openSUSE gears up for Google Summer of Code 2014

As the search giant celebrates its 10th anniversary of Google Summer of Code (commonly called as GSoC), openSUSE has announced that it’s part of yet another awesome program. Google Summer of Code is a global program that pays students stipends to write code for open source projects.

Since its inception in 2005, the program is said to have brought together over 7,500 student participants from 97 countries and over 7,000 mentors from over 100 countries worldwide to produce over 50 million lines of code. Google has worked with the open source community to identify and fund exciting projects for the upcoming summer too.

For this year’s Google Summer of Code program, the company said it selected 190 open source projects after reviewing 371 applications.

“It is one of the best ways for organizations such as openSUSE to get some quality work done, and gain long term contributors. In the last edition, we had 10 students complete their projects and gain recognition within the community,” openSUSE said.

This year, openSUSE is collaborating with ownCloud, Zorp(a Gateway technology by Balabit) and the MATE desktop along with a load of awesome projects from openSUSE itself.

If you are a student and want to have fun while participating under openSUSE, check out their ideas page and guidelines. Starting from March 10, student application period continues till March 21, 2014.

Google addresses camera bug in Nexus 5, says fix coming soon

If you are a Nexus 5 owner and have recently updated your handset to the latest Android 4.4.2, you may have been troubled by a software bug involving abnormally high CPU usage and battery drain when using the camera of your device.

The bug is said to be caused by applications running in the background interminably attempting to access the camera app. Skype, in particular, “seems to access the camera regularly from its background service in some way that triggers this bug”, says an update on the Android issue tracker. It adds that the problem does not lie with Skype or other third-party apps.

Google has officially acknowledged the bug on the Google Issue Tracking forum, promising a fix for the battery drain. Users can expect to see the bug fixed in Android 4.4.3–the next maintenance release of Android.

Wondering how to check if your device is affected too? Here’s how. Head on over to Settings > Battery and see if mm-qcamera-daemon shows high battery consumption in Android’s power consumption display.

Since there’s still time for the maintenance release to arrive, you can only reboot your device to handle the battery drain or try uninstalling third-party apps…it could be a good option too.

Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 is now available

Red Hat has announced JBoss BPM Suite 6, which includes the next version of its business rules platform, JBoss BRMS 6. With JBoss BPM Suite 6, the company claims to bring a unique combination of business process management (BPM), business rules management (BRM) and complex event processing (CEP) technologies together in a single product offering.

JBoss BPM Suite is a platform for business process management that includes all the capabilities of JBoss BRMS and adds support for modeling, automation, simulation, and monitoring of business processes.

JBoss BRMS is a platform for business rules management and complex event processing that is used to host an organization’s business rules and to make business decisions based on those rules, as an alternative to coding them directly in applications.

Business rules management is often deployed in conjunction with BPM to provide decision management in the context of business processes, and JBoss BPM Suite 6 incorporates all of the features found in JBoss BRMS 6.

With tooling that makes rule and process definitions visible and understandable, JBoss BPM Suite 6 helps business experts apply their domain knowledge directly to the models. These tools include a drag and drop BPMN2 process modeler, a graphical data modeler, and business activity monitoring (BAM) dashboards and reports, in addition to rule authoring and management tools also included in JBoss BRMS 6.

JBoss BPM Suite combines the runtime rule engine and CEP features from JBoss BRMS with a business process execution server capable of supporting a variety of workload needs. Combining these technologies into a single offering provides efficient integration and a seamless user experience, ultimately allowing organizations to go to market faster with new products and services.

JBoss BPM Suite 6 and JBoss BRMS 6 can be deployed on physical, virtual and cloud environments. Both products can leverage JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6 clustering to meet scalability and high availability deployment needs.

JBoss BPM Suite 6 and JBoss BRMS 6 are compatible with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments, such as OpenShift by Red Hat, and provide the foundation for bpmPaaS as part of Red Hat JBoss xPaaS services for OpenShift.

JBoss BPM Suite 6 and JBoss BRMS 6 are now available globally. A support subscription for the full Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite begins at about $40,000 per year and that for Red Hat BRMS 6 at about $20,00 per year.

Intel reportedly buys smartwatch company, but what will they do with it?

Intel has reportedly expanded its portfolio of wearable devices and sensors with the acquisition of San Francisco-based smartwatch maker Basis Science. The deal is believed to be between $100 and $150 million, according to TechCrunch sources.

