus the need to wipe you out? To many, i do sound like a skeptic nutcase, but i take this issue seriously (despite the nervous sarcasm).. Enough with the self-reliant machines, people! Seriously!




    Finally, I just want to remind you all that Apple's "Back to Mac" announcements are this Wednesday.. Details and more information about the event will be posted later, so stay tuned.. :D




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