Dating Sites Get Inventive with Games, apps

NEW YORK – Games, apps and offline events are beginning to replace the ritual exchange of online messages, the basic tenet of online dating, and to blur the distinction between on-and-offline dating., which boasts more than 1.7 million paid subscribers, has taken cues from the $74 billion global video gaming industry by creating short dual-player games to help people express themselves better online.

A game called Food Critic prompts members to answer food-related questions, while Romance Rip-Off is designed for two players to create a love story together. During the game players can instant message each other to discuss their answers, which believes promotes a more natural way of interacting.

Groups invited to the events are matched by algorithms incorporating age, gender and interests.

Other websites including OkCupid and Badoo are using smartphone apps so singles can discover if there are other members nearby whom they might like to meet.

Source: Reuters 

Software Piracy in China Declining

Less than 40 per cent of software installed on computers in China was pirated in 2011, a decline of 3 percentage points from the previous year, according to, a consulting and research company.

As for categories, information security software piracy declined the most – from 45 per cent in 2010 to 39 per cent last year – followed by office and operating system piracy, according to the annual report on China’s software piracy, conducted by the company, entrusted by the State Intellectual Property Office.

As of the end of January, authorized software was being used on all computers of governmental departments in eight provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu, said Zhai Lifeng, an official of National Copyright Administration.

The most important issue is how to establish consumers’ awareness of protecting the rights of authorized software, she added.

In addition, because many netizens and software users are from villages and small cities, they have poor awareness of intellectual property rights. Therefore, “it is urgent for the government to educate and guide”, said Gao Hongbin, CEO of, who is also a pioneer specializing in software research in China.

Source: AsiaOne

Green thumb app alerts users when plants need watering

TORONTO – Wilted, starving, thirsty houseplants could soon be getting more tender loving care thanks to a new plant sensor and app that tells owners when it is time for watering and feeding.

The Koubachi Wifi Plant Sensor, which is placed in the soil of the potted plant, connects with a smartphone app that alerts users when plants need watering, misting, fertilizer or more sun or shade.

“There’s very little information when you buy a plant. Most of the time there’s a little sticker that will say it needs a medium amount of light and water every few days. But that’s very rough and doesn’t apply for most plants,” said Phillipp Bolliger, the inventor of the system and CEO of Koubachi AG, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

The sensor collects data such as soil moisture, light intensity and ambient temperature, which is sent to the app, available for iOS devices and through the web.

The care plans were developed in conjunction with plant physiologists at ETH Zurich, the Swiss Institute of Technology. Bolliger said the plant care plans can be accessed through the app without purchasing a sensor, but they are more accurate when paired with it.

The app, which is free, is available worldwide from the App Store in English and German and there are plans for French and Japanese versions.


FBI Released ‘Child ID’ app for Android

May 25 is the National Missing Children’s Day in the United Sates. To Mark this day, FBI has released a new version of Child ID app for Android. The Child ID App from FBI was first released in August 2011 for iPhone and till now, it has been downloaded more than 121,000.

The Child ID app is developed to help parents who’s child have gone missing. The app stores photos and vital information the missing children so that it is at hand whenever the parents need it.

By using this app, a guardian can show pictures of their kids and provide physical recognizes such as height and weight to security or on duty police officers on the spot.

A guardian can quickly send an e-mail to authorities with a few clicks, if needed. The app also delivers tips on keeping children safe and gives specific guidance on what to do in those first few rigorous hours after a child goes missing.

Android app can be downloaded at Google Play or on iTunes.

Source: Digg

Hard Disk Drives Densities Will Double in 2016

Remember those digital dark ages when hard drive capacities were measured in megabytes instead of gigabytes? Do you remember using cassette tapes to store your data? Those were long gone. Today’s hard drives are much more spacious, but with solid state drives coming down in price, are HDDs on their last legs? Hold your breath, not by a long shot!

All HDD manufacturers currently use PMR technology for existing HDD products (PMR Technology Means More Efficient Hard Drives)but the industry consensus is that existing PMR technology has two to three generations left before reaching its areal density limit at about 1-terabit (Tb)/sq in.

Seagate announced that by using heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology, it  is likely to lead the way in creating next-generation HDDs that could extend HDD areal density to a range spanning 5 to 10 Tb per square inch.

This tremendous growth is being fueled by more demanding video and audio storage requirements.

