There was no gift announced for Christmas by Skype but Skype Team has announced gift for the New Year for iPhone users.

And it is Video Calling feature with Skype App. The launched of this specific Version of Skype App is very much on at Christmas Day but some how they do not have completed the task on time i guess but Now Skype has released the latest version of Skype App having video calling features. Following are the latest features, which are added to the App  and they are Free to Download as well. Features: via iTunes Apps
• Make Skype to Skype video calls on WiFi and 3G*
• Call Skype desktop users (Mac OS X or Windows) and other iPhone users.
• Two-way video calls supported on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 4th gen.
• Receive only video supported on iPad and iPod touch 3rd gen, with no camera.
• Make video calls in portrait and landscape.
• Skype video calling requires iOS 4.0 or above.
*Additional Data charges may apply



Source: Download Skype App Free Download for iPhone IOS 4

The Top 40 iPhone Apps of 2010

Posted byAdnan Malik Dec 28, 2010 0 comments

This post is written by Alex Ahlund, the former CEO and founder of AppVee and AndroidApps, which were acquired by mobile application directory Appolicious.

The iTunes App Store is huge. More than 300,000 apps huge. I’ve watched this monster start from nothing and turn into a billion-dollar industry in only a few short years. We’ve been approaching this point for some time now, but it’s more apparent than ever that app exposure is of critical importance. A healthy majority of iOS app users discover new applications directly from their device as opposed to using iTunes. If you look specifically at the iPhone, the amount of real estate for discovery is only available to a very small percentage of the total apps.
There are currently 20 overall categories, with Games offering an additional 20 subcategories. Each subcategory is broken into three lists and displays a max of 100 apps on the iPhone. Throw in a small number from the Top 25 and Featured lists and you wind up with roughly 12,000 apps being shown at one time. This works out to only about 4% of all apps that receive visibility. One can browse beyond this number on iTunes, but that quickly becomes an overwhelming, laborious task.
The expectation is that the market will dictate an app’s worth, but it doesn’t always work out that way. If you look at the top lists, they are littered with clones, cheap knockoffs and impulse grabs. Ninety-nine cent buys are just too tempting. Without proper exposure (and potentially more appropriate pricing schemes), many truly great apps never see the light of day.
With that said, I’ve compiled what I believe to be the best apps that have come out this year. Some got well-deserved exposure, while others were lost in the shuffle. The difficult part of assembling a “best of” list is striking a balance between apps with mainstream appeal and those with real innovation. There are a number of factors that took place in the selection (such as the merits of an app itself, not just the usefulness of an established service it utilizes) and not every good app could make the cut.
I present the top apps of 2010:


1. Instagram: Take a photo or select one from your library, apply a visual effect to it and then post it to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, or Foursquare. While there are plenty of photo filter applications out there, Instagram stands apart because of how easy it is to get a unique and professional result. Indie styling without the need for a vintage camera or Photoshop skills.


2. Chase Mobile: While I don’t use Chase for banking, this app deserves some serious recognition. For an industry that isn’t known for pushing the technology envelope, Chase did something pretty cool here. Instead of going to a banking center or ATM, you can simply take a picture of the front and back of a check and the amount is deposited into your account. Beats driving to a bank.

3. Price Check by Amazon: Sure, there are several barscanning apps out there. Some work better than others, but Price Check is just about flawless. Considering I buy nearly everything from Amazon (from vitamins to electronics), I may be a bit biased. But regardless, this app offers an easy, effective way to check the price of physical goods in a store to see if you can get it cheaper online.

4. Find My iPhone: This was a great move by Apple to release the Find My iPhone feature without requiring a paid MobileMe account. With this, you can see where your phone is on a map, display a message, lock the phone or completely wipe it.

5. Google Voice: Long awaited, Google Voice has been in approval limbo for ages. I thought it would never see the light of day (due possibly to objections from AT&T) but to most people’s surprise, it was approved. With Google Voice, you can replace your calling plan with a unique number that includes dialing, texting, voicemail, and message transcription.

6. Twitter: After acquiring Tweetie, Twitter relaunched this as the official Twitter app for the iPhone. It remains the standard bearer. How many times a day do you pull down to refresh?

7. Dropbox: I’m a big proponent of the digital nomad lifestyle, so I always stay backed up on the cloud. I want to be able to access, view, retrieve and share any of my files whether I have my computer with me or not, and the Dropbox app helps me do that. It does require a Dropbox account, but its free for up to 2gb of storage.


8. SpringPad: While the Evernote app is great (I use it to catalog most of my notes and ideas), SpringPad really steps up mobile notetaking. You can write a quick memo, take a snapshot, scan a barcode of an item to remember, or have the app search nearby shops and restaurants to add. There are a lot more options than Evernote and it seems a bit speedier to quickly unload a thought.

9. Foursquare: Okay, this one didn’t come out this year, but any Best iPhone Apps list would be incomplete without it. Checking in, which seemed so quirky a year ago, is now an obsession with millions of people, and they can thank Foursquare. Tell people where you are, get mayorships, badges, and maybe some other rewards. The latest update just added comments and photo checkin capabilities. (Gowalla is still looking good too).

10. Skyfire Web Browser: I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t hate the fact that the iPhone lacks Flash support. While Skyfire is by no means a perfect solution, it offers us a way to watch Flash videos from the web on our iPhone. Unfortunately, it does not support Flash games and not all sites with Flash video are supported.

11. Kindle: I’m one of those people who prefers reading off an e-ink Kindle to an LCD iPad. For the millions like me, the Kindle app makes a perfect companion. However, while I don’t take my Kindle everywhere, I always have my phone. Just boot up the app and you can continue reading from where you last left off.

12. Word Lens: Word Lens is one of the few apps that really shows the potential of the iPhone. Aim your phone at anything with standard printed writing on it in another language (a sign, newspaper, etc.) and Word Lens will replace it with translated copy. The amazing thing is that it will do it in realtime. Currently it only supports English to Spanish translations (and visa versa), but greater language support is on the way. It has a few quirks, but the speed and accuracy is very impressive.


13. Groupon: This is a solid companion app to the daily-deal service Groupon, which offers up a deeply discounted product or service for a limited time. The app makes the process easier to manage without the need of the website. There are a few ancillary features like Discussion, but the real reason to keep it around is to easily check out the daily deals.

14. Hashable: If you are a heavy networker or just like introducing people, Hashable is the app for you. It lets you introduce people via Twitter or email and annotate all your meetings with hashtags like #lunch or #justmet so that you can go back later and search through them. You also get “Hashcred” every time you use the app, which pushes you up the leaderboard. This is a business app, but it feels fun.
Top Entertainment Apps:

15. Netflix: I’m a huge fan of Netflix streaming and this app is a great way to watch streamed content right on your iPhone. I was expecting movie streaming to be slow over 3G but was surprised to see that after a short loading period, it was extremely smooth. Quality settings are reduced depending on the connection, but all in all, it works great.

16. Hulu: I was on the fence about the Hulu app since Netflix covers so many of my media needs. This app requires you to subscribe to the Hulu Plus service, which is the same price as a Netflix streaming account. However, Hulu contains a lot of great TV content that will fill in many of the holes left by Netflix. The app itself feels solid and the streaming quality seems to be on par with Netflix in terms of looks and speed.

17. TuneIn Radio: The problem with Internet radio has been that despite being awesome, it hasn’t allowed access to local radio. TuneIn Radio lets you listen in on thousands of real radio stations across the country. With a bunch of features like the ability to pause and rewind live radio, it makes a great addition next to Pandora and Slacker.

18. Rhapsody: Rhapsody is an all-you-can-eat music listening service. For the longest time, iPhone/iPod Rhapsody users have been left out in the cold if they wanted to take their songs with them. But now, with the Rhapsody app, you can listen to as much music from the service as you like without needing an active Internet connection.


19. TextPics: Emoji are fun to add to text messages to other iPhone users—the problem is that your iPhone-less friends can’t see them. TextPics tries to solve this issue by giving you a bunch of ASCII “drawings” that you can text or include in emails. The best part is they are made up of standard text characters, so anyone can receive them on any device.
Top iPhone games:

20. Angry Birds: It’s not easy to ignore Angry Birds—you’ll usually find it hanging out at that #1 top spot. It’s one of the first phenomenons to come out of the iPhone world, spawning seasonal versions, toys and even a movie deal. I doubt it even needs a description, so if for some reason you’re just now crawling out from under a rock, go and download Angry Birds.