Basis Science, the company behind the Basis Health Tracker Watch, was earlier reportedly in talks with Google, Apple and possibly Samsung and Microsoft about a potential sale.

Norwest Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and Intel Capital have invested over $30 million in Basis. The company is said to have secured approx. 7 percent of the wearable fitness tracker market (versus competitor Jawbone’s 21 percent).

At CES 2014, Intel showcased a range of gadgets and wearable devices (reference designs only) ranging from an earpiece called Jarvis which is worn like a Bluetooth headset on the ear to smart earbuds that monitor your heart rate.

If the chip maker has indeed acquired Basis, this is likely to make it easier for Intel to tap in to smartwatches by using the team behind one of the most comprehensive wearables to date with technology already available.

Intel’s rivals have already made an entry into the wearables market with sensors and devices. Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics currently supply the bulk of the sensors for wearables.

With wearables pretty much the hottest thing these days, Samsung and LG have also made their wearable devices available in the market. Google’s long-rumored smartwatch is expected to start shipping soon.

[Source: TechCrunch]

Facebook in talks to buy drone company!

Facebook is in discussions to buy Titan Aerospace for $60 million, a source “with access to information about the deal” told TechCrunch. Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico startup founded by Max Yaney and led by CEO Vern Raburn, makes solar-powered drones that can stay aloft for up to five years at a time.

With this acquisition, Facebook aims to use the high-altitude drones to bring Internet access to around 5 billion people around the world not yet connected. The goal is part of Internet.org, a coalition of mobile tech companies spearheaded by Facebook.

According to the report by TechCrunch, “Facebook is interested in using these high-flying drones to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa. The company would start by building 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the ‘Solara 60’ model.”

The company seems especially interested in the Solara 60, a featherweight aircraft built of composite materials. Thanks to thousands of solar cells blanketing the aircraft, Solara 60 can successfully maintain an altitude of 65,000 feet for years without refuelling.

The SOLARA atmosat platform provides customers around the world with easy access to real-time high-resolution images of the earth, voice and data services, navigation and mapping services, and atmospheric-based monitoring systems, according to the company.

Last year, we heard about hot air ballon-powered Internet access from Google. The search giant has already launched a pilot project in New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect via a solar-powered helium balloon.

Samsung Galaxy S5 makes its Oscars debut

After the recently held Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Samsung’s fifth flagship smartphone steals the limelight yet again. Samsung Galaxy S5 gets a bit of publicity with a 30-second ad segment at the Oscars.

It is worth mentioning here that the Korean manufacturer is a major sponsor of the Academy Awards telecast. Featuring close-up images of the phone, the ad mentioned: “Every year we celebrate the biggest and the brightest, the smartest and most innovative. The 5.1″ full HD Samsung Galaxy S5 with built-in heart rate monitor. The Next Big Thing is Here. April 2014.”

Though it’s a minor evolution of the Galaxy S4, the new phone packs a sharp 5.1-inch screen, a faster, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel camera. Taking cue from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, the smartphone is also waterproof. It features a new fingerprint scanner similar to the iPhone 5S.

The Galaxy S5 will be launched globally on April 11th via all major US carriers.

The company also put up a 90-second video titled “Amazing Things Happen”. It covered everything that the Korean firm offers with a screen, and apparently “You need to see this.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was used to capture a veritable who’s who of Hollywood stars that you see above.
Stepping into the audience, Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres tried to pack in as much star power as possible to take a selfie with her. The resulting photograph (spontaneous of course) including Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Lupita Nyong-o, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was an instant hit.

Interestingly, the star-studded selfie has already racked up more than 1.1 million retweets.

California Court: Checking out mobile maps while driving is acceptable

A court in Fresno, California has ruled that it’s acceptable to use mobile phones while driving as long as they are only employed to get directions via mapping apps. The ruling comes in favor of Steven Spriggs, who appealed a traffic ticket he received from a California Highway Patrol officer two years ago. He was ticketed $165 for using a navigation app on his iPhone 4 while stuck in traffic on a congested highway.

It is worth mentioning here that many states in the US and in the rest of the world have banned the use of mobile phones while driving, especially for texting or chatting.

“Spriggs contends he did not violate the statute because he was not talking on the telephone. We agree,” the court said in its 18-page ruling. “Based on the statute’s language, its legislative history, and subsequent legislative enactments, we conclude that the statute means what it says—it prohibits a driver only from holding a wireless telephone while conversing on it. Consequently, we reverse his conviction.”

