Microsoft patents a wearable device that could help Parkinson’s patients

Ever since the Microsoft Band 2 came out back in 2015, old Redmond has mostly been out of the wearable game. That being said, that wearable did pack some truly impressive and ambitious tech, enabling things like maximum volume of oxygen (VO2 max) tracking. Microsoft is clearly no stranger to experimentation when it comes to such gadgets and if a recently acquired patent is to be believed, there could be plenty more in store.

The document in question, simply titled “WEARABLE DEVICE” was filed back in June 2017, but has now been officially published by USPTO. Like every patent request, it is long, broad and vague in most parts, but the gist of it does sound very impressive.

Apparently, at the heart of the device is an array of actuators, potentially mounted in a way that would allow for adjustments in their position. Working together with specialized sensors, their purpose would be to do their best in reducing or stabilizing involuntary movement in an adjacent joint or even entire limb. Below is a relevant excerpt from the document.

If implemented properly, this does sound like a major potential quality of life improvement tool for people suffering from Parkinson’s and many other conditions. Reading further into the text also reveals ambitions of making said device battery efficient enough to allow for a full day of operation on a single charge. Also, there are multiple mentions of communication protocols, like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as companion smartphone apps, so it is pretty clear the device will have some tracking and reporting capabilities. Likely general health features as well. Pretty neat indeed!

We’ll definitely keep and eye out for any further developments and hope that this patent actually turns into a marketable product at some point.


Karan Johar reveals why he cannot be in a relationship

Karan Johar

Karan Johar

Karan Johar has never explicitly revealed his sexual orientation, although thinly-veiled hints have been dropped on several occasions. In a recent interview with an online portal, he was asked if he still intended to “suppress” his sexuality, with people and the law becoming more open.

However, Karan feels that it is “too late” for him to find love. “At 46, I can’t be in a relationship. And I’m not being cynical, I’m being practical. I don’t think I can divide my time between a relationship, and my mom and two kids. Not that one has to be sacrificed for the other, but I want to divide my time only between the relationships I have with my work,” he said.

“Finally, I can say that I’m in a relationship with myself. And when you are in one of those, you don’t have either the space or the time for anyone else,” the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director added.

In his memoir, An Unsuitable Boy, Karan stopped just short of coming out of the closet. “Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. If I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this,” he wrote.

The filmmaker revealed the homophobia and abuse that he is subjected to on social media. “I have become like the poster boy of homosexuality in this country,” he wrote, adding, “Twitter has the most abuse. I wake up to at least 200 hate posts saying, ‘Get out, you’re polluting our nation, you’re dirtying society’ or ‘Shove [IPC Section] 377 up your arse.’ I get this on a daily basis and I’ve learned to laugh it off.”

On the work front, Karan will soon begin work on his upcoming directorial venture, Takht. He has roped in Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Vicky Kaushal, Alia Bhatt, Janhvi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Bhumi Pednekar for the ambitious period drama, which is set against the backdrop of the Mughal empire. Takht is slated to release in 2020.


BlackBerry Ghost might have a large 4,000 mAh battery

Image result for BlackBerry Ghost might have a large 4,000 mAh battery

A recently rumored BlackBerry device has been tipped by leakster Evan Blass to have a hefty 4,000 mAh battery in store. The device in question is the BlackBerry Ghost – a high-end and supposedly bezel-less BlackBerry device to be released exclusively in India. Its existence was first leaked in February and it is slated to be released sometime in the summer.

Batteries this large are almost never found in flagship-level devices – batteries this size are usually seen in mid-tier handsets. Apparently a battery this large would be among the largest in a flagship-class device – which says a lot about flagship devices and priority on battery life.

BlackBerry’s TCL-made devices of the past year and a half have been no stranger to good battery life. The KEYOne had an above average size battery, but BlackBerry’s choice to use a mid-range Snapdragon 625 the KEYOne made it a great battery endurance performer. Even the BlackBerry Motion had a huge 4,000 mAh battery.

It only makes sense for BlackBerry to continue to leverage great battery life as a major selling point of its business-oriented smartphones. We’ll be keeping an eye out for more news about the BlackBerry Ghost.


Mirzapur Offers a Darkly Comedic, Brutal Look at India’s Impoverished Corners

Mirzapur Offers a Darkly Comedic, Brutal Look at India’s Impoverished Corners

Hum banayenge Mirzapur ko Amrika [I will turn Mirzapur into America],” Guddu Pandit (Ali Fazal), a bodybuilder and a newly-minted henchman for the local gang lord, says midway through the first season of Mirzapur, the newest original series from India, out Friday on Amazon Prime Video. Those few choice words don’t encapsulate what it’s about, but they do capture several aspects of the show, including its darkly comedic leanings, a freewheeling use of violence and gore, and the heavily-muddied moral standards of even its central characters. Guddu is one of the male leads in Mirzapur, the kind audiences are generally supposed to be rooting for, and he’s as pro-guns as they come.

