All posts by Arnie

LibreOffice 3.6 Released With New Features

The Document Foundation has announced LibreOffice 3.6, the fourth major release of the free office suite. This release provides a large number of new features and incremental improvement over the previous versions.

Florian Effenberger writes on the official LibreOffice blog, “Innovations range from invisible features such as improved performance and interoperability to the more visible ones such as user interface tweaks, where theming has improved to more closely match current design best-practice.”

LibreOffice 3.6 is available in the unstable branch of openSUSE, other distros will be packing it soon.

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HTC Evo 3D, EVO Design 4G Gets Android 4.0

Sprint has started pushing Android 4.0 OTA upgrade for HTC Evo 3D, EVO Design 4G. This upgrade brings Google Chrome browser, Face Unlock and other features synonym to Android 4.0. Some enhancements include:

- Upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)
- Home screen folders
- Launch Bar for commonly used apps
- Improved Android Browser
- Improved Camera Experience
- Face Unlock
- Resizable widgets
- Add/Remove Panels

The update was pushed on 31st July so you can try to run the ‘update’ option. Sprint will start sending update notification on 7 August. Don’t get disappointed when you try update and you see a message that no update is available as updates are released in stages.

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How To Upgrade To KDE 4.9

KDE 4.9 has been released and it brings some great UI improvements. As we reported earlier, some of the key changes are:

  • Improvements in Dolphin File Manager, Konsole, Activities and KWin Window manager.
  • Enhanced apps like Okular, Kopete, KDE PIM and more.
  • Stability improvements.
  • Improvements in networking and general responsiveness of KDE.

It’s extremely easy if you are running Linux Mint 13 KDE or Kubuntu 12.04 to upgrade to 4.9. All you need to do is add the backport ppa by running the below command and then upgrade your system:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports -y
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

If you are upgrading to KDE 4.9 let us know what has been your experience so far.

Thanks @William Talkington

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Samsung Working On Bigger Tablet With Retina Display

Many Samsung fans always wondered that despite being the world’s #1 display manufacturer and lead supplier of Apple’s retina display why is Samsung now offering the same high resolution display for its phones or tablets. Well, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and S3 do have an extremely high resolution display but tablets are still a different animal. It seems Samsung is working on a high resolution tablet with a bit bigger screen size.

According to the court documents filed in the historic Apple vs Samsung court case, Samsung is planning a 11.8 inch Android tablet with a whopping 2560×1600 (WQXGA) resolution. The court documents show that they tablet was referred as a 2012 product. However we did not see such announcement on the Mobile World Congress. There is no scheduled Samsung events where we may hear about the retina tablet. The biggest opportunity Samsung had for announcing such a product was Olympics, but Samsung used that opportunity to promote S3. A retina tablet might have been a great product to advertise during Olympics — Watch Olympics On eye-beating Display ;-)

However, as The Verge reports there is a Samsung event scheduled for mid-August in New York, where Samsung will be revising its tablet line. Will we hear about the retina tablet at that event?

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Gmail Bids Goodbye To Gtalk

Google has replaced Gmail’s Gtalk feature with Google + Hangouts. Hangouts have many cool features which are missing from the old Gtalk.

With Hangouts you’ll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen. Plus, Hangouts has a bunch of fun effects that you can try out…because any conversation is better when you’re wearing a virtual mustache or pirate hat.

More than features, Hangouts uses a different technology. Fred Brewin, Product Manager, of Gmail team writes, “Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.”
 

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Apple’s Siri Infringes Upon Taiwanese Patents, Sued

Apple has started to taste its own bitter pill. The lawsuit happy company has been sued by a Taiwanese alleging that Apple’s Siri infringes upon its patents. Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University filed the lawsuit in a US district court claiming that Siri infringes upon two voice recognition US patents.

The lawsuit is a response to Apple’s increasing attack on HTC and gettinge their products banned in the US. Chen Xisan, the director of the school’s legal department said in an interview, “We want to help the local industry. We also want to protect Taiwan’s patents from being infringed upon.”

The image that Apple built in the last 3 decades has started to get tainted due to their abusive attitude towards competitors.

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HP’s Chinese Factory Puts Apple To Shame

Earlier this year when reports surfaced about the treacherous working conditions in Apple’s Chinese factories, it left a disgusting taste in everyone’s mouth.

