Sony’s Crazy Plan To Improve Mobile Photos Involves Making Attachable Cameras For Phones

TechCrunch

While Samsung and Nokia (and everyone else really) are locked in a sort of mobile photography war by baking elaborate cameras into new smartphones, Sony is apparently testing a slightly different approach. Rather than cramming a high-end camera into a phone, the folks at SonyAlphaRumors have happened upon a set of photos that depict a pair of Sony “lens cameras” that latch onto your smartphone instead.

This isn’t the first time Sony’s curious camera phone attachments have popped up — they were the subject of another leak earlier this year — but now we’ve got a clearer picture of what these things are actually capable of. At first glance, the hefty things don’t seem too different from some other smartphone accoutrements out there right now, but their looks are deceiving.

See, the attachments don’t actually augment your phone’s built-in camera so much as they replace them entirely. That’s the weird…

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Facebook Acquires “Mobile Technologies”, Developer Of Speech Translation App Jibbigo

TechCrunch

Facebook’s latest acquisition could help it connect users across language barriers. It has just announced that it’s acquired the team and technology of Pittsburgh’s Mobile Technologies, a speech recognition and machine translation startup that developed the app Jibbigo. From voice search to translated News Feed posts, Facebook could to a lot with this technology.

Facebook tells me “We’ll continue to support the [Jibbigo] app for the time being.” Jibbigo launched in 2009, and allows you to select from over 25 languages, record a voice snippet in that language or type in some text, and then get a translation displayed on screen and read aloud to you in a language of your choosing.

This made Jibbigo’s iOS and Android apps useful companions for travelers and international health care workers. Why fumble with a phrase book when you could just bring an app with you? Through purchasable offline translator packs, Jibbigo…

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Windows Azure Adds New Features, Including SQL Server Support General Availability And New Push Features

TechCrunch

Microsoft introduced a laundry list of new features today for Windows Azure, including general availability of SQL Server AlwaysOn support, notification hubs and autoscale improvements.

The new features have some common themes, focusing on systems automation that allows for use cases such as with Bing, which is using Azure notifications to send news updates to its users.

SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability is the high availability and disaster recovery that was originally released with SQL Server 2012. It provides multiple database failover, replicas and configuration failover policies. As part of general availability, Azure now supports “the complete SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups technology stack with Windows Azure Virtual Machines – including enabling support for SQL Server Availability Group Listeners. ”

Also available are replicas for backup to assure global availability and disaster recovery. In that vein, Azure is offering on-premise SQL servers that can now be backed up in Windows Azure…

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As Messaging App WeChat Pushes Past 300M Users, Owner Tencent Sets Up Shop In Singapore To Spin It Off

TechCrunch

Tencent has had listed business entity in Singapore since May, although it’s denied rumors that it intends to list WeChat on the Singapore stock exchange (SGX).

A China Daily report on Tuesday quoted an unnamed source saying that the Hong Kong-listed Chinese social networking giant plans to list its WeChat product in Singapore, and that it had opened an office here to support that.

Update: Tencent’s appointed Singapore PR firm just sent us a note to say: “This market news is not true and we have no idea where this market rumor originates from.”

The company, however did recently open an office here, and appointed its founder, Pony Ma (Ma Huateng), as the director as recently as Aug 1 this year.

Sgentrepreneurs dug out the company’s listing with the regulator, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (Acra), and found that it was registered in May.

tencent singapore ma huateng

A search on Acra’s…

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Spotify Wants To Be Everything To Everyone

TechCrunch

You can get a little music from a lot of places, but Spotify is on a quest to be your omni-jukebox. It’s already offers on-demand streaming and radio, and it’s just launched Browse, a new way to discover critic and community playlists for different moods and genres. Spotify hopes to combine social, algorithms, and expert curation to beat the platforms and become the only music companion you need.

“It’s a really good time to be in music ” Spotify product manager Miles Lennon tells me. “Five years ago people wrote off the ability for music startups to succeed. We’re really happy to be part of a resurgence.”

The only problem is music is becoming a commodity. Every smartphone manufacturer and operating system want to have their own music service, because the iPod proved that music is a fundamental part of the mobile experience. Apple has iTunes, and soon iTunes…

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Device Captures Signatures and Fingerprints With Tiny LEDs

TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

by John Toon, courtesy Georgia Institute of Technology  -Aug. 11, 2013 — Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology want to put your signature up in lights — tiny lights, that is. Using thousands of nanometer-scale wires, the researchers have developed a sensor device that converts mechanical pressure — from a signature or a fingerprint — directly into light signals that can be captured and processed optically.

The sensor device could provide an artificial sense of touch, offering sensitivity comparable to that of the human skin. Beyond collecting signatures and fingerprints, the technique could also be used in biological imaging and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) systems. Ultimately, it could provide a new approach for human-machine interfaces.

“You can write with your pen and the sensor will optically detect what you write at high resolution and with a very fast response rate,” said Zhong Lin Wang, Regents’ professor and Hightower Chair in the School of Materials…

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Easy E-Commerce Cart with Smart Cart JQuery

SmartCart2

Last month, we started an E-Commerce project to one of my partner. We encountered and solved so many problems for the project. One of the most important element for an Easy to Use E-commerce Web application is an easy shopping cart. The first idea on my mind is to build my own Shopping Cart System. With a near deadline and little experience in the system, honestly we failed.

The next week, we decided to search for some JQuery plugin to solve this problem and the easiest plugin to configure is the smart cart plugin. Here is the page, http://techlaboratory.net/smartcart.

