The National Security Agency might be busy collecting your Angry Birds high scores, but our previous notions that the government is collecting all of our phone data may be over-exaggerated, according to the Wall Street Journal. The publication reported this morning that in reality, the agency actually collects less than 20 percent of all call data. So what's going on? There appear to be a few factors that have formed a bit of a roadblock for the NSA's collection efforts: The rapid growth of phone use has made it hard for it to keep pace, and it's also struggled to find ways to remove location data (which is illegal to collect) from phone records; this information contradicts December reports that the NSA collects 5 billion phone location records per day.
Lastly, the NSA's orders to US operators don't cover a vast majority of the cellphone records available, and its collection efforts have also been slowed down due to demands on the agency to respond to criticisms from US courts. If these sources are to be believed, apparently the NSA's collection program isn't as widespread as we originally thought. Of course, this might be one reason why it's resorting to World of Warcraft to get information.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Tizen is a relatively new operating system which will be featured on a wide range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to automotive computer systems, but it's been pretty quiet thus far, only getting into the hands of developers and just a couple of cameras available for general consumers. That's all about to change, as Tizen has sent us an invitation to check out the first set of devices running the OS on February 23rd in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. It doesn't specifically mention that smartphones will be included in this lineup, but it's a pretty safe bet -- especially since the first handset with Tizen was supposed to be coming out at the end of 2013. As always, we'll be on the lookout for more details as they trickle in.
The pure version of Tizen 2.0 is far from finalized, yet there already seems to be an alternative skin designed to sit on top of it. While Intel's chips are currently capable of powering the new open source OS, the chip company is reportedly working on its own overlaid UI, known as Obsidian. Ars Technica got its hands on two videos of it in action, featuring notably flat and square icons compared to the circular ones we've seen in the pure version. There's a consistent bottom strip of three soft keys for calls, messaging and contacts, and a tilt action for icons and contacts when a notification in an app is received. According to Ars, Intel may also bring the aesthetic to Android, surprising as that may sound. You can get a detailed look at its present state at the source link, while we scratch our heads asking "really?" and "why?"
Source: Ars Technica
So you need to grab that hilarious gif from your desktop remotely. No worries, you can tunnel in with, wait, darnit your office PC is switched off and not on the wired network (so not even wake-on-LAN to the rescue). Splashtop's woken up to that scenario, though, and in a collaboration with Intel will be bringing "wake over WiFi" functionality to its popular remote desktop app. Your target PC will need Intel's Smart Connect Technology to make use of the feature, which is coming to Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop for iPad and iPhone first, with Android and other platforms to follow.
During Intel's press conference today, we got a brief glimpse into how Intel's smartphones are fairing globally. The noticeable gap, however, was the US. Answering questions during a Q&A session following the Computex keynote, Tom Kilroy, Executive Vice President of Sales said that there was a major reason why it was lacking US carrier support: LTE.
"Absence of LTE is the reason. We can't get ranged by US carriers without LTE, so once we have multi-mode LTE coming to market later this year, we have an opportunity to compete in that business."
While we've seen Intel add 4G radios to its Atom processors for global-roaming tablets, there's no news yet of the capability launching on its smartphone designs. Last year, Intel ran a Medfield-powered version of Verizon's RAZR M in Europe and Asia, under the RAZR i branding and 3G radios.
The folks at the Georgia Robotics and InTelligent Systems (Grits) Lab at Georgia Tech have been hard at work for some time now researching swarm robots. A portion of said work deals with tasks that require a group of hi-tech gadgets to individually reach a location and a specific time -- much like the mobile landing platform that we saw last year. The group is given a "score" and must determine how many of the Khepera robots are needed to meet the goal, assigning specific roles and determining the shortest route to hitting their targets. One particular demo that we saw involved the swarm bots playing a projected piano of sorts to perform a short snippet of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" -- internal cameras, special "hats" and cameras mounted around the room lend a hand in carrying out the assigned duties.
Musical performance is just one of the projects underway in the GritsLab. A real-world scenario involves the use of swarm robots for convoy cover. Using Parrot AR.Drones alongside the diminutive machines that we saw in action, researchers are looking at ways in which UAVs can be deployed to investigate and eliminate threats to convoys on the ground. This allows for the convoy to take an alternate route if needed while remaining under the watch of at least one UAV. For a look at the aforementioned classically scored action, jump down past the break to take a gander.
Gallery: Piano-playing swarm robots (eyes-on)
Filed under: Robots
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Broadband provider, iBurst, has applied to ICASA to extend its WiMAX allocation to 30MHz of frequency spectrum in the 2.6MHz and 3.5MHz ranges. This allocation will be used to support its plans to increase download speeds and to roll out nomadic WiMAX services.
Nokia has denied that it is developing a handset based on Google's Android operating system.
The response came after reports in the UK that the Finnish phone maker would announce an Android-based smartphone in September at the Nokia World Conference.