Instead of criticizing Apple for such practices and sympathizing with the workers, a few Apple fans argued that’s the situation of every other assembly line. However, there were no evidence of such conditions in the manufacturing facilities of other companies.

Apple’s case is unique as Apple pushes the manufacturers to create iPads and iPhone within a short span at razor thin margins. Thus the workers are forced to work and live in slaughter house like conditions.

Aleaked video shows the working conditions in HP’s manufacturing facilities in China. This was an unstaged footage recorded by a webcam. One might expect that this webcam would have captured the horrendous working conditions inside HP factories, resembling what we saw inside Apple’s factories.

Nothing sort of that happened. Everyone is sitting quietly, comfortably on his/her chair as the devices are being assembled.

This video is a major PR disaster for Apple which is fast losing respect and brand image in the market — the ongoing #boycottapple protest on social network is an example of the tarnished image.

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Google Releases Factory Images For Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

One of the reasons I love Nexus devices is that Google itself takes care of updates. Another advantage is access to factory images which allows me to go back to ‘as I bought it’ condition.

Google has now released the factory images for Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean. So, if you messed up your system by using custom ROMs you can easily go back to stock Android.

These images not only allows current Jelly Bean users to restore their phones but also allows other users who are still waiting for Jelly Bean on their Nexus devices to upgrade with greater ease.

You can check out the images for your device on this page. Google has, as usual, also published detailed instructions on how to use these images.

Download factory images of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

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Apple Stole iPhone Design From Sony, Patented It And Sued Everyone Else

Ahead of the mega Samsung vs Apple court trial some internal Apple document shows that Apple’s design team took the concept of such a phone from Sony. [Also read: If Apple’s Mac UI Came From Xerox, iPhone Came From Sony?]

According to The Verge, “A recent court filing by Samsung reveals that in 2006 Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to design an iPhone prototype inspired by Sony’s aesthetics after Tony Fadell internally circulated an interview with a designer from the company. An assortment of renders reveal his design, complete with a Sony logo — save for one where the logo has been modified to read “Jony,” presumably in honor of Apple’s Jony Ive.”

Apple/Microsoft Disamring Competitors
It’s also interesting that Apple asked a royalty rate of $24 per unit from Samsung for design patents. When Samsung objected to the price and asked for a lower price something similar to what Samsung charges for it’s standard patents. Apple, as expected, refused and sued Samsung. On the other hand Apple infringes upon Samsung patents for it.

The interesting piece is Apple thinks that Samsung’s ‘technology’ patents which required heavy investment in R&D should not exceed $0.0049 per unit for each infringing patent. So, Samsung should get less than $0.0050 per patent where as Apple should get $24 for a design which it simply stole from Sony.

Same applies for Microsoft. While companies like Samsung and Motorola are expected to ‘release’ there R&D under FRAND tearms so that Microsoft & Apple can get them for cheaper than penny, when it comes to their own technologies they use it to sue the same companies which build the foundation of mobile technologies. Only recently Microsoft got Motorola’s Android banned in Germany based on FAT which should have been available under FRAND terms.

As Groklaw rightly puts it: 

In other words, they want to disarm the companies that got there first, built the standards, and created the field, while the come-later types clean up on patents on things like slide to unlock or a tablet shape with rounded corners.

Then the money flows to Apple and Microsoft, and away from Android — and isn’t that really the point of all this, to destroy Android by hook or by crook? The parties who were in the mobile phone business years before Apple or Microsoft even thought about doing it thus get nothing much for their earlier issued patents that have become standards. Apple and Microsoft can’t compete on an even field, because the patent system rewards the first to invent (or now, after the recent patent reform, the first to file). Neither Apple nor Microsoft got there first. Samsung *was* there, since the ’90s:

That Samsung is able to offer such a wide variety of quality mobile telecommunications devices is no coincidence. Samsung has been researching and developing mobile telecommunications technology since at least as early as 1991 and invented much of the technology for today‘s smartphones.    Indeed, Apple, which sold its first iPhone nearly twenty years after Samsung started developing mobile phone technology, could not have sold a single iPhone without the benefit of Samsung‘s patented technology.    Even as Apple has carried out a coordinated campaign of dragging Samsung‘s name through the mud in this lawsuit and in the media, it has used Samsung‘s patented technology while flatly refusing to pay for its use.

Update: Looking at the comments below there seems to be some confusion that the design of the iPhone was concieved at Apple. Please read this post If Apple’s Mac UI Came From Xerox, iPhone Came From Sony?

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