On November the 14th the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6Plus will be available at the iStore in Ikeja City Mall. Be the first to get your hands on an amazing and authentic Apple iPhone 6 or 6 Plus with the iStore’s pre-order system. The iStore recognizes how much everyone is in need of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and you can pre-order yours at myistore.com.ng
It’s easy to pre-order, and you can choose the model, colour and storage size that you want. When bought you not only get genuine Apple products you also get a one-year warranty, plus you’ll be eligible for the official trade-in offer next year when the next iPhone is launched. With your authentic Apple iPhone, you’ll also get free and expert advice, training and support.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are available in silver, space grey and gold, in different storage sizes 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. The iPhone 6 prices range from N135 500 to N175 000, and the iPhone 6 Plus ranges from N155 000 to N195 000
The assumption that the cosmos is symmetrical over large scales is an elegant one, but how far must evidence deviate from expectations before we rethink it?
“THE great tragedy of science,” as Victorian biologist Thomas Huxley observed, is “the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact”. He was talking about the origins of life, but scientists of all stripes would have agreed – perhaps more today than ever.
The beautiful idea at hand: the universe looks much the same no matter which direction you look in, and no matter where you are. The ugly fact: it doesn’t. Our hope that the universe is symmetrical, or homogeneous, at very large scales just doesn’t seem to be coming true (see “Embrace the lumpiverse: How mess kills dark energy“).
But Keats was a Romantic poet, not a scientist; and beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Few non-mathematicians would find it in Dirac’s equation. And the universe is under no obligation to satisfy anyone’s aesthetic preferences.
So while we shouldn’t belittle this conviction, we shouldn’t be blinded by it, either. In cosmology, for example, simplicity has also been a matter of expediency. Only by assuming homogeneity can we solve the fiendishly complex equations that Einstein used to describe the universe’s evolution.
Some cosmologists suspect this to be an oversimplification that has caused our theories to diverge from observations, with the result that we have had to conjure up spectres such as dark matter and dark energy to bring them back together again. This is still a minority view, but one worth exploring. While it is a radical departure from the cosmological thinking of the past century, it is also in some ways an elegant solution. That’s because the view that the cosmos is not uniform allows us to advance our understanding without invoking ever more entities or jeopardising general relativity – whose own beauty has also gone unslain by ugly fact for a century.
Might other branches of physics be better off if they abandoned aestheticism? The standard model of particle physics, peerlessly precise though its predictions might be, is often criticised for its lack of a unifying scheme: it is a hotchpotch of theories that has proved supremely successful at describinghow the universe’s building blocks behave but not necessarily why they behave the way they do. Numerous attempts have been made to unify and expand it within more elegant schemes. So far, however, nature has been disinclined to reward scientists with hard evidence.
So must we endure a universe that offends our sensibilities? Perhaps for consolation we could look to the founder of the scientific method. “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion,” said Elizabethan philosopher Francis Bacon – a sentiment rather lost in the din of modern science.
p class=”infuse”>A less-ordered universe might be less pleasing to the mind’s eye, and in some cases less tractable. But perhaps it’s time we stopped trying so hard to find the truth through beauty, and instead try a bit harder to find beauty in the truth of ugly facts
Robots sent in to clean up disaster zones like the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan need a strong, secure grip. A robotic hand that can “see” in three dimensions could help.
London-based Shadow Robot is testing its Dexterous Hand with a Kinect depth-sensing camera that would allow it to analyse the 3D shape of any object a mobile robot is focusing on – or which is being held out to it by a human. Software then builds a 3D computer model of the approaching object and works out the arrangement of the four fingers and thumb that will most securely grip the object.
Developed by Shadow Robot and King’s College London with funding from the UK Technology Strategy Board, the technology is being demonstrated at theAutomatica 2014 robotics exhibition in Munich, Germany, this week.
In an exclusive demonstration for New Scientist, it was fascinating to see the visual “thought” processes underway on a screen beside the hand. As an object approached the hand – whether a delicate light bulb, a tough metal drinks flask or a copy of New Scientist (see video) – the software not only scanned its shape but also estimated its position, with a large 3D arrow representing the way up it thought the object was.
“Once it has seen an object, and worked out its orientation with respect to itself, it works out the best way to grasp it,” says Shadow Robot’s head of operations, Gavin Cassidy. “Even when it is holding the object it continually monitors the stability of the grasp using its pressure and touch sensors.”
This means that if a small piece of fruit is offered to it, the system will just use two fingers and a thumb to hold it in a light, almost genteel fashion. But a larger object will get the full four fingers and thumb in a wraparound grasp. Once an object has been identified by the system it can be placed in an archive to speed recognition the next time around, says Mark Addison, a Shadow Robot software developer.
