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NASA to broadcast live 360-degree video of rocket launch




Washington, April 15: NASA, in coordination with commercial cargo provider Orbital ATK and launch service major United Launch Alliance (ULA), is set to broadcast the worlds first live 360-degree stream of a rocket launch on April 18.

The live 360-degree stream of the cargo resupply mission liftoff to the International Space Station may be viewed on the NASA Television YouTube channel starting 10 minutes prior to lift off, the US space agency said.


The launch is targeted for April 18 during a 30-minute window that opens at 11:11 a.m. EDT.

To view in 360, you need to use a mouse or move a personal device to look up and down, back and forth, for a 360-degree view around Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Not all browsers support viewing 360 videos. YouTube supports playback of 360-degree videos on computers using Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera browsers.

Viewers may use the YouTube app to view the launch on a smartphone.

Those who own virtual reality headsets will be able to look around and experience the view as if they were actually standing on the launch pad, NASA said.

While virtual reality and 360 technology have been increasing in popularity, live 360 technology is a brand new capability that has emerged recently.

Recognising the exciting possibilities opened up by applying this new technology to space flights, NASA, ULA and Orbital ATK seized this opportunity to virtually place the public at the base of the rocket during launch.

The minimum viewing distance is typically miles away from the launch pad, but the live 360 stream enables viewers to get a pads-eye view.



Apple invests $390mn in US-assembled iPhone lasers




San Francisco, Dec 14: Tech giant Apple has  $390 million in optical communication component manufacturer Finisar whose technology has made the iPhone’s Face ID feature viable, as a part of its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund to back innovation and employment opportunities by American manufacturers.

The fund was awarded to increase the production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), which power Apple’s new features such as Portrait mode selfies and Animoji, new agency IANS quoted the company said in a blog.

The 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, that was shut in 2012, is expected to commence shipping its products in the second half of 2018 and its output will make Sherman the VCSEL capital of the US.

Finisar will soon begin hiring 500 highly skilled workers and US based caretaker Bruce Armstrong.

“It will be great to see people come back through the door. This means a lot for the Sherman area,” Armstrong asserted.

Hundred  per cent of the VCSELs sold to Apple from Finisar will be built  in Texas. Consistent with Apple’s commitment to the environment, the company intends to procure enough renewable energy to cover all of its Apple manufacturing in the US, the blog said.

As per Armstrong, this growth with Apple will reach a new beginning and a better future for the city.


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Xiaomi Redmi 5A Review: Great choice for first-time Android users



New Delhi, Dec 14: Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has flooded the Indian smartphone market with devices at overlapping prices but compelling features. Its latest offering, the Redmi 5A, has the price tag and specifications of an entry-level Android smartphone.

Having shipped 9.2 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2017, the company now shares the top spot with South Korean giant Samsung, with a market share of 23.5 per cent, according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Q3 2017.

Marketed as “Desh ka smartphone”, Redmi 5A is essentially a successor to the Rs 5,999 Redmi 4A which was launched in April this year.

According to the company, the big highlight of the device is an “eight-day battery life” (stand-by time).

The device is available at Rs 5,999 for the 2GB RAM and 16GB onboard storage variant, while the 3GB RAM and 32GB internal variant is priced at Rs 6,999.

The company, however, has announced a discount of Rs 1,000 on the first five million units of the 2GB RAM variant, effectively bringing down the price to Rs 4,999. This also makes it the cheapest offering from the Chinese handset maker in the country.

Let’s find out how the phone fares in everyday use.

Redmi 5A looks like an average entry-level phone with a plastic body but the rear has a glossy, metallic finish.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A

The device is impressively lightweight and offers an ergonomic grip. At 8.35-mm thickness this one is not the slimmest one out there, but it fits perfectly in the palm.

The power and volume buttons are housed on the right while the left side has two trays — one for a single nano SIM card and another for a secondary SIM card and a dedicated MicroSD card to expand storage up to 128GB.

The 13MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture and single LED flash took average photographs under well-lit conditions. The autofocus of the primary camera was quite snappy.

In our opinion, the macro-shots fared better than those clicked from a distance.

The five-inch display has vibrant colours despite being a strictly budget phone.

Its competitor Micromax “Bharat 5” comes with a slightly bigger 5.2-inch display but a lower-resolution 5MP primary shooter for Rs 5,555.

The 5MP selfie camera of Redmi 5A is capable of taking average photos. It comes equipped with several built-in filters that should make the selfie-focussed generation happy.

An interesting and useful addition to the phone is an Infrared (IR) emitter on the top that comes handy while controlling household appliances.

A quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset fuels the device which gets the job done with ease without compromising on performance. We did not notice any significant lag in the device’s performance or heating issues while running several apps and browsing videos on the Internet.

What does not work?

The front shooter comes equipped with beautification by default that makes faces look very artificial. The “Pro mode” and “Smart mode”, when turned off, reveal the weakness of the snapper.

We also think the camera app interface could have been better.

The capacitive navigation buttons below the screen are not backlit.

Conclusion: The budget device has a few misses when it comes to camera performance but we should not forget that it is an entry-level phone that tries to balance out the features with the low price point. We would recommend the Redmi 5A to those looking to upgrade from a feature phone to an Android smartphone on a tight budget.

(By Krishna SinhaChaudhury)


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1% most visited websites likely to be hacked every year

One per cent of the really big shops getting owned is terrifying




Unravelling just how vulnerable your details on your favourite websites are, a new study says that out of the top 1000 most visited sites on the Internet, ten are likely to be hacked every year.

“No one is above this – companies or nation states — it’s going to happen; it’s just a question of when,” said the paper’s senior author Alex C. Snoeren, Professor at the University of California San Diego in the US.

One percent might not seem like much. But given that there are over a billion sites on the Internet, this means tens of millions of websites could be breached every year, said Joe DeBlasio, one of Snoeren’s Ph.D. students and the paper’s first author.

“One per cent of the really big shops getting owned is terrifying,” DeBlasio said.

The computer scientists built and successfully tested a tool designed to detect when websites are hacked by monitoring the activity of email accounts associated with them. The team presented the tool at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference in London.

The concept behind the tool, called Tripwire, is relatively simple.

DeBlasio created a bot that registers and creates accounts on a large number of websites — around 2,300 were included in their study.

Each account is associated with a unique email address.

The tool was designed to use the same password for the email account and the website account associated with that email.

Researchers then waited to see if an outside party used the password to access the email account. This would indicate that the website’s account information had been leaked.

The researchers were surprised to find that almost one percent of the websites they tested had suffered a data breach during their 18-month study period, regardless of how big the companies’ reach and audience are.

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