21. Plants vs Zombies: I came from the casual games industry so I’ve been a fan of PopCap for a long time. PvZ is a streamlined, linear tower defense game. Your goal is to defend your home from a swarm of zombies using a variety of different plants from common pea shooters to exploding landmine plants. With a simple, fast paced method for earning money to upgrade your defenses, this game is an entertaining blend of action, strategy and zombies.


22. Trade Nations: This is one of my favorite freemium games on the iPhone. In some ways, it plays like a cooperative real-time strategy game. You place houses to create workers, develop timber yards to bring in lumber, harvest wheat for food, etc. It’s a rewarding experience best played in short, productive bursts. Every action takes time, so it’s always interesting to check in and do a little management during a break.


23. Gun Bros: Most duel-stick survival shooters on the iPhone are simple, shallow experiences. Gun Bros. takes the genre to the next level by offering a freemium upgrade system, a unique visual style and a robust leveling mechanic. If you’re a fan of fast paced top-down shooters, this is the one to grab.

24. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: I’m generally not a fan of ports but this time it was done right. GTA: CW is a faithful translation of its Nintendo DS counterpart. The game is presented in a 3D overhead perspective, combining elements from the original GTA and GTA 4. Despite having an appearance similar to the former, it actually plays more like the latter and those familiar with Liberty City will find themselves right at home here.

25. N.O.V.A 2: If you’ve ever wanted to play Halo on the iPhone, this is the closest you’ll get for now. Like the original, you battle your way through a lush Sci-Fi environment while utilizing a huge arsenal of futuristic weaponry and powers, like the ability to slow down time. With improved graphics, more expansive environments, unique game components like piloting vehicles, and an array of visual effects, N.O.V.A 2 is sure to provide fans of the original, as well as newcomers, with an engrossing experience.


26. Puzzle Agent: This is why I like doing these lists. Games like Puzzle Agent deserve recognition for stepping outside the box and delivering an engrossing experience. You play as an FBI agent from the Puzzle Investigation Division in a game that combines elements of classic adventure games with thought-provoking puzzles. Together with quirky artwork and good voice acting, this is one to try out.


27. Rhythm Spirit: Rhythm Spirit is the sleeper hit of the year. It was loved by critics, but flew under the radar for many iPhone gamers. The game is a rhythm-based fighting game featuring a rich storyline based on Japanese folklore. Imaginative characters, unique gameplay and a genuinely awesome techno-zen soundtrack make Rhythm Spirit a must have for both fighting and rhythm game fans.

28. Ragdoll Blaster 2: Trajectory games have been all the rage for the iPhone. And while the genre has seen plenty of below average apps, Ragdoll Blaster 2 stands out from the crowd. With whimsical, steampunk-inspired graphics and tons of variety in level design and background art, RB2 is a deep and rewarding puzzler.

29. Spiderman: Total Mayhem: The world of Spiderman makes for one of the best gaming environments, despite the mixed results of many past attempts. Total Mayhem for the iPhone succeeds in offering up a very attractive, highly playable web-slinging experience. This solid beat-em-up gives you all of Spidey’s skills as you swing through cityscapes, web-up bad guys, and engage in some good ol’ fashion fisticuffs. Total Mayhem is visually fantastic and features truly excellent fighting mechanics.

30. Mirror’s Edge: I’ve been fascinated with parkour ever since the movie Yamakazis came out. I even signed up to train in it with more or less unfortunate results. So for now, Mirror’s Edge is the closest I’ll get to spending my weekends leaping from rooftops. I was a big fan of the game on consoles, so I initially approached this iPhone adaptation warily. However, I quickly discovered that this version is surprisingly competent with intuitive controls and an effective, device-friendly side-scrolling perspective. Smooth, flowing animation and beautifully sharp 3D graphics evocative of the original console version contributes to the uniquely satisfying, running and jumping experience.

31. Cut the Rope: I didn’t want to like this game. It shot up to the #1 position on the App Store after only a day. I thought there surely had to be some foul play at work. But the truth is, regardless of whether or not “creative” marketing methods were used, the game is pretty damn fun. The objective is to get a piece of candy, dangling from a rope, into a cute monster’s mouth. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Plenty of obstacles get in your way and before long, you’ll find yourself absolutely addicted to helping the little guy get his sugary fix.

32. Fruit Ninja: Some games are just fun for their sheer mindless simplicity – Fruit Ninja is one of those games. As 3D fruits hop into view, you run your finger across the screen to cut them in half—simple as that. Slice up the endless onslaught of fruit while avoiding the game-ending bombs. Each session begins at a slow, steady pace with the action gradually becoming more intense and frantic as you progress.

33. Osmos: There is a certain zen-like satisfaction you get from playing Osmos. You control an amoeba-like blob that must consume smaller entities to grow, and then expel them to move. You’ve got to be alert to maintain this careful balancing act, but the meditative lull of Osmos’ ambiance creates a uniquely relaxing, trancey experience.


34. Smurfs’ Village: When it comes to freemium management games currently available on the App Store, the experience is too often shallow and predictable. This isn’t the case with Smurf’s Village. While the objective is still to build and develop your village, the game is jam packed with tasks, mini-games and even a loose narrative. Smurf’s Village features great music and excellent, hi-res graphics that are sure to instill a warm sense of nostalgia to anyone who spent the 80's watching Saturday morning cartoons.


35. Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus: It’s no simple task to bring a console-quality first-person shooter to a device the size of your hand. It’s a careful balance of processing, assets, and usability. Fortunately, Modern Combat does a highly commendable job of pulling it off. High-res graphics, impressive visual effects, and detailed environments give Modern Combat 2 more than enough reason to be considered a technical achievement this year.


36. Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner: You are going to want to play this gam ein a swivel chair. The 360-degree graphics take advantage of the iPhone’s gyroscope to let you swivel around and shoot TIE Fighters from the Millenium Falcon’s gun turret. The gameplay is pretty basic, but the 360-effect and 3D graphics put you in the action like no other game. You can also play in augmented reality mode which switches the background to your camera view, making it look like the TIE Fighters are in your room or flying through the air.

37. Samurai 2: Vengeance: I love games that really push style and character, and Samurai 2: Vengeance does just that. Visually, the game looks like it could be a younger sibling of Capcom’s console gem, Okami. The art is like a combination of Japanese brush painting and anime, giving Vengeance an amazingly rich and distinct style. Thick outlines, flat colors and exaggerated motion create a unique manga look that boldly stands out in the App Store.

38. Real Racing 2: The first Real Racing took the App Store by storm when it was released last year. It was one of the few apps that showed what the iPhone was really capable of. Real Racing 2 doesn’t disappoint in keeping that tradition alive. RR2 is the best looking racing game available for the iPhone. From the detailed tracks and environments, to the actual licensed cars themselves, this will be sure to impress even the most cynical of driving sim enthusiasts. While Real Racing 2 has packed in even more play modes, multiplayer options and cars, it still uses the near flawless control scheme options of its predecessor.


39. Rage HD: I generally dislike the “on-rails” mechanic for any game. If I absolutely had to play an on-rails shooter, I’d more likely head on down to the coin laundry and play some Operation Wolf. But that does not diminish the fact that Rage HD is currently one of the two best looking games in the App Store today. Sharp textures, dynamic lighting, and high poly rendering make this an impressive feat. Now if they would just pry us off these rails we could have a seriously awesome shooter on our hands.

40. Infinity Blade: Infinity Blade is by far the best looking game ever to appear on the iPhone. Developed by Epic using the same engine that powered the incredible tech demo, Epic Citadel, it is no surprise that Infinity Blade is visually on par with modern console games. The gameplay consists of tapping and swiping the screen in a variety swashbuckling maneuvers as you fight against a succession of guards attempting to prevent you from reaching the God King. In addition to the combat, the game also features some interesting RPG elements and a functional storyline to provide context for all the mayhem. And though it doesn’t offer the deepest or most fulfilling gameplay, Infinity Blade succeeds in ushering in the new visual benchmark for high-end iPhone gaming.


Tell us about your feedback which apps you would put on this list.

The top headlines today got me thinking back to 2008. Back then, I was writing for VentureBeat, and we used to talk quite a bit internally about iPhone versus Android. Yes, even back then it was a hot debate. And yes, back then, I was obviously in the iPhone camp. And this annoyed those who saw the promise of Android. “But Android will eventually become much larger than the iPhone,” was the basic argument used against me. But it wasn’t really against me. Even back then, I would openly acknowledge that Android would eventually far surpass the iPhone in terms of units shipped. I mean, how could it not?