For test purposes, the system uses an external depth-sensing camera close to the hand. But the aim is to build a microchip-sized high resolution depth camera into the hand itself, says Cassidy.
That makes sense, says Tony Belpaeme, a robotics researcher at Plymouth University, UK. He says that similar systems using a depth camera at a distance sometimes can’t get the full picture of the target object. “So your grasp might be right for the part of the object you can see, but wrong for the ‘dark side’ of the object,” he says.
p class=”infuse”>”Having a depth sensor on the hand offers a lot of promise, as the hand could scan the object from all sides and then compute an optimal grasp.”
Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are Australia’s newest billionaires after their business software company Atlassian announced this week it had closed a financing round that valued the company at $3.3 billion. T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer Investment Capital paid $150 million, which amounts to a 4.6% stake in Atlassian.
Farquhar and Cannon-Brookes, both 34, who founded the company twelve years ago, did not sell any shares in the latest round of funding, meaning the estimated 1/3 ownership stake each own in the company is worth about $1.1 billion. The selling shareholders in the deal include current and former employees, as well as Accel Partners, which invested $60 million in the company in 2010 at a valuation of $400 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
What’s driving such a high valuation for the Australian software shop? A unique business model that has fostered rapid growth and a liquid balance sheet — the latter being a distinction many tech companies can’t claim. Atlassian specializes in developing online business software tools like JIRA, a product that helps companies manage the projects and workflow for their development and IT teams. Its services are used by more than 35,000 companies worldwide, including a broad array of heavyweights like BMW, American Airlines, Cisco, Facebook and CitigroupC+0.08%. It boasts positive cash flow and has done so for the past 10 years; its compound annual growth rate for the past five is 40%.
The two founders, both programmers, met while studying at the University of New South Wales in Sydney in the early 2000s. Each did internships prior to graduating and neither came away enamored with the corporate work environment. In 2002, they decided to break out on their own instead. Their first plan — third-party support for a company out of Sweden — was a bust. But the next gambit, crafting software that allows developers to track tasks and bugs in their projects, would eventually become JIRA. Their initial financing method? They opened a $10,000 line of credit on a credit card.
Unlike the model of behemoths like OracleORCL+0.77%, or even contemporaries like WorkdayWDAY+0.25% or Box, Atlassian chose to minimize costs by not investing in sales staff or marketing, focusing instead on research and development. It simply sold their competitively priced products on the website.
“We felt if we could sell something at a reasonable price and sell it on the internet then we’d be able to find a market there. And that’s what worked out,” Farquhar said.
Like many start-ups, early sales were from friends of friends and acquaintances. But the company knew it had broken through when, without solicitation or any human interaction, the credit card information for a purchase from American Airlines came through.
“Then we knew we could scale this,” Farquhar recalls.
It’s been 12 years of rapid growth since, and it now has a $200 million revenue run rate (current revenue levels projected over a whole year). The company has main headquarters in Sydney and San Francisco as well as offices in Amsterdam, Yokohama and Manila. It plans to grow its 800-employee workforce by 30% by June, and its newest outpost will be in Austin, Texas, a city whose funky and quirky ethos meshes nicely with Atlassian’s.
Having a unified vision and culture from day one has helped guide the company’s precipitous growth path.
“From the beginning our goal was to build a long-term company. We want to build a company that will stand the test of time,” says Farquhar. “That’s why we spend a lot of time on company culture.”
Among the cultural mores Atlassian values include “Open Company, No Bullshit” — an emphasis on transparency — as well as a keen preoccupation with never screwing over customers. But perhaps the most important is “Be the Change You Seek,” which Farquhar says is key to building a company that will adapt and thrive 50 years from now.
“The way companies fail is they don’t make changes. People don’t feel empowered to make change,” says Farquhar.
The company has no near-term plans for an initial public offering, a luxury their rapid growth and positive cash flow affords them. But Farquhar says Atlassian will hit the stock exchanges down the road.
“It’s definitely in our future. There are very few companies that stand the test of time that aren’t public.”
BE CAREFUL you don’t catch those Facebook blues. Feelings, like viruses, can spread through online social networks.
A face-to-face encounter with someone who is sad or cheerful can leave us feeling the same way. This emotional contagion has been shown to last anywhere from a few seconds to weeks.
A team of researchers, led by Adam Kramer at Facebook in Menlo Park, California, was curious to see if this phenomenon would occur online. To find out, they manipulated which posts showed up on the news feeds of more than 600,000 Facebook users. For one week, some users saw fewer posts with negative emotional words than usual, while others saw fewer posts with positive ones.