“Had the Legislature intended to prohibit drivers from holding the telephone and using it for all purposes, it would not have limited the telephone’s required design and configuration to ‘hands-free listening and talking,’ but would have used broader language, such as ‘hands-free operation’ or ‘hands-free use.’ To interpret section 23123(a) as applying to any use of a wireless telephone renders the ‘listening and talking’ element nonsensical, as not all uses of a wireless telephone involve listening and talking, including looking at a map application,” the opinion stated.

As per another California law passed after Spriggs’ case, texting while driving continues to remain illegal.

Spriggs, 59, told The Associated Press that “he’s no champion of those who think they can get away with cruising down the road while staring at their phone or engaging in other such dangerous behavior. Spriggs would like the law that ensnared him to be rewritten so officers can do their job unencumbered.”

“We’re distracted all the time,” he said. “If our distractions cause us to drive erratically, we should be arrested for driving erratically.”

Now, get a taste of Nokia Store on your Android device

Nokia recently launched its first Android-powered smartphones–dubbed Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL–at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Finnish manufacturer also confirmed that its new devices would have their own Nokia marketplace instead of the Play Store.

Though the Nokia Store isn’t nearly as rich as Google Play, it does offer some exclusive apps such as HERE Maps and Mix Radio.

So if you are an Android user and want a taste of the features the Nokia Store has to offer, there’s a way out. Thanks to XDA-Developers member opseemnik, you can now install the Nokia Store on regular Android devices.

“Some Nokia applications are highly anticipated, with Nokia Maps being right at the very top of the list. While Here Maps hasn’t yet been ported to other devices, one Nokia X app has made its way to other devices,” states the official report.

“The application was ported by XDA Senior Member opssemnik, who did the dirty work, and now Nokia’s app can work without any build.prop modifications. Some applications still can’t be installed due to some permissions and API problems, but this is to be expected because of Nokia’s framework and API changes on the X family,” the report adds.

What you need to ensure is that your Android-powered device can install apps from unknown sources, and then side-load and install the Nokia Store APK.

Besides some stability issues on certain devices, the app does load successfully for the majority of users who have tried it. Head over to the XDA forum to check out the new port.

MWC 2014: Motorola promises stylish smartwatch by year end

As the war over wearables heats up, Motorola reveals plans to launch a smartwatch that “people would actually like to wear” by the end of 2014. During a press session at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Rick Osterloh, the senior VP of product at Motorola Mobility, talked about the company’s plans promising to address two things—style and battery life—with the new device.

Taking a clear swipe at rival tech firms Samsung, Sony and Huawei who also showcased their wearable devices at the event, Osterloh branded their products “ugly”.

“They are all extremely ugly. We are trying to solve the problem of style,” he said.

One of the biggest users’ problems is there are not wearables they can actually wear. Addressing this, Motorola aims to come up with a range of smartwatches that will look “like jewellery”. The goal is to provide users with the hottest items in the burgeoning wearable device market.

Past this, the US mobile phone company didn’t share any other detail about its upcoming smartwatch. But going by the company’s track record with Droid and Razr devices, we can only conjecture that Motorola’s 2014 smartwatch will be supermodel thin and made available in a variety of colours.

Samsung details new Exynos chipsets

After unveiling the much-anticipated Galaxy S5 at the ongoing MWC 2014 in Barcelona, Samsung has announced two new members of its Exynos family — the Exynos 5422 (octa-core) and the Exynos 5 Hexa. The South Korean giant detailed the two CPUs: the new Exynos 5422 is an update to the popular Exynos 5420 eight-core chipset on the Galaxy Note 3. It is said to boost up the clock speeds of the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 cores to 2.1GHz and 1.5GHz, respectively.

Delivering support for running all eight cores at once, the Samsung Exynos 5422 chipset supports both 2,560 x 1,600 displays as well as 4K video recording.

Though there is no official word on this, it is expected to be the processor powering the Exynos-variant of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone.

The company has also announced the Exynos 5260 (aka Exynos 5 Hexa), destined for the Galaxy Note 3 Neo. It packs two 1.7GHz ARM Cortex A15 cores and four 1.3GHz ARM Cortex A7 cores. It can handle WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display resolution and full-HD (1080p) playback at up to 60 frames-per-second (fps).

The South Korean manufacturer further disclosed that the samples of the processor are scheduled for mass production by the end of the first quarter. The Exynos 5260, on the other hand, is currently in mass production so expect to find it in shipping devices relatively soon.