The Smart Cart is uses an array variabel to pass the shopping cart list. We can easily add products list from database and easily inserts some products orders to database.  Easy to use and easy to configure display. The E-Commerce Project front office is lot more interactive with this Smart Cart plugin and our back office report is easy to print with FPDF PHP plugin that we have posted before.

For some technical problems when using the Plugin, please comments here. We will help based on our experience when using the plugin.

Scientific Breakthrough Lets SnappyCam App Take 20 Full-Res Photos Per Second

TechCrunch

Your standard iPhone camera app is actually pretty slow, able to take just three to six photos per second at 8 megapixels each. But with SnappyCam 3.0, you can shoot 20 full-resolution photos per second thanks to a breakthrough in discrete cosine transform JPG science by its inventor. Twenty frames per second is fast enough to capture shot-by-shot animations or every gruesome detail of an extreme sports crash.

SnappyCam costs $0.99 and lets you hold down your finger to take a constant stream of photos. You can then pick your favorites from a burst you shot, or view them as a “living photo” slideshow you can scrub back and forth through, kind of like collaborative photo sharing app Everlapse.

John Papandriopoulos has a PhD in electrical engineering and has been building SnappyCam for two years. He calls it the fastest smartphone camera app on Earth. He essentially reinvented…

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Video Site Viki Adds Blake Krikorian And Dave Goldberg As Its Newest Strategic Investors As It Passes 400M Words In Its Crowdsourced Subtitle Catalog

TechCrunch

viki new

Viki, a startup based out of Singapore that is vying to be the “Hulu for the rest of the world” with a combination of premium video supplemented by crowdsourced subtitles, is today announcing two new investors that should play a useful role in achieving that.

Blake Krikorian, founder of Sling Media and now corporate VP at Microsoft overseeing XBox, and Dave Goldberg, CEO of Survey Monkey, are making a strategic investment in the company, already backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and more (it was Marc Andreessen who originally made the intro to Krikorian, while another existing Viki investor, Chamath Palihapitiya of Social + Capital Partnership, was the initial connection to Goldberg), having raised $24.3 million in publicly-disclosed funding.

Razmig Hovaghimian, co-founder and CEO of Viki, says the amount of investment is not being disclosed now, although it will likely be rolled into he the company’s next round…

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Google Launches Google Cast SDK For iOS, Android and Chrome, Lets Developers Stream Their Apps To Chromecast

TechCrunch

Google launched its $35 Chromecast device today that allows users to stream their Chrome tabs and videos to their TVs from virtually every popular platform. In addition, Google is also launching the Google Cast SDK for developers on iOS, Android and Chrome, which will allow them to enable their apps to stream right to their users TVs. The new SDK, which is officially in beta (or “preview,” as Google calls it), will be available later today.

The SDK, Google says, will enable interactions between devices and TV. Developers don’t have to build new apps for this platform, the company stressed, but will be able to build on their existing mobile and web apps.

Diagram

“Our goal is to create an ecosystem of apps and devices,” Google’s Mario Queiroz said in his announcement today. “While the Chromecast device is the first instantiation of Google Cast, we expect the technology to be embedded…

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Meet Helpouts, Google’s Secret Project That Turns Hangouts Into A Commerce Platform

TechCrunch

While its roots lie in search, today, Google wears many hats. From self-driving cars and wearable technology to social networking and mobile operating systems, there are few industries where the search and advertising giant has yet to make its presence felt. Lately, however, Google’s expansion has taken a noticeable tack in a more singular direction: e-commerce.

With the outsized success Amazon and eBay have had building online marketplaces that seek to remove the barriers around buying and selling on the web, it was only a matter of time before Google decided to pull its chair up to the e-commerce table. Today, TechCrunch has learned via a tipster that Google has quietly been pursuing its marketplace ambitions under the auspices of a new platform that leverages its increasingly powerful cloud services to power live, real-time commerce.

The product, which has reportedly been named “Helpouts” and is currently being tested internally in…

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Red Hot Dating App Tinder Officially Arrives On Android, Begins Hooking Up With Big Media

TechCrunch

The Digital Dating World has seen its fair share of companies come and go over the years, and few have been able to give the usual suspects, like eHarmony, Match.com and OkCupid, a run for their respective monies. However, since bursting onto the scene in October of last year, Tinder has been making a play to become the next digital dating giant by focusing on an area where few (if any) of its predecessors have excelled: Your phone.

Drawing on the same addictive formula behind Hot or Not, Tinder allows those in search of a date (or a little casual flirting) to swipe through Facebook-powered profiles of prospective matches, accepting or rejecting based on visual appeal. Sure, it’s a bit superficial, but its game-ified approach to flirting is also more than a little addicting and has taken off among the SnapChat generation, beginning with college campuses.

In fact, since…

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Chrome 29 Beta Brings WebRTC and Web Audio API To Android, Omnibox Improvements, VP9 Support To Desktop

TechCrunch

Google today released the first beta version of Chrome 29 for desktop and Android. Most of the major changes in this update are happening on the Android platform, which now supports the Web Audio API for processing and synthesizing audio and WebRTC, the up-and-coming real-time communication API.

On the desktop (Windows, Mac and Linux), today’s update introduces a tweak to Chrome’s omnibox suggestions, which now take the recency of websites visited into account. The desktop version now also supports Google’s VP9 codec for WebM video playback.

midi_web_audi_apiIt’s worth noting that the Web Audio API will currently only work on ARM devices that support NEON optimizations, a way to execute certain instructions on ARM chips that was introduced in the ARM Cortex-A8 processor. To see the Web Audio API in action, take a look at this demo. It should work on the desktop, where Chrome has long…

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