New iPhone goes on sale

New York, June 20: The new iPhone went on sale Friday morning, greeted by much smaller lines and less hoopla than previous models.

A few hundred people were in line just before the 07:00 local time opening of Apple Inc’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, a fraction of the people who lined up around the block for last year’s launch.

That launch turned into a debacle as Apple’s servers failed to cope with the load of new customers trying to activate their phones. People who already had iPhones were trying to install a software update on the same day, adding to the pressure.

Tweeters can’t replace mainstream media

Washington, June 20: The elitist Tweeters of the world are beginning to annoy me.

I’m not talking about the majority of Tweeters out there. I’m talking about that group of fanboys who have jumped on the Twitter-is-the-greatest-news-source-ever bandwagon and are predicting that it will be the downfall of mainstream media.

You may think I’m biased – I work for the mainstream media after all – that doesn’t mean I don’t recognise that mainstream media is struggling to handle new technology.

5.75 million users grab personalised web address on Facebook in two days Bloomberg

San Francisco, June 20: Facebook, the most-popular social networking site, said 5.75 million people registered user names in the two days after the company let members claim a personalised internet address.

Facebook, which has more than 200 million users worldwide, began accepting registrations at midnight on June 13, on a first-come, first-served basis. Within 15 minutes, more than 500,000 user names had been assigned, said Larry Yu, a spokesman for the Palo Alto, California-based company. More than three million registered in the first 12 hours, he said.

Microsoft to release free PC security software

Seattle, June 20: Microsoft plans to release a beta test of its free computer security program next week and is on track to launch a finished product in the fall.

The program, Microsoft Security Essentials, is designed to find and kill malicious software that can steal passwords and other personal information or turn PCs into spam distribution hubs.

Once the PC security software is installed, Microsoft said it will download updated lists of identified malware daily, but will keep a low profile unless it detects dangerous software.

Nasa blasts off 2 moon probes

Washington, June 19: Nasa successfully blasted two probes into space on Thursday on a landmark lunar exploration mission to scout water sources and landing sites in anticipation of sending mankind back to the moon in 2020.

The launch marked “America’s first step in a lasting return to the moon”, a Nasa official said moments after a rocket carrying the probes launched at 17:32 (2132 GMT), one day after the US space agency scrubbed the shuttle Endeavour launch for the second time in a week because of a nagging hydrogen fuel leak.

Carbon counter billboard in NY

New York, June 19: New Yorkers have long been able to keep tabs on the national debt, but they now have a highly visible counter to track greenhouse gas emissions.

A 21m high billboard outside Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Station, not far from the Empire State Building, features a carbon counter.

Digital numbers help viewers track the amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. As of Thursday morning, it stood at more than 3.6 trillion tonnes.

Environ courts to be re-opened

Cape Town, June 19: South Africa’s justice system is “clogged” and cannot be relied on to tackle environment crimes, new Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said on Thursday.

For this reason, it was planned to re-open the country’s Environment Courts, she told journalists at a media briefing ahead of her department’s budget vote debate in the National Assembly.

“You can’t rely on the justice system. The justice system is clogged; it’s overloaded, and… [environment] crimes are not necessarily the core function of the justice department.”

Giant sperm shows size matters

London, June 19: Tiny mussel-like creatures living 100 million years ago made giant sperm longer than their own bodies, proving size has always mattered for some animals when it comes to sex, scientists said on Thursday.

Giant sperm are still around today. A human sperm, for example, would have to be 40 metres long to measure up against a fruit fly’s. The insect is only a few millimetres in size but can produce 6cm-long coiled sperm.

Scientists have been unsure if such gigantism is a freakish one-off.

NASA starts back to moon with dual mission

Washington, June 19: NASA launched a dual mission Thursday to help pave the way for humans to return to the moon, as the US space agency looks beyond the continuing needs of the International Space Station.

The Atlas V rocket launch lifted off at 5:32 p.m. (2132 GMT), 20 minutes into planned, from NASA’s Cape Canaveral in Florida.

A scheduling conflict with the space shuttle Endeavour, which now won’t be launched before July 11, delayed the launch by a day.

Reliance Mobile to launch ‘Wolverine’ game

New Delhi, June 18 : The Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Mobile will launch Friday a game based on Hollywood movie ‘Wolverine’ on its R-World value-added services platform, the company announced Thursday.

Wolverine is a fictional super hero, who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics.

The new movie will be released in Indian theatres Friday.

The role playing game developed by the Indian arm of Electronic Arts (EA), the US-based developer of video games, will enable players to get into the shoes of the protagonist Wolverine and avenge the death of his girlfriend.

—IANS–

Import of Chinese cell phones without identity code banned

New Delhi, June 17: Import of Chinese mobile phones without unique identity code numbers has been banned, India’s commerce ministry announced.

‘Import of mobile handsets without International Mobile Equipment Identify (IMEI) number or with all-zero IMEI is prohibited with immediate effect,’ the Director General of Foreign Trade said in a notification.

IMEI – a unique 15-digit number – helps authorities trace the handset that has been used to make a call.

Fathers of e-mail and mobile phone win top Spanish award

Oviedo, Spain, June 17: Two US engineers regarded as the inventors of e-mail and the mobile phone were Wednesday awarded the highly respected Spanish Prince of Asturias Prize in the category of scientific and technical investigation.