Digital emotions proved somewhat contagious, too. People were more likely to use positive words in Facebook posts if they had been exposed to fewer negative posts throughout the week, and vice versa. The effect was significant, though modest (PNAS, doi.org/tcg).
Ke Xu of Beihang University in Beijing has studied emotional contagion on Chinese social networks. He says Kramer’s work shows that we don’t need to interact in person to influence someone’s feelings.
Software can identify peole based solely on the way they use their mouse and keyboard, and it could let us do away with passwords altogether
AS WE sit hunched over our keyboards, it is hard to believe that the way we peck at the keys and swish the cursor around is unique. But several companies believe this could be used to prove our identity, doing away with one of the most annoying aspects of digital life: passwords.
From e-commerce sites to social media profiles, passwords protect all kinds of sensitive information. But recent security breaches show just how vulnerable the system is. Earlier this year, the Heartbleed bug sent people scurrying to change passwords across a huge swathe of the internet. And in May, eBay announced that over 200 million accounts may have been compromised in a security breach.
This has boosted interest in behavioural biometrics, says Uri Rivner ofBiocatch, a firm based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Behavioural biometrics is based on the idea that individuals subconsciously use their mouse and keyboard in predictable ways – and that these behaviours can reliably identify them. Examples of these actions include how quickly a user selects buttons that pop up on screen, how long they hover over menus, how fast they move the mouse and whether they scroll using the cursor keys, the scroll bar or the mouse wheel. Not all of these need to be used, though.
“We don’t need to find behaviours unique to each person on the planet,” says Neil Costigan, CEO of Behaviosec in Luleå, Sweden. “We just need enough of a spread of behaviours to verify that someone is who they say they are. We look at the behaviour to see if it matches that person’s previous behaviour.”
Plenty of companies are already beginning to implement this technology.Biocatch ran successful trials on the networks of two different banks, which it announced on 17 June had helped it to raise $10 million in venture capital funding. In the US, IBM is starting to deploy the technique in online security software it sells to banks. And Behaviosec has been funded by the Pentagon’s research arm, DARPA, to adapt its desktop behavioural biometrics systems to tablets and smartphones.
IBM’s system monitors behaviour only after a person has logged in using their password. This can prevent a fraudster making transactions, pretending to be an authenticated user who has, for example, gone to make coffee without logging out. When behaviours are detected that are out of character, the software will ask them to log in again with some extra security questions.
Biocatch aims to replace passwords entirely, although at the moment its software is also only used after logging in. The system is more active than IBM’s, presenting people with what it calls subconscious “challenges” that garner distinctive responses. For instance, the software makes the cursor disappear for a few seconds and the type of mouse motion people use to recover it – clockwise, anticlockwise, large arc, small arc – is recorded.
Rivner says that by building a model of how individuals respond to these challenges, and then monitoring actions while banking or shopping online, the software can tell within a few keystrokes if the user is the same person who originally logged in. He says this is well on the way to ridding us of the hassle of passwords, PINs, captchas and other login methods.
p class=”infuse”>Similar advances are on the way with mobile technology. Touch behaviours like finger pressure, swipe speed, angles of swipe, gyroscope and accelerometer readings can all be harnessed to authenticate a user, says Costigan. “The smartphone has an amazing array of inputs for behaviour recognition.”
Nokia has launched Nokia X, the first phone from the company to run on Google’s Android operating system. The phone, priced at Rs 8,599, will be available through online and offline retailers across India starting Monday.
Nokia X was unveiled by Nokia on February 24, during the MWC at Barcelona in Spain, along with Nokia X+ and XL.
Nokia X sports a 4-inch WVGA LCD display (480 X 800p, 233ppi). The dual-sim phone is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512MB RAM. It comes with 4GB internal storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD card.
Nokia X features a 3MP fixed-focus camera and doesn’t sport an LED flash. In terms of connectivity options, the phone offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS. It comes with a 1,500mAh removable battery and the company claims a talk time of 10.5 hours on 3G and standby time of 28 days.
The phone runs a highly customised version of Android (based on Android 4.1.2) that has been stripped of Google services and apps including the Play Store. Nokia X comes with Nokia’s own app store, HERE Drive and Maps for location service, and Nokia MixRadio music service.
Nokia has also bundled Microsoft’s cloud storage service, One Drive with the phone and is offering 10GB of One Drive storage for free, along with one month of free unlimited Skype calls to landlines and mobiles.