IHS iSuppli said, “HDD areal densities measuring data-storage capacities are projected to climb to a maximum 1,800 Gb/sq in per platter by 2016, up from 744 Gb/sq in in 2011”. This means 1 TB (Tera Byte) of storage can hold approximately 350,000 MP3 songs at an estimated 2.85 Mb/song, or up to 1 million photos at an estimated 1Mb/2.4 megapixel JPEG-format photo, or up to 76 hours of uncompressed digital video at a data rate of 13 Gb/hour. With a 4-TB hard drive, that capacity quadruples to roughly 1 million songs, or 1,000 hours of high-definition video, or 4,000 hours of standard video, or 1,400 movies.

The highest capacity for 3.5-inch HDDs could then reach 30 to 60 TB, while the smaller and thinner 2.5- inch HDDs used in increasingly popular thinner notebooks could reach 10 to 20 TB.

Source: iSuppli

Computer Can Tell If You’re Angry

Microsoft announced an updated version of its Kinect SDK, which adds a host of new features among other things. Now,  it can track your body while you’re sitting down, can easily record and play back tracking data, and can do voice recognition in more languages.

One of the biggest additions, however, is facial tracking–the ability to recognize your facial features and watch your expressions. The best part? It doesn’t force you to tape a bunch of little reflective dots to your face, as motion-capture for games and Hollywood movies has long required.

The easiest thing to do with this is to map your facial expression to your character’s. Ghosting back to your body (again) in WoW? Your character is frowning too. On the other hand, score some sweet loot and your character’s smile will be just as wide as your own.

More interesting is to analyze your facial expressions so the computer can tell what emotions you’re experiencing. This might be useful to game developers, say, to track how much time their players spend frustrated vs. happy at a moment-to-moment level.


Secure Private Cloud Components

New integration between System Center 2012 Operations Manager and Virtual Machine Manager enhances support and management of private clouds. John Joyner describes the new features.

Microsoft’s simultaneous release of System Center 2012 versions of Operations Manager (SCOM) and Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) put on display some new integration features. The new features support the cloud-centric theme of System Center 2012 as a complete platform to deploy and support the private cloud.

There has existed a deep integration between SCOM and SCVMM in their previous and current releases (SCOM 2007 R2 and SCVMM 2008 R2). This integration has leveraged the alerting, performance tracking, and reporting features of SCOM effectively, and made the System Center suite a more attractive solution.

In the newest generation, the integration is tighter, easier to enable, and less intrusive than before. Since System Center 2012 customers will own the licenset to install and use both SCOM and SCVMM for private cloud management, this integration should be a common experience for many organizations.

Source: Latest Articles in Software

Shouting At Your TV Actually Works Now!

Voice Control Technology

Voice recognition firm Nuance has announced that Samsung’s latest top-end TV sets are using its technologies.

The news comes four months after Nuance said it had begun pitching its Dragon TV “natural language understanding platform” to manufacturers.

“Consumers can use natural voice commands to change channels, search for content on the web… and connect with friends and family via Skype,” a statement from Nuance said.

“They can even turn on the TV by simply saying: ‘Hi, TV, power on.'”

The announcement follows an earlier tie-up with Panasonic to provide a voice guidance system to its Viera televisions.

The Nuance engine, which is at the core of their technologies, is considered to be the best in the business so it’s the logical choice for any TV maker to adopt.

Source: BBC News


A Milestone Release for Adobe’s Next Gen of Digital Publishing Suite

Adobe’s been mighty busy lately, rolling out Creative Suite 6, Creative Cloud and a new video platform for broadcasters.

For starters, publishers now have a way to tailor content specifically for the iPhone, just as they can for the iPad, Kindle Fire and Android tablets.

So far, we know Conde Nast will be using this tool to build a modified edition of The New Yorker. Meanwhile, art departments used to working in InDesign can now take a single a layout and repurpose it across multiple devices.

Similarly, DPS is now integrated with Adobe Edge, which means publishers can create HTML5 animations and then easily port them over to their digital editions.

Lastly, Adobe announced that Meredith, the company that brings you (yes, you) Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Fitness will also begin using the platform to create digital editions. Hold onto your britches, kids.

Source: Engadget

Flashback Fix Released

OS X Leopard

Apple Releases Flashback Fix for OS X Leopard.

After issuing similar fixes for Lion and Snow Leopard in April, Apple has now released a Flashback removal security update for OS X Leopard.

Apple describes the update as follows: “This update removes the most common variants of the Flashback malware. If the Flashback malware is found, a dialog will notify you that malware was removed. In some cases, the update may need to restart your computer in order to completely remove the Flashback malware.”

Flashback is a malicious program which uses a Java vulnerability to track Mac users. At one point, more than 600,000 Macs were estimated to be infected.

Source: Mashable