Set aside a single crusader who achieves naught, there are no traditional good guys in Mirzapur thanks to a decades-strong mutually-benefiting nexus between crime bosses, politicians, and the police. Those who do not exercise power either benefit directly or indirectly from it, accept it as the way of the land and lead subservient lives, or wish to sit on the throne themselves. And it’s why every character in Mirzapur is various shades of grey, because that’s what is necessary to survive amid the lawlessness and the routine displays of supremacy. That, in turn, contributes in adding various shades of red to the show’s visual palette.

Also seeRefreshing to See a Woman’s Sexuality Acknowledged: Mirzapur Star Rasika Dugal

Making full use of the freedom provided by the streaming space, the creative team — co-creator and director Karan Anshuman (Inside Edge), co-creator and writer Puneet Krishna, writer Vineet Krishna, and directors Gurmmeet Singh and Mihir Desai — ratchet up the violence knob to 11 on the show at times, spanning severed ears and entrails spilling out to a neck being sliced open with a straight razor in the slowest fashion possible. Mirzapur is not a show for you if you’re squeamish, and everyone else might want to avoid eating and watching at the same time. These moments overshadow the implicit violence that is a constant undercurrent, with characters bullying those they perceive under them to get their way.


Google will give you 50% off a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL for Black Friday, if you buy two

Image result for Google will give you 50% off a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL for Black Friday, if you buy twoIt looks like it isn’t fashionable anymore to have Black Friday deals on, well, Black Friday. Instead, companies like T-Mobile are starting deal season one week earlier, and Google is joining in the fun.

From this Friday, November 16, it will offer a Buy One, Get One 50% off on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. So you buy two units but only pay for 1.5. Then from November 22 until November 25, this will change into a $150 price cut for the Pixel 3 and $200 off the Pixel 3 XL. On Cyber Monday, if you buy a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL you’ll receive a free Google Home Hub worth $149, as well as a $50 coupon to spend in the Google Store at a later date.

If you’re not interested in its phones, here’s what Google’s cooked up in terms of deals for its other products. All of these are available from November 22 to November 26: Pixel Buds, Google Home Hub, Home, and Home Max all $50 off, Home Mini $24 off, Home Mini + Chromecast bundle $39 off, Home Mini + Smartlight bundle $24 off, Chromecast Audio and Chromecast Ultra $20 off, Chromecast $10 off, Titan Security Key kit 20% off.

From November 18 and up until November 28 you can save $300 on a Pixelbook, as well as 50% on the Clips camera. From November 21 to November 28, you can save $70 on the Nest thermostat, $30 on the Nest E, $50 on the Nest Hello and Nest Cam Outdoor, $70 on Nest Cam Indoor, and $20 on the Nest Protect.

On Cyber Monday the Daydream View will be $60 off, a My Case for your Pixel will be $20 cheaper, and if you buy two Google Home Max speakers you can save $150. Finally, a bundle consisting of the Home Hub, a Google Home, and a 3-pack of Google Wifi will be $129 less than usual.+


Bozeman Computer Museum gets a boost from surprised visitor

Image result for Bozeman Computer Museum gets a boost from surprised visitor

 The Museum of Computers and Robotics, near the Montana State University campus, is the world’s oldest museum devoted strictly too computers. It’s also one of the few computer-only museums in the world.

Open six days a week with free admission, the museum, run by robotics expert George Keremedjiev, recently got a boost from a well-known Harvard software engineer.

Andromeda Yelton was in Bozeman to speak at the university. She had a couple of hours to kill before catching a flight home, so she took the advice of a local and dropped by the museum.

“I got there and was just blown away,” said Yelton, who says she was pleasantly surprised after she arrived at the hard-to-find location. “It doesn’t really look like a museum from the outside.”

Keremedjiev said that’s not an unusual reaction.

“People come in not knowing generally what to expect,” he said.

“As I kept walking around the museum, my mind kept being blown,” Yelton told MTN News. “There are these rare computing artifacts that are just capturing seminal moments in the history of computation.”

An Apple One computer is being offered at auction right now for big bucks. The Bozeman Computer Museum won’t need to bid. It has one. A gift from Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak.

The only surviving computer that was used to land a U. S. astronaut on the moon is in the museum. Yelton says it’s amazing what was accomplished with the technology available in 1969.

“The phone in your pocket, which is just like orders of magnitude more powerful than the computer that took us to the actual moon,” she said.

Long before the moon landing, the first computers started to come alive in World War II. Then electronic computers were born in the United States. They were room-sized giants that couldn’t compete with a wristwatch these days. You can learn about them all at the museum.

There’s a special room dedicated to women in computing. Yelton posted a selfie of herself in the room, posting: “Yes, I am totally taking a selfie in this particular exhibit.”

There’s also a section devoted to early computer games, including one that dates to the 1930’s. Yelton liked that, too.

“Games are what motivates so many people to learn,” she said.