And so Fortune’s headline today that “2011 will be the year Android explodes“, has been a long time coming. In his article, Seth Weintraub brings up a number of excellent points about how exactly Android is poised to grow even faster in 2011 than it already did in 2010. Though I suspect a number of his points paint too rosy a picture in terms of the outcome of such downward pressures on costs. I find it very hard to believe, for example, that the carriers (in the U.S., in particular) won’t find a way to screw us in 2011. It’s an artform they’ve perfected over the past two decades. But on paper, at least, it all sounds great.
Some, like venture capitalist Fred Wilson, think this expansion of Android is great news — for entrepreneurs and VCs, in particular. Others, like Robert Scoble, thinks this is bad news, because it means the higher-quality iPhone will fall. You might expect me to back Scoble here. But I’m not going to. Well, not completely.
When I write about the iPhone or Android and the fandroids come out in full force, people often ask if this angers or annoys me. I find that funny. What do I care? I have absolutely no skin in either game. I’m an iPhone user because I prefer it over Android. I think it’s an overall better product. That’s why I use it. It really is that simple.
If there was an Android phone out there that I thought was better than the iPhone, I would use it. But I haven’t found one yet.
So on one hand, the news that Android is going to explode in the market in 2011 actually gives me hope. More Android phones means more potential for a great one to emerge.
Further, I’ve openly said numerous times that just about every Android device is at least 10,000 times better than any mobile device we had prior to 2007. Sometimes it can be hard to think back to the pre-iPhone mobile world. But it really did suck — particularly in the United States. Before the iPhone, I had a Motorola RAZR running Verizon’s piece of shit very proprietary (and very red) software. I was trying to come up with a better descriptive phrase than “piece of shit”, but that’s really the best way to describe it.
The iPhone changed the game. But Android did too. It’s just because the iPhone did it before Android (and again, because I prefer the iPhone) that I give Apple more credit for this than Google. But both have done amazing things to move the ecosystem out of the carrier Hell we were in. And if Android can pull off half of what Weintraub lays out, it will be another leap forward. And I will heap praise upon them.
But.
The flip-side to this Android domination is what we’re already seeing. The carriers (again, in the U.S. in particular) are using Android’s openness to perform many of their same old tricks. I can’t help but think sometimes that it looks as if Google actually did the carriers a huge favor in the long-run because they’ve taken many of the bells and whistles that drove users to the iPhone in the first place and opened them up for the carriers to use as glittering lures to rope customers back into their traps.
Say what you will about the iPhone/AT&T deal, it’s clear that Apple is in control there. And say what you will about Apple — at least they’re not the carriers. With Android, it’s a different story. That’s why the “open” argument is such a bullshit red herring. Android is so open that it gives the carriers (and now apparently the government) freedom to screw us — openly.
Again, in my mind, the iPhone’s bells and whistles are shinier. But I’ll openly admit that with devices like the Nexus S (I’ll be writing my thoughts on the latest Android device up in a few days), the line between the two continues to get more blurry. Further, I know that most people simply don’t care about quality above all else. We see this time and time again across all industries. For many people, price matters more. Or features. Or other miscellaneous things (such as carriers).
And so the only way for the iPhone to “beat” Android would be for Apple to either open iOS up in the same way that Android is, or to create a huge variety of iPhones spread across the spectrum in terms of features and price. Neither of those things is going to happen. Nor should they happen. The first simply isn’t in Apple’s DNA. It would create an ecosystem of crappy iPhones that Apple had no control over. And Nokia already made the latter mistake.
Weintraub closes his piece with:
What’s most interesting is that unless Apple has a plan to keep up, their iPhone, once one of the only usable smartphone games in town, may wind up back where most Apple products are slotted — at the top of the market, affordable only to those willing and able to pay a premium for Steve Jobs’ aesthetic sensibilities.
Again, the only plan for Apple to “keep up” is one of the two things above. And Apple isn’t going to do either. As Scoble argues, the Verizon iPhone could shake up the game temporarily, but it’s still a lost cause. Apple cannot win an arm’s race with Android because they will not attempt to. They’re perfectly happy “at the top of the market” where they make a ton of revenue and profit. Billions more, in fact, than Google does with Android.
Google, of course, has a different game plan with Android. And it looks like it is a very smart one. As Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo noted earlier on Twitter, “Even if Android makes $0, it has turned out to be a cheaper way to get search defaults on smartphones than paying carriers & Apple.”
That’s a pretty perfect way of looking at it. Google would have had to pay millions upon millions of dollars to be a part of the smartphone game from the outside. Instead, they brought the smartphone game to them. And they’re paying zero dollars with Android. In a way, it’s sort of like what they’re doing with Chrome as well. They had been (and still are) paying millions of dollars to Mozilla to be the default search engine on Firefox. So instead, they decided to bring the game to them. And it’s working. But the stakes are much higher in the smartphone game.
What does concern me about Android’s success is if it does to Apple what Windows did to them in the 1990s. That is, drives them into near extinction. There are plenty of reasons to believe why this won’t be the case — but history does have a tendency to repeat itself. What if everyone does decide they they want a free smartphone subsidized by search? How does the iPhone survive in that environment?
I don’t think that will happen, I think Apple has enough ecosystem leverage with things like the iPad, iTunes, and their apps, that it would be very hard for a full collapse to occur. But it is something that has to be thought about.
And that’s all I really care about. I couldn’t care less if the iPhone or Android is the market leader. All I want is the ability to choose which device I want to use. And I’m sure that’s Google’s stance on the matter as well. They love the iPhone because it brings them search revenue just as Android does. I just don’t trust what the carriers will do with their Google-powered leverage in an Android-dominated world. And frankly, the Google/Verizon relationship is growing quite frightening.

The future is not written yet and who knows whether robots are dangerous or not. What is for sure is that humans, being the curious beings, will develop new advanced generations of robots.

It happens so that people and robots go together in this life side by side, in some spheres of life they are even interchangeable and who knows into what this opposition “Human and Robots” will translate. Robots and humans that live and prosper together…Or robots will realize they don’t need that much.

For now it is up to out fantasy to express what we think will happen in human-robot relations in the future. This is a collection of 3d computer generated images of various creative 3d artists that shows their vision. The level of detail of these computer graphics shows that our technology will lead us to the point where these fantastic photographs will be the reality.

Human Robots Future

Personal Robot 04, Author: Franz Steiner (software: 3ds max)

Human Robots Future
Who will win in this game of chess? When there is the opposition of the mechanical creature and the human intellect it is not easy to predict the outcome of the game. You can make books, but you will never be sure about the results, they are unpredictable.

Personal Robot 08, Author: Franz Steiner (software: 3ds max)

Human Robots Future
In the process of the humming work robots can be of a great use for people. With them less time would be spend for the most complicated tasks and the crunch times would take place not so often. The only question that is left – to find such a robot.

Personal Robot 02, Author: Franz Steiner

Human Robots Future
I’m not sure that it is more pleasant to work in the company of robots, but it definitely has certain advantages. One of the main is the high efficiency of the process of work, furthermore not a lot of time is spent for the idle talks, spreading silly rumors and gossiping.

Personal Robot 06, Author: Franz Steiner (software: 3ds max)

Human Robots Future
This robot looks like a housekeeper who takes care of everything around. In its duties are household activities and it copes with all the everyday duties without any difficulties in a short time and without procrastinations.

Mecha, Author: tinypants

Human Robots Future
This robot looks like the one that was made either in correspondence to the model of a human being or using the human’s corpus as the basis. A little bit creepy and at the same time intriguing. Anyway, the excellent model and the great work!

I’m Robot,  Author: Widyantara

Human Robots Future
Some time ago, when I was a human being I was dreaming about the perennial youth, the thoughts that were so peculiar for every woman. My dreams turned into life immediately after my death and I have obtained the desired eternity: now I’m a robot.

Personal Robot 07, Author: Franz Steiner (software: 3ds max)

Human Robots Future
When you touch gently the lips of your beloved your heart begins to beat speedily, the mind is hazed with pleasant feelings and you fly away. These minutes can fly not so that you’d notice, but they are so sweet and inimitable.