Raymond Samuel Tomlinson and Martin Cooper had produced a communications revolution for billions of people, contributing “decisively to the progress of knowledge” and increasing equal opportunities for developing countries, the jury said in Oviedo.

Tomlinson created the first system to send e-mail between different computers in 1971.

Launch of Space shuttle Endeavour postponed again by gas leak

Washington, June 17: The launch of the space shuttle Endeavour for a 16-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was postponed Wednesday due to a hydrogen gas leak.

The shuttle had been scheduled to take off at 5:40 am (0940 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida after a four-day delay caused by an earlier hydrogen leak. It was to carry the final pieces to the Japanese Kibo module of the ISS.

The latest leak developed during fuelling, NASA said.

July twin treat – eclipses of sun, moon

New Delhi, June 15: Come July, star gazers will be in for a treat — a total solar eclipse that will remain unsurpassed in duration for the next 123 years.

And in addition to it, they will also witness a lunar eclipse in the same month.

A total eclipse of the sun will be visible on July 22 from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of the Earth starting in India and crossing through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China.

After leaving mainland Asia, the path crosses Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean.

Rat Island finally rat-free

Anchorage, June 14: Alaska’s Rat Island is finally rat-free, 229 years after a Japanese shipwreck spilled rampaging rodents onto the remote Aleutian island, decimating the local bird population.

After dropping poison onto the island from helicopter-hoisted buckets for a week and a half last autumn, there are no signs of living rats and some birds have returned, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Cellphones, websites blocked

Tehran, June 14: The main mobile telephone network in Iran was cut in the capital Tehran on Saturday evening while popular internet websites Facebook and YouTube also appeared to be blocked, correspondents said.

The communication cuts came after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a landslide re-election victory, sparking rioting in the streets by opposition supporters who claimed the result had been rigged.

Volcanic ash threatens planes

Moscow, June 14: A volcanic eruption on a remote Russian island north of Japan has created a giant ash cloud that threatens passing airplanes, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported on Sunday, citing Russian geologists.

The eruption of Sarychev Peak on uninhabited Matua Island, part of the Kuril Islands archipelago in the north Pacific Ocean, began overnight between Thursday and Friday and is still underway, the news agency said.

Windows 7 due on October 22

Germany, June 14: The new Windows 7 operating system (OS) will be available starting on October 22, Microsoft says.

Users who buy Microsoft’s current OS, Windows Vista, in the Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate versions will soon be able to take part in an upgrade program with “participating dealers and PC makers.”

Mars, Venus could hit Earth

Paris, June 12: A force known as orbital chaos may cause our Solar System to go haywire, leading to a possible collision between Earth and Venus or Mars, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The good news is that the likelihood of such a smash-up is small, around one-in-2500. And even if the planets did careen into one another, it would not happen before another 3.5 billion years.

‘I’m a lover, not a fighter’ says Google to US government probes

California, June 11: Google doesn’t believe it needs to change its ways despite three separate US government inquiries into whether some of the internet search leader’s actions are thwarting competition.

“There is no reason to be upset or surprised with the scrutiny,” Dana Wagner, Google’s competition counsel, told reporters on Wednesday. “It comes with the territory.”

Earth-Venus smash-up possible in 3.5 bn years: Study

Paris, June 11: A force known as orbital chaos may cause our Solar System to go haywire, leading to possible collision between Earth and Venus or Mars, according to a study released Wednesday.

The good news is that the likelihood of such a smash-up is small, around one-in-2500.

And even if the planets did careen into one another, it would not happen before another 3.5 billion years.

Hackers wipe 100,000 websites from hosting company Vaserv

Washington, June 10: An English website hosting company may have lost the data for over 100,000 websites after hackers exploited a security vulnerability in software used to provide customers with hosting facilities.

According to Rus Foster, the company’s director, hackers managed to gain access to the root level of a key piece of software the company uses to provide its low-cost virtual website solutions.

“We were hit by a zero-day exploit” in HyperVM, a virtualization application made by LXLabs in Bangalore, India.

Google mentor Rajeev Motwani dies in drowning accident

Washington, June 08: A much-loved Stanford University professor from India who mentored and backed such sparkling Silicon Valley companies as Google and Rajeev Motwani, Stanford University professor from India & Google mentor, died in a freak drowning accident at his Bay area home on Friday. Paypal died in a freak drowning accident at his Bay area home on Friday, sending the tech community into gloom.

Machine Keeps Heart Beating Outside of Body

Carolina, June 05: Researchers at the North Carolina State University has developed a machine that can keep a heart beating outside the body. The potential medical benefit is huge, though for whatever reason I kept on thinking about Dr. Frankenstein:

“Researchers can obtain pig hearts from a pork processing facility and use the system to test their prototypes or practice new surgical procedures,” says Andrew Richards, a Ph. D. student in mechanical engineering at NC State who designed the heart machine.

Soon, ‘hands-free’ video games

London, May 24: The ultimate computer game that banishes handheld controls and allows players’ gestures to dictate the action on screen is to be launched by Microsoft.

The Microsoft Xbox 360 uses 3-D camera technology, and is aimed at challenging the dominance of the Nintendo Wii, reports The Times.

Allowing users to kick a virtual football, drive a car or practise dance moves with a computer-generated partner simply by monitoring an individual’s movements, the entertainment system will become a must-have for any child or even a youngster.