Nearly every exhibit has three levels of information. A brief explanation, then a more in-depth take on the history of a given item and finally a deep dive into the details.

Keremedjiev said that makes the exhibits unusually user-friendly.

“All of this is understandable and you don’t have to be a geek,” he said.

Some of the rarest items in computer history are at the Bozeman computer museum. But the goal goes far beyond trying to preserve these relics from the past.

“It underscores that computers aren’t just things that descend from on high fully formed, like people built them,” Yelton said. “People had fun soldering these things together in their garages.”

The museum even looks toward the future with a quantum computing section.

Keremedjiev said once that technology is perfected, it “is going to turn computing as we know it on its head.”

Yelton’s tweets and photos from the museum brought the institution some welcome attention and gratification to the programmer who said it had “this sort of surprise twist ending where the museum joins Twitter and now they have lots of followers and it’s super fun and heartwarming.”

She also noted: “The museum says that’s only like six percent of their collection, so honestly they should get a bigger space and then I should spend all day in it.”

Keremedjiev said he’s working on that and hopes to open a bigger and better museum in its own building in Bozeman soon.


What’s the best way to wipe a hard drive and not erase operating system?

An external hard drive plugged into a laptop

reinstall it —or at the very least use a backup CD, if you made one and could still find it.

With Windows 8 and 10, and the evolution of cloud computing, that scenario has upgraded some.

First of all, Microsoft now houses your purchase and installation history within your Microsoft account, which you must create (or sign into) when installing any Microsoft product these days.

So, for example, if you recently installed and/or purchased Windows 10, or any MS Office title, then the activation keys needed for reinstallation of those items would now be kept with your account profile on the cloud, not loosely as before.

Secondly, both Windows 8 and 10 now come with a feature that allows you to “reset” or “reinstall”  Windows on your computer without need of a CD or downloaded file.

“Resetting” the OS replaces your existing version of Windows on the machine with the one that came installed on the system at time of purchase. Unlike a full reinstallation of the OS, which wipes your system entirely clean (see below), this option lets you keep your personal files and any programs that were pre-installed on the computer at time of purchase. Only third-party programs (primarily those installed after your original setup) need to be reinstalled, as do any personalizations made since that first installation.

“Resetting” the computer is usually performed when Windows needs to be refreshed in one way or another. This is most likely the closest option available to what you’re seeking above.

By contrast, “reinstalling” Windows serves the same purpose as the original formatting process discussed above —this wipes everything from the hard drive, including the OS, programs and personal data files, and it leaves your computer in the same state it was in when it was first taken out of the box. This option is done if “resetting” the OS proved unsuccessful or did not help your situation. 

Either way, once completed, you’ll need to log into your Microsoft account to re-register your version of Windows and/or to install any Microsoft-based programs once more. 


Windows Isn’t a Service; It’s an Operating System

“Windows as a Service” is failing. It’s obvious: Windows is not a service, and never was. It’s a desktop operating system, and it doesn’t need updates every six months. Even iOS and Android only get significant updates once per year.

“Updating All These PCs Sure Is Hard!”

Microsoft just put out a blog post about Windows 10’s quality, and it’s very defensive. Microsoft doesn’t explain what happened with the October 2018 Update at all, nor does it promise to change the development process in the future. The only real commitment is to more transparency and improved communication going forward.

To put all the recent bugs into perspective, Microsoft asks that we consider “the sheer scale of the Windows ecosystem”:

With Windows 10 alone we work to deliver quality to over 700 million monthly active Windows 10 devices, over 35 million application titles with greater than 175 million application versions, and 16 million unique hardware/driver combinations.

That’s right—Windows is a very complex beast that has to support a large number of hardware devices and software applications. That’s a reason Microsoft should slow down and stop updating Windows so frequently, not an excuse for constant bugs.

Windows 7 supported a lot of hardware devices and software applications, too. But Windows 7 wasn’t constantly breaking things. Microsoft provided a stable base of software for hardware manufacturers and software developers to work on.

We still agree security updates are important, of course. But Microsoft managed to deliver security updates to Windows 7 and older versions of Windows before “Windows as a Service,” and those security updates rarely caused problems.

RELATED: Windows 10’s October Update Returns, Promises Not to Delete Your Files

No One Asked for Windows as a Service

No PC users asked Microsoft for Windows as a service. It was all Microsoft’s idea.

“Software as a service” is trendy. But these types of services are generally hosted on a remote platform, like Amazon Web Services or even Microsoft Azure. Web applications like Gmail and Facebook are services. That all makes sense—the company maintains the software, and you access it remotely.

An operating system that runs on millions of different hardware configurations is not a service. It can’t be updated as easily, and you’ll run into issues with hardware, drivers, and software when you change things. The upgrade process isn’t instant and transparent—it’s a big download and can take a while to install.

Very little software will break if Google changes something in Gmail. In the worst case scenario, Gmail will go down. On the other hand, millions of applications (or computers!) could break if Microsoft makes a mistake with Windows.