Personal Robot 05, Author: Franz Steiner (software: 3ds max)

Human Robots Future
Love is a curious thing, one never knows when it happens so that you will be overtaken with this feeling and who will be the matter of your sleepless nights. It can be a bonny girl from the next door, a handsome boy from the night-club or even a cyber creature.

January 2011


February 2011


March 2011

  • March 18 – NASA's Messenger spacecraft is scheduled to arrive in orbit around Mercury.
  • March 18 – NASA's Pluto probe New Horizons will cross the orbit of Uranus, after a five-year journey. This will be faster than Voyager 2, which took eight years.

April 2011


May 2011


June 2011


July 2011


August 2011

  • August 15 – The comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková will pass within 0.0601 astronomical units (about 5,589,300 miles (8,995,100 km)) of Earth.
  • August 15–21 – XXVI World Youth Day will be held in Madrid, Spain.
  • August 31 – Analog television stations in Canada are required to complete the transition to digital.

September 2011


October 2011


November 2011


December 2011

  • December 10 – Total lunar eclipse, visible mainly in Asia, Australia and Alaska.
  • December 31 – All United States troops are scheduled to leave Iraq.

View 20 Tips/Steps on How to Improve ASP.net Application Performance, if you are an ASP.net developer!

If you aren't don't worry, we have similar posts in the works for Ruby, PHP, and other developers out there. If you are an ASP.net developer, listen up!

Get Ready for Massive Gains

As an ASP.net developer, there are certain things you should take into account when you are developing your applications.

Over the last 12 years or so of working with ASP 3.0 Classic and ASP.net, I have learned to avoid and do certain things that can significantly boost and increase your application performance by a massive amount!


ASP.net Application Performance Tuning Tips

ASP.net Application Performance Tuning Tips

Below are my top 20 tips to improving ASP.net application Performance.
  1. Disable Session State if you're not going to use it. By default it's on. You can also disable it across the application in the web.config by setting the <sessionState> mode value to Off. You can actually turn this off for specific pages, instead of for every page:
    <%@Page language="c#" Codebehind="WebForm1.aspx.cs" AutoEventWireup="false" Inherits="WebApplication1.WebForm1" EnableSessionState="false"%>

  2. Output Buffering Take advantage of this great feature. Basically batch all of your work on the server, and then run a Response.Flush method to output the data. This avoids chatty back and forth with the server.
    <%response.buffer=true%> then use: <%response.flush=true%>

  3. Avoid Server-Side Validation Try to avoid server-side validation, use client-side instead. Server-Side will just consume valuable resources on your servers, and cause more chat back and forth.

  4. Repeater Control Good, DataList, DataGrid, and DataView controls Bad Asp.net is a great platform, unfortunately a lot of the controls that were developed are heavy in html, and create not the greatest scalable html from a performance standpoint. ASP.net repeater control is awesome! Use it! You might write more code, but you will thank me in the long run!

  5. Take advantage of HttpResponse.IsClientConnected before performing a large operation:
    if (Response.IsClientConnected)
    {
    //If still connected, redirect to another page.
    Response.Redirect("Page2CS.aspx", false);
    }


  6. Use HTTPServerUtility.Transfer instead of Response.Redirect Redirect's are also very chatty. They should only be used when you are transferring people to another physical web server. For any transfers within your server, use .transfer! You will save a lot of needless HTTP requests.

  7. Always check Page.IsValid when using Validator Controls So you've dropped on some validator controls, and you think your good to go because ASP.net does everything for you! Right? Wrong! All that happens if bad data is received is the IsValid flag is set to false. So make sure you check Page.IsValid before processing your forms!

  8. Deploy with Release Build Make sure you use Release Build mode and not Debug Build when you deploy your site to production. If you think this doesn't matter, think again. By running in debug mode, you are creating PDB's and cranking up the timeout. Deploy Release mode and you will see the speed improvements.

  9. Turn off Tracing Tracing is awesome, however have you remembered to turn it off? If not, make sure you edit your web.config and turn it off! It will add a lot of overhead to your application that is not needed in a production environment.
    <configuration>
    <system.web>
    <trace enabled="false" pageoutput="false">
    <trace enabled="false" localonly="true" pageoutput="false" requestlimit="10" tracemode="SortByTime">
    <compilation debug="false"></compilation>
    </trace></trace>
    </system.web>
    </configuration>


  10. Page.IsPostBack is your friend Make sure you don't execute code needlessly. I don't know how many web developers forget about checking IsPostBack! It seems like such a basic thing to me! Needless processing!

  11. Avoid Exceptions throwing exceptions, and handling useless exceptions. Exceptions are probably one of the heaviest resource hogs and causes of slowdowns you will ever see in web applications, as well as windows applications. Write your code so they don't happen! Don't code by exception!

  12. Caching is Possibly the number one tip! Use Quick Page Caching and the ASP.net Cache API! Lots to learn, its not as simple as you might think. There is a lot of strategy involved here. When do you cache? what do you cache?

  13. Create Per-Request Cache Use HTTPContect.Items to add single page load to create a per-request cache.

  14. StringBuilder.Append is faster than String + String. However in order to use StringBuilder, you must use new StringBuilder() Therefore it is not something you want to use if you don't have large strings. If you are concatenating less than 3 times, then stick with String + String. You can also try String.Concat

  15. Turn Off ViewState if you are not using form postback, by default controls will turn on viewsate and slow your site.
    public ShowOrdersTablePage()
    {
    this.Init += new EventHandler(Page_Init);
    }
    private void Page_Init(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    {
    this.EnableViewState = false;
    }


  16. Use Paging take advantage of paging simplicity in .net. Only show small subsets of data at a time, allowing the page to load faster. Just be careful when you mix in caching. How many times do you hit the page 2, or page 3 button? Hardly ever right! So don't cache all the data in the grid! Think of it this way:How big would the first search result page be for "music" on Google if they cached all the pages from 1 to goggle ;)

  17. Use the AppOffline.htm when updating binaries I hate the generic asp.net error messages! If I never had to see them again I would be so happy. Make sure your users never see them! Use the AppOffline.htm file!

  18. Use ControlState and not ViewState for Controls If you followed the last tip, you are probably freaking out at the though of your controls not working. Simply use Control State. Microsoft has an excellent example of using ControlState here, as I will not be able to get into all the detail in this short article.

  19. Use the Finally Method If you have opened any connections to the database, or files, etc, make sure that you close them at the end! The Finally block is really the best place to do so, as it is the only block of code that will surely execute.

  20. Option Strict and Option Explicit This is an oldy, and not so much a strictly ASP.net tip, but a .net tip in general. Make sure you turn BOTH on. you should never trust .net or any compiler to perform conversions for you. That's just shady programming, and low quality code anyway. If you have never turned both on, go turn them on right now and try and compile. Fix all your errors.

Many stored procedures I have seen, use cursors and temporary tables to fetch an absolute page from the database. While this works quite nicely, there are some disadvantages that developers don't consider.

Whenever a request is made to the database server, it pulls the entire recordset to the memory, which then uses the cursor to only select the group of records requested for the given page.

This does not seem like a problem until you consider what happens when you are working with large databases and multiple concurrent users. If you are only requesting 20 records at a time from a 100,000 record database table, and you have 5 people make the same request, you are now fetching 500,000 records to the memory for only 100 records of output to the client. This can be an enormous problem.

The best-performing method introduced by Microsoft in SQL Server 2005 has made a big leap forward in the sense that it is actually geared towards data paging. In our current stored procedure, we are going to use two new T-SQL functions. ROW_NUMBER is a ranking function allowing you to provide sequential integer values to result rows. OVER specifies the columns that will get a sequential integer value.

As with SQL Server 2000, we are still going to have to select our data into a table variable. But don't worry, any movement of data into a table variable is extremely fast and does not require a lot of memory. Here is the code example:


Declare @Page int, @RecsPerPage int
Declare @FirstRec int, @LastRec int
Declare @TotalRecords int, @TotalPages int

--Set page number and records/page
Select @Page =4, @RecsPerPage =20

--Calculate start and end record number
Delect @FirstRec = (@Page - 1) * @RecsPerPage
Delect @LastRec = (@Page * @RecsPerPage + 1)

--Declare table variable
Declare @TempPat as Table(RowNum Int,iPatId Int,FName Varchar(30),LName Varchar(30))

--Insert records into table variable using ranking functions
Insert Into @TempPat
Select Row_Number() OVER(ORDER BY ipatid DESC) AS RowNum,IpatId,vFName,vLName
From pmptxft
Where vSex='F'
Order By ipatid Desc

--Calculate Total record and Total pages
Select @TotalRecords=Count(*),@TotalPages=Count(*)/@RecsPerPage
From @TempPat

--Select final recordset for the given page number
Select @TotalRecords TotalRecords,@TotalPages TotalPages,*
From @TempPat
Where RowNum > @FirstRec and RowNum < @LastRec

I viewed a demonstration of this technology somewhere in a Television Technology show. It is really interesting. The organization doing research and development on the technology is hopeful to launch it out in a couple of years.

But let first have a look at these pictures and all you get to see is few pens with hidden cams like device in them? But in reality its not that simple case ladies and gentlemen.




You have getting a chance of sneaking into a potential technology that could one day be very important for the future of computing. The light signaling and sensing technology could be a complete replacement of current computer input and output devices like monitor and keywords.

This pen sort of instrument produces both the monitor as well as the keyboard on flat surfaces from where you can just carry out the normal operations you do on your conventional desktop and laptop PCs.





In the revolution of miniature of computers, the scientists are ahead with photonic technology. see the forthcoming computers within our pockets. It seems like Bill Gates was right a couple of years ago when he said: "You haven't seen anything yet."

Google Zeitgeist (2010) - While the IRCTC (railway ticket booking) continues to top the charts of the year-on-year fastest rising bracket, some of the newer interesting entries this year are the low cost smart phone maker Micromax Mobiles and YouTube Videos. As the FIFA World Cup grabbed the real world attention, netizens too showed the excitement catching them online. Amongst the most popular on the web – Songs, Facebook and Google remain the top three. Amongst the fastest rising people, Indians searched for British actress Aruna Shields and this year’s new Bollywood sensation, Sonakshi Sinha. Other favorites from Bollywood were Zarine Khan, Katrina Kaif; and amongst the men, Salman Khan ruled the web.

If Google is to be believed, maximum brand searches in India are on mobile phone companies and telecom operators. The findings are part of Google Zeitgeist 2010, which is based on the aggregation of search queries people typed into Google this year. Micromax is on a rise and its amazing to see that Indians went crazy searching for Micromax mobile, IRCTC and youtube videos through out 2010.

As per the data, seven in ten most popular brands in India, five are mobile handset companies and two are operators. The most popular handset brand is Nokia, followed by Samsung, Micromax, Apple and Sony Ericsson, in that order. The most searched operators include Airtel and Vodafone. This definitely says a lot about our mobile crazy country. No doubt we have 600 million plus mobile consumers!

Nokia had always been the most sought-after mobile phone brand in India as it caters to both high end and low end customer base. But 2008 saw the rise of Micromax, which started giving tough competition to Nokia with its range of low cost feature rich phones. Micromax has also recently joined the Android bandwagon with the launch of its affordable Android-based smartphone called A60. Samsung too has created a buzz in the mobile phone market with its attractive smartphones such as Star, Corby, Galaxy S, Galaxy 5 and now, a tablet - Galaxy Tab. Apple, unlike its popularity in the West, failed to charm Indian customers. Due to the high price of its iPhones and the issue of unavailability without bundling, Apple could not make it so big here. At present, one can buy an iPhone in India only through Airtel or Vodafone stores.

Another interesting trend that we see in Google Zeitgeist 2010 is that among the top ten fastest rising brands on Google search in India two are handset players Micromax and Samsung Mobiles, and free SMS service Way2SMS. Here under is a categorized Google 2010 most searched lists:

Fastest rising

  1. IRCTC login
  2. micromax mobile
  3. youtube videos
  4. fifa
  5. facebook
  6. cricket live score
  7. twitter
  8. way2sms
  9. samsung mobile
  10. zedge

Most popular

  1. songs
  2. facebook
  3. google
  4. youtube
  5. yahoomail
  6. gmail
  7. yahoo
  8. nokia
  9. orkut
  10. irctc

Fastest rising people

  1. Aruna Shields
  2. sonakshi sinha
  3. zarine khan
  4. lalit modi
  5. neha sharma
  6. shakira
  7. katrina kaif
  8. sachin tendulkar
  9. lady gaga
  10. salman khan

Most popular movies

  1. kites
  2. endhiran
  3. dabangg
  4. 3 idiots
  5. harry potter
  6. ravaan
  7. veer
  8. my name is khan
  9. twilight
  10. rajneeti

Most popular brands

  1. Nokia
  2. samsung
  3. airtel
  4. micromax
  5. dell
  6. maruti
  7. vodafone
  8. apple
  9. sony ericsson
  10. HP

Most popular how to

  1. get pregnant
  2. kiss
  3. impress a girl
  4. improve spoken english
  5. reduce weight
  6. gain weight
  7. tie a tie
  8. create a website
  9. make money
  10. meditate
Source: Google

Dial-a-Phone (Dec. 13, 2010) - Google has released Zeitgeist 2010, a report about search trends that shows what topics people were most interested in during the past year.

The information in the report can be organized by general topic as well as by the region where searching was done. Several mobile phone issues made the top of the list, which included major global events like the world’s first face transplant and the European Debt Crisis proving yet again how important mobiles are to us in the world today.

Some of the mobile-relevant information revealed by the Zeitgeist report includes:

  • The iPhone 4 was the most globally searched mobile phone subject in 2010 in the consumer electronics category. However, even more searches were done for the iPad and the U.S. was particularly interested in the iPhone and Apple. In fact, Apple stores were among the top ten searches on Google Maps in the U.S. in 2010. The UK was less interested in the iPhone; it didn’t make any of the UK-specific lists although the iPad was one of the fastest-rising searches.
  • Only a few other mobile phones made it onto the list for global searches. They were the Nokia 5530, the HTC Evo 4G and the Nokia N900.
  • People were highly interested in BlackBerry Apps in 2010. It was the only apps search that made it onto the global search list for consumer electronics.
  • Windows 7 didn’t make it onto the global search list but was among the top ten in terms of Google Product Searches in the United States.
  • "Mobile technology" was the ninth most popular search in the general “in the news” category. The iPhone 4 was sixth in this particular category.
  • People were very interested in using their mobile phones to help humanitarian aid efforts. This is shown by the fact that so many people searched for information on "text to donate".

Source:
- Dial-a-Phone
- Google

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) - A new collaborative paper by economist Richard Easterlin -- namesake of the "Easterlin Paradox" and founder of the field of happiness studies -- offers the broadest range of evidence to date demonstrating that a higher rate of economic growth does not result in a greater increase of happiness.

Across a worldwide sample of 37 countries, rich and poor, ex-Communist and capitalist, Easterlin and his co-authors shows strikingly consistent results: over the long term, a sense of well-being within a country does not go up with income.

In contrast to shorter-term studies that have shown a correlation between income growth and happiness, this paper, to be published the week of Dec. 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the happiness and income relationship in each country for an average of 22 years and at least ten years.

"This article rebuts recent claims that there is a positive long-term relationship between happiness and income, when in fact, the relationship is nil," explained Easterlin, USC University Professor and professor of economics in the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences.

Easterlin and a team of USC researchers spent five years reassessing the Easterlin Paradox, a key economic concept introduced by Easterlin in the seminal 1974 paper, "Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence."

"Simply stated, the happiness-income paradox is this: at a point in time both among and within countries, happiness and income are positively correlated. But, over time, happiness does not increase when a country's income increases," explained Easterlin, whose influence has created an entire subfield of economic inquiry.

With such wide-ranging influence, the Easterlin Paradox unsurprisingly has been the target of critique and revision, which Easterlin addresses in this PNAS paper.

In particular, Easterlin expands on findings from other researchers that show a positive relationship between life satisfaction and GDP, demonstrating instead that they are the short-term effects of economic collapse and recovery, and do not hold up over the long term.

"With incomes rising so rapidly in [certain] countries, it seems extraordinary that no surveys register the marked improvement in subjective well-being that mainstream economists and policy makers worldwide expect to find," Easterlin said.

For examples, Easterlin points to Chile, China and South Korea, three countries in which per capita income has doubled in less than 20 years.

Yet, over that period, both China and Chile showed mild, not statistically significant declines in life satisfaction. South Korea initially showed a mild, not statistically significant increase in the early 1980s. But in four surveys from 1990 to 2005, life satisfaction declined slightly.

"Where does this leave us? If economic growth is not the main route to greater happiness, what is?" Easterlin asks. "We may need to focus policy more directly on urgent personal concerns relating to things such as health and family life, rather than on the mere escalation of material goods."

In 2009, Easterlin was the winner of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics. Easterlin's next book, Happiness, Growth, and the Life Cycle, will be published by Oxford University Press as part of the IZA Prize series.

Laura Angelescu McVey, Malgorzata Switek, Onnicha Sawangfa and Jacqueline Smith Zweig, all former or present graduate students at USC, were co-authors on the paper.

Source: ScienceDaily, University of Southern California

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) - UCSF researchers have identified an existing medication that restores key elements of the immune system that, when out of balance, lead to a steady decline in immunity and health as people age.

The team found that extremely low doses of the drug lenalidomide can stimulate the body's immune-cell protein factories, which decrease production during aging, and rebalance the levels of several key cytokines - immune proteins that either attack viruses and bacteria or cause inflammation that leads to an overall decline in health.

The initial study, which was designed to define the dose range of such a therapy in a group of 13 patients, could lead to a daily pill to boost immunity in the elderly, the researchers said. Data will appear in the January issue of the journal Clinical Immunology.

The identification of a drug to reverse the immunological decline in aging, known as immunosenescence, is the culmination of years of research by Edward J. Goetzl, MD, at UCSF and the National Institute on Aging, into how cytokine levels change as people age, how that varies by gender, and which changes dictate whether someone will be healthy into their 90s or begin a downward cycle of decline starting in middle age.

"No one's really talking about longevity and lifespan now, but about 'health span,'" said Goetzl, director of UCSF Allergy and Immunology Research, which focuses on developing new diagnostics and treatments for allergic and immunological diseases.

"If, at age 50, your cytokine levels are the same as they were at 25, you'll probably stay healthy as you age," he said. "But if they're heading downhill, we need to do something about it. If you could take a low-dosage pill with no side effects, wouldn't you do it?"

In 2009, Goetzl had studied a group of 50 elderly adults through the National Institute on Aging, examining their levels of key cytokines - Interleukin (IL)-2, IFN-gamma and IL-17 - and discovered that truly healthy 70-80 year old women had the same levels of those as did healthy 20 year olds.

However, some elderly men and frail women who showed increased levels of inflammatory diseases and weakened defenses against infections tended to have lower levels of the first two cytokines, which are protective, and higher levels of inflammatory cytokines. That imbalance, the researchers found, began in late middle age.

They then set out to find a drug that could raise IL-2 and IFN-gamma and either have no effect on IL-17 or lower it.

"We now had a profile - in humans - that we could take to test tubes to say, 'Does this drug have a desirable effect?'" Goetzl said. "Our job was to find a therapy that not only works, but does so at a dose range with no side effects."

The team focused on three classes of drugs, among them the one that includes lenalidomide - a derivative of thalidomide - which is undergoing a renaissance, Goetzl said.

First introduced in the late 1950s as a sedative, thalidomide was never approved in the United States, but was withdrawn from the world market in 1961 after causing severe birth defects in infants whose mothers took the drug to reduce nausea during pregnancy.

In recent years, however, lenalidomide has been found to be an effective co-therapy for some cancers, particularly multiple myeloma and kidney tumors, as well as leprosy, at doses of 5 mg to 20 mg per day. Those cancers are tied to a drop in IL-2, the main cytokine that Goetzl's team had linked to declines in aging immune systems.

In this study, the team tested the drug in healthy seniors, each of whom were matched in race, gender and national origin to a healthy young adult participant. They found that extremely low levels of lenalidomide - 0.1 μM - optimally stimulated IL-2 production in the young people (21-40 years) roughly sevenfold, but stimulated IL-2 production in patients over age 65 by 120-fold, restoring them to youthful levels for up to five days. At that dosage, the drug also increased IFN-gamma up to six fold in the elderly patients, without suppressing IL-17 generation.

The researchers also found that lenalidomide had many other beneficial effects on the elderly participants' T cells, including better migration throughout the body, more efficient patrolling activity and longer survival after defending the body against an infection.

The team plans to begin larger-scale clinical trials in 2011 to test the drug's effectiveness and hopes for broader availability within a few years.

The research was supported by a grant from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

The first author on the paper is Mei-Chuan Huang, who, along with Goetzl and co-author Janice B. Schwartz, is from the UCSF departments of Microbiology-Immunology and of Medicine. Co-authors are Nigel Greig, Weiming Luo, David Tweedie, Dan Longo, Luigi Ferrucci and William B. Ershler, all from the National Institute on Aging, of the National Institutes of Health, in Baltimore.

Source: ScienceDaily, University of California - San Francisco.

Bluetooth, HiperLan, IEEE 802.11 comparison

Posted byAdnan Malik Dec 15, 2010 0 comments

It is clear that medical devices and medical information management products will benefit from the advantages provided by Bluetooth wireless technology. And although Bluetooth certainly presents new challenges to the medical device industry, the benefits stand to be quite significant in both current and future use models for medical products.

Among other technologies HIPERLAN will offer high data rates and relative high throughput even without any infrastructure in the network. This opens basically new applications to wireless data communications. Compared to the growth in for example the number of Internet nodes, which has risen from virtually nothing in 1986 to over 1.4 Millions in 1993, the potential number of HIPERLAN nodes is even higher. Radio-based LANs are doing to portables what they should be: truly movable.

The Bluetooth standard is becoming more and more of a short time network between devices for a small amount of information. The major difference is the data rates of the different technologies. First Bluetooth runs at a much slower data rate than 802.11. Bluetooth has a maximum capacity of 1 Mbps. This is compared to the, now standard, 802.11b which runs up to 11 Mbps. The first 802.11 standard also only ran at 1 Mbps.

The reason for the different data rates between the technologies lies in the Physical and Data layers. The Physical Layer of Bluetooth has very little transmitter power at the antenna, as opposed to the 'high' output power of an 802.11 Transceiver. The output power of a Bluetooth transmitter is 1 mW, whereas the output power of 802.11 is 1 W. The modulation technique has something to do with the data rate also. Bluetooth using GFSK (Gaussian Frequency Shift Keying) as opposed to CCK (Complementary Code Keying) in 802.11

This also leads to the transmission type. Bluetooth uses what is called Frequency Hopping and 802.11b uses what is called DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum). Frequency hopping could cause delays in the transmission and the only way to prevent this is to slow down the information exchange. Therefore only 1 packet is sent on 1 hop frequency. But, in the case of a larger packet, it could be spread out over a maximum of 5 time slots (or the equivalent of missing 5 hop frequencies). In the DSSS case, the CDMA allows the signal to be spread out over a large frequency range and make all other users look like noise to the destination. This allows for higher data rates and more users.

Another difference is the usage, Bluetooth is being used for device to device data transfer. This allows devices such as PDA's, Notebooks, Cell Phones, Printers and Fax machines to talk to each other, on the fly. This is to avoid time consuming 'access' procedures for a wired network, as well as the cost of wiring the access points for communicating with these devices. This is appealing to the business traveler who needs to set up the printer in the hotel room and print from the Notebook computer. It can be done seamlessly and without any trouble to the user. The devices take care of all the trouble, from security settings and encryption to connecting and disconnecting. The only real trouble to the user is the set up of the printer and Notebook. The use of 802.11 has become more of an access point for a computer to get on a wired backbone. This is the direction that the developers have been taking in the past few years. 802.11 does have the ability to create ad-hoc networks, but that isn't the way many people have decided to use it.
The security of each is different too. Bluetooth uses a combination of 4 LFSR's (Linear Feedback Shift Registers) to encrypt data at the physical layer. Bluetooth also has the very high frequency hoping rate which also aids in keeping data secure. This unfortunately has drawbacks too. The hopping pattern is sent on every packet sent out to a device, so if someone was so inclined, all that would be needed to determine the hopping pattern would be to capture one packet. There is also a key code word that is generated at initialization of the two devices, again helping aid in security. Most of the security is taken care of at the software level for Bluetooth. There is no need for users to setup anything. IEEE 802.11 has access points that act as a hub in a wired network, and thus don't have much security at the physical layer. The problem with this is that the hub sends all packets to every device connected to it in a wired network. The same holds true for a 802.11 access point. The 'hub' sends all packets to every user in the vicinity, and if the data wasn't meant for that computer, it is ignored. This is a big security issue if a malicious user would happen to want to listen to the network. IEEE 802.11 standard has an optional encryption capability. This is implemented by embedding RC4 security algorithm in the data layer. But this brings out another security issue, by storing the 'passwords' on the computers and at the access points. This does encrypt the transmissions though.

The IEEE is a non-profit professional organization founded by a handful of engineers in 1884 for the purpose of consolidating ideas dealing with electro technology. The IEEE plays a significant role in publishing technical works, sponsoring conferences and seminars, accreditation, and standards development. With regard to LANs, the IEEE has produced some very popular and widely used standards. For example, the majority of LANs in the world use network interface cards based on the IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet) and IEEE 802.5 (token ring) standards. IEEE 802.11 is also a standard of IEEE that belongs to wireless communication.

Scope of IEEE 802.11 technologies

Two WLAN standards, 802.11b and 802.11a, were developed by the IEEE’s 802.11 working group. At the MAC layer they both use CSMA/CA protocol. At the physical layer 802.11b uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) radio transmission method and operates in the 2.4GHz ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) band, while 802.11a uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and operates in the 5GHz UNII (Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure) band.

802.11a: Offers data rates of up to 54Mbps due to higher carrier frequency and more sophisticated encoding technology. Some chip makers promise proprietary modes that will deliver up to 72Mbps. It performs performance better in office environment (multipath reflection recovery).

802.11b: Offers data rates of up to 11Mbps. 2.4GHz band is almost universally available but prone to interference from other devices operating in the same band.

Understanding Ad Hoc Mode

Most installed wireless LANs today utilize "infrastructure" mode that requires the use of one or more access points. With this configuration, the access point provides an interface to a distribution system (e.g., Ethernet), which enables wireless users to utilize corporate servers and Internet applications.

As an optional feature, however, the 802.11 standard specifies "ad hoc" mode, which allows the radio network interface card (NIC) to operate in what the standard refers to as an independent basic service set (IBSS) network configuration. With an IBSS, there are no access points. User devices communicate directly with each other in a peer-to-peer manner.

Ad hoc applications provide truly wireless solutions. Ad hoc mode allows users to spontaneously form a wireless LAN. For example, a group of people with 802.11-equipped laptops may gather for a business meeting at their corporate headquarters. In order to share documents such as presentation charts and spreadsheets, they could easily switch their NICs to ad hoc mode to form a small wireless LAN within their meeting room. Another example is when you and your associates are waiting for a flight at the airport, and you need to share a relatively large PDF file. Through ad hoc mode, you can easily transfer the file from one laptop to another. With any of these applications, there's no need to install an access point and run cables.

The ad hoc form of communications is especially useful in public-safety and search-and-rescue applications. Medical teams require fast, effective communications when they rush to a disaster to treat victims. They can't afford the time to run cabling and install networking hardware. The medical team can utilize 802.11 radio NICs in their laptops and PDAs and enable broadband wireless data communications as soon as they arrive on the scene.

Some product vendors are beginning to base their solutions on ad hoc mode. As an example, Mesh Networks offers a wireless broadband network system based on 802.11 ad hoc modes and a patented peer-to-peer routing technology. This results in a wireless mesh topology where mobile devices provide the routing mechanisms in order to extend the range of the system. For example, a user on one side of the building can send a packet destined to another user on the far side of the facility, well beyond the point-to-point range of 802.11, by having the signal hope from client device to client device until it gets to its destination. This can extend the range of the wireless LAN from hundreds of feet to miles, depending on the concentration of wireless users.

QoS for IEEE 802.11

Following are the major QoS issues while using IEEE 802.11 ad-hoc mode, that should be considered:

Cost savings: Without the need to purchase or install access points, you'll save a considerable amount of money when deploying ad hoc wireless LANs. Of course this makes the bean counters happy, but be sure you think about all of the pros and cons before making a final decision on which way to go.
Rapid setup time: Ad hoc mode only requires the installation of radio NICs in the user devices. As a result, the time to setup the wireless LAN is much less than installing an infrastructure wireless LAN. Obviously this time savings only applies if the facility you plan to support wireless LAN connectivity doesn't already have a wireless LAN installed.
Better performance possible: The question of performance with ad hoc mode is certainly debatable. For example, performance can be higher with ad hoc mode because of no need for packets to travel through an access point. This assumes a relatively small number of users, however. If you have lots of users, then you'll likely have better performance by using multiple access points to separate users onto non-overlapping channels to reduce medium access contention and collisions. Also because of a need for sleeping stations to wake up during each beacon interval, performance can be lower with ad hoc mode due to additional packet transmissions if you implement power management.
Limited network access: Because there is no distribution system with ad hoc wireless LANs, users don't have effective access to the Internet and other wired network services. Of course you could setup a PC with a radio NIC and configure the PC with a shared connection to the Internet. This won't satisfy a larger group of users very well, though. As a result, ad hoc is not a good way to go for larger enterprise wireless LANs where there's a strong need to access applications and servers on a wired network.
Difficult network management: Network management becomes a headache with ad hoc networks because of the fluidity of the network topology and lack of a centralized device. Without an access point, network managers can't easily monitor performance, perform security audits, etc. Effective network management with ad hoc wireless LANs requires network management at the user device level, which requires a significant amount of overhead packet transmission over the wireless LAN. This again leans ad hoc mode away from larger, enterprise wireless LAN applications.

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) - European and U.S. physicists this week are offering up the strongest evidence yet that magnetism is the driving force behind unconventional superconductivity. The findings by researchers from Rice University, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (MPI-CPfS) in Dresden, Germany, and other institutions were published online December 13 in Nature Physics.

The findings follow more than three decades of research by the team that discovered unconventional superconductivity in 1979. That breakthrough, which was led by MPI-CPfS Director Frank Steglich, preceded by seven years the more widely publicized discovery of unconventional superconductivity at high temperatures. In the latest study, the team revisited the same heavy-fermion material -- a mix of cerium, copper and silicon -- that was used in 1979, applying new experimental techniques and theoretical knowledge unavailable 30 years ago.

"In 1979, there was not much understanding of quantum criticality or of the collective way that electrons behave at the border of magnetism," said Rice physicist Qimiao Si, the lead theorist and co-author of the new paper. "Today, we know a great deal about such collective behavior in the regime where materials transition to a superconducting state. The question we examined in this study is, How does all of that new knowledge translate into an understanding of the superconducting state itself?"

Magnetism -- the phenomenon that drives compass needles and keeps notes stuck to refrigerators the world over -- arises when the electrons in a material are oriented in a particular way. Every electron is imbued with a property called spin, and electron spins are oriented either up or down. In most materials, the arrangement of electron spins is haphazard, but in everyday refrigerator magnets -- which scientists call ferromagnets -- electron spins are oriented collectively, in the same direction.

Classical superconductors, which were discovered almost a century ago, were the first materials known to conduct electrons without losing energy due to resistance. Electrons typically bump and ricochet from atom to atom as they travel down a wire, and this jostling leads to a loss of energy in the form of electrical resistance. Resistance costs the energy industry billions of dollars per year in lost power, so scientists have been keen to put superconducting wires to widespread use, but it hasn't been easy.

It took physicists almost 50 years to explain classical superconductivity: At extremely low temperatures, electrons pair up and move in unison, thus avoiding the jostling they experience by themselves. These electron twosomes are called Cooper pairs, and physicists began trying to explain how they form in unconventional superconductors as soon as Steglich's findings were published in 1979. Si said theorists studying the question have increasingly been drawn to the collective behavior of electrons, particularly at the border of magnetism -- the critical point where a material changes from one magnetic state to another.

In the new experiments, Steglich, the lead experimentalist co-author, and his group collaborated with physicists at the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, to bombard heavy fermion samples with neutrons. Because neutrons also have spin, those experiments allowed the team to probe the spin states of the electrons in the heavy fermions.

"Our neutron-scattering data provide convincing evidence that the cerium-based heavy fermion compound is located near a quantum critical point," said Oliver Stockert, a study co-author and a neutron-scattering specialist from MPI-CPfS. "Moreover, the data revealed how the magnetic spectrum changes as the material turns into a superconductor."

From the data, Si and co-author Stefan Kirchner, a theorist from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems and a former postdoctoral fellow at Rice, determined the amount of magnetic energy that was saved when the system entered the superconducting state.

"We have calculated that the saved magnetic energy is more than 10 times what is needed for the formation of the Cooper pairs," Kirchner said.

"Why the magnetic exchange in the superconductor yields such a large energy saving is a new and intriguing question," said Si, Rice's Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Physics and Astronomy. He said one possible origin is the electronic phenomenon known as the "Kondo effect," which is involved in a class of unconventional quantum critical points advanced by Si and colleagues in a theoretical paper published in Nature in 2001. Regardless of the final answer, Si said the present study already constitutes a definitive proof that "collective fluctuations of the electrons at the border of magnetism are capable of driving superconductivity."

Si and Steglich found it remarkable that the notion of quantum criticality is providing fresh insights into the workings of the very first unconventional superconductor ever discovered. At the same time, both said more studies are needed to determine the precise way that quantum-critical fluctuations give rise to heavy-fermion superconductivity. And thanks to key differences between the heavy-fermion materials and high-temperature superconductors, additional work must be done to determine whether the same findings apply to both.

"We are certain that we are on the right track with our investigations, however," Steglich said.

The research was facilitated by the International Collaborative Center on Quantum Matter, a collaborative entity formed by Rice, MPI-CPfS, China's Zhejiang University and the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Research support was provided by the German Research Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Welch Foundation.

Source: ScienceDaily, Rice University.

11 Predictions for 2011

Posted byAdnan Malik Dec 14, 2010 0 comments

Every December since 1990, I have published a list of predictions for the New Year. If you've followed my predictions over the years, you know that I have had a lot of hits and some spectacular misses, such as my prediction two years ago that Microsoft would buy RIM and its BlackBerry products. At the time, Microsoft was way behind in the smartphone industry and it was not clear that it had an answer to the Apple iPhone. But to be fair, I clearly stated that this was a wild prediction and not necessarily one that I thought really could happen.

So, here is my list of predictions for 2011:

1. Tablets will have a negative impact on laptop sales

Although I believe laptop computer sales will continue to stay strong, it's becoming clear that Tablets will have a noticeable impact on overall laptop sales in 2011. In fact, various market researchers are now suggesting that it could reduce the total amount of laptop units sold by as much as 10 to 12 percent over the next 1 to 2 years. At the moment, consumers' questions about whether to buy a tablet or laptop will actually hurt sales of laptops in Q4. Many are simply waiting to buy a new laptop until they see what types of new tablets come out in early 2011. I believe this will be evident in the laptop sales numbers for this quarter when they come out early next year. This is both good and bad news for the industry. For Apple, it validates its iPad product and is forcing the rest of the industry to innovate around the tablet platform. But for the traditional laptop vendors, they need to aggressively pursue their own innovative tablets to make up for lost laptop sales. But the good news is that combined they will sell even more mobile digital devices overall. However, 2011 could be a tough year for the traditional PC vendors as they scramble to make this transition in portable computing devices.

2. Skype will be sold again

eBay bought Skype some years ago to try and integrate this telephony service into its overall selling service. It was a nice idea but it didn't work, and the service was spun back out last year. Skype is still a hot property, though, and a serious acquisition target for someone. Rumors say Facebook wants to integrate Skype into its social network, but I don't get the sense that it will buy Skype. I could be wrong, as it might make sense for Facebook, but I believe the perfect acquirer is Cisco. Cisco has made solid moves to get closer to the consumer in the past, and Skype would give them direct access to over 125 million monthly users and 500 million overall user accounts, most of them consumers. If there is any company that could help Cisco move closer to the consumer, it would be Skype.

3. The Cloud will get personal

At the moment, the concept of cloud computing is getting the most attention in the business world, as companies like Salesforce.com, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, etc. are all championing their moves to software as a service. Of course, all of these services are cloud based. But I believe that Apple will take a major position in cloud computing in 2011 and be the company that makes the cloud very personal. How will it do this? I believe that Apple will heavily exploit its new data center in North Carolina early next year by offering a set of services that allow Mobile Me customers to put their entire music, video, and imaging library in the cloud and make it accessible on any device. More importantly, it will deliver a solid synchronizing layer so that when something changes on one device, it changes on all of the other devices in a person's private cloud network once connected to the service. HP might have the slogan "the PC is personal again," but Apple will add its own spin on this to "The cloud is finally personal."

4. Cost per gigabyte of cloud storage will decline

The cost of cloud storage, along with services provided with it runs about $1.25 to $165 per gigabyte of storage a year. Now it's true that there are serious costs to hosting these cloud-based servers that include things like air conditioning, huge power demands, etc., but for cloud-based services to be attractive to consumers, the cost per gigabyte of storage has to be much less. I believe that Apple will prove that consumers are willing to put their music, video, and images in the cloud and will want well over 100 GBs of storage for their stuff. Most likely, that means that there will be increased competition to host this "personal content," which could drive storage prices down 1/3 to as much as 1/2 by the end of 2011.

5. Solid-state storage will go mainstream in laptops

Speaking of reduced storage costs, look for more and more laptops to sport solid-state drives in 2011. Each year, solid-state storage prices have decreased and are finally becoming attractive for use as storage drives in laptops. Apple's MacBook Air has helped popularize this type of storage, and I expect at least 10 ultrathin laptops will come out next year sporting similar solid-state drives. And, they will be priced lower than the MacBook Air. In fact, solid state ultrathins will be one of the hot new laptop form factors next year and become an important part of the portable computing landscape.

6. PC apps will drive new innovations in software

Apple recently announced that it will soon offer apps for the Mac. I suspect that these will actually be apps that are front ends to cloud-based software, but there will clearly be local apps as well. Interestingly, the PC world could respond to this Apple move rather quickly with PC apps of their own. In fact, there are a lot of Web apps already that, if given an app front end and organized properly into an app store, could make Windows-based PCs more useful immediately. Add a solid SDK for Windows applets and this could give the PC crowd a quick response to Apple's Mac App Store in 2011.

7. True Ubiquitous Computing

I know that we have been predicting this for quite a while, but once you've experienced access to the Internet anytime and anywhere, there is no turning back. Most people are already hooked on ubiquitous computing with their smartphones. But smartphones only deliver a limited Internet experience. In 2011, AT&T and Verizon will both offer their newest 4G networks based on LTE, which will enhance users wireless data speeds and will allow for more people to be on the wireless network simultaneously. These new networks should also drive monthly data fees down if all goes well. Its biggest impact will be with tablets, and we expect that at least 50 percent of all tablets sold in 2011 will be 3G and/or 4G enabled. But 2011 will be an important year in wireless data access and more people should be able to afford these services as they become priced more reasonably by Q3 or Q4.

8. Windows Phone 7 will not be used on tablets

It would seem plausible that Microsoft's new mobile OS could be used on tablets in a similar way that Google's Android smartphone OS is being used now on various tablets. But Microsoft has said that it is sticking with Windows as its tablet OS. But it's more likely that it is working on what some have called Windows 8, which is a special version of Windows optimized especially for touch-based tablets. I don't know how it will do this since Windows is such a code-heavy OS and demands more processing power then most current mobile chips can handle, but look for some type of new version of Windows with enhanced touch features made for tablets sometime in late 2011.

9. ARM processors will continue to dominate the mobile market

Expect ARM-based processors from nVidia, Qualcomm, TI, Marvell, and others to continue to dominate the mobile device space for all of 2011. However, Intel is expected to deliver its first true low-voltage Atom chip sometime in 2011 and take serious aim at these ARM competitors. By the end of 2011, Intel could start taking business away from some of these ARM players if its chip really delivers serious processing power at the low-voltage rates needed to drive hand-held mobile devices.

10. Streaming video will still slow down Internet traffic

We all love to stream our movies and TV shows on demand. However, if more and more streaming media is downloaded simultaneously within any given network, it has the potential of really slowing down our Internet speeds. Key networks are already thinking about ways to cap individual's monthly download allotments, so expect this topic to be debated and argued vigorously by network providers and consumers and be one of the hotter topics next year.

11. Debate about open vs. closed Web will heat up

There is real concern in some circles that the Web is actually becoming closed and that a service like Facebook is driving people toward living within a closed Web environment. The pundits point out that sites like Facebook are becoming a central location where people go to not only socialize, but do commerce, play games, communicate, and eventually get all of their information and entertainment without ever leaving the confines of the site. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and even Apple are creating eco-systems where people spend more and more time within these sites, and while people do leave them for broader surfing, they do represent somewhat of a more closed or at least concentrated approach to capturing eyeballs for longer periods of time. This will be another hot subject that spurs heated debate.

Source: Tim Bajarin, PC Magazine (Dec 06, 2010)

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