Google, NIELIT Aim to Train 1 Lakh Android Developers in India

Google, NIELIT Aim to Train 1 Lakh Android Developers in India

The government-run IT institute NIELIT, in collaboration with Internet giant Google, will roll out courses to train 1 lakh students for Android application development for less than Rs. 5,000 per head.

“We will provide free of cost all course material for Android app development to NIELIT, which will then train hundred thousand students,” Google South East Asia and India Vice-President Rajan Anandan said in New Delhi while launching a series of IT initiatives with the Ministry of Electronics and IT.

Google India will equip the National Institute trainers with training modules and content. They in turn will do the outreach by leveraging the 10,000 NIELIT (National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology) centres across the country. Additionally, Google India will provide mobile training labs to reach artisan clusters across India.

“The Ministry of Electronics and IT intends to give impetus to the Prime Minister’s recent call for a ‘New India’. Collaboration with Google will be hugely beneficial in harnessing capabilities of technology for the India growth story,” MeitY Secretary Aruna Sundarajan said.

“We will soon send master trainers for training under Google for app development course. NIELIT should be able to roll out this course, maybe with a token amount of less than Rs. 5,000 per student. We are looking at making Indian youth more employable, fees are not a primary concern,” NIELIT DG Ashwini Kumar Sharma said.

Google and NIELIT will also run digital marketing training programme to train over 100,000 artisans per year across India to help them come online and tap into newer markets through improved visibility on Internet.

“Google will provide free of cost support for digital marketing course. NIELIT should be in position to start course for artisans by the end of May. We may charge a token amount for sustainability of the training for less than Rs. 1,500-2,000 per head,” Sharma said.

Google India and MeitY will undertake programme to enhance the government’s online presence, especially on mobile platforms, to enable citizen engagement and training and capacity building programmes on digital tools.

Google, MeitY and the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) will soon launch ‘Digital Payments Security Alliance’ with focus to create awareness on safe and secure practices and capacity building in digital payments.

Elgato Stream Deck Is a Control Centre for Pro-Livestreamers

Elgato Stream Deck Is a Control Centre for Pro-Livestreamers

Live streaming of video games has become big business in recent years, as anyone who frequents Twitch will tell you. The most popular broadcasters have followings in the order of millions, with some even taking it up as a full-time career. That seems to be the target market for Munich-based Elgato, which has announced Stream Deck, a programmable LCD control centre.

The Stream Deck has a total of 15 LCD keys spread across three rows, which can be configured to do a total of 210 actions – be it adjusting audio, welcoming/ thanking subscribers, displaying your Twitter username in the lower-third, or even bringing up memes on screen. It’s meant to liberate you from relying on keyboard shortcuts, and the daunting prospect of memorising dozens.

Of course, Elgato will provide you with companion software, so you can customise the functions available to you, as you please. You can create custom icons to truly personalise the Stream Deck. It will even allow you to create folders, so you can nest some common actions together.

The Stream Deck connects to your machine over USB, has dimensions of 118 x 84 x 21 mm, and weighs 190g. It’s compatible with both Windows 10 (64-bit), and macOS 10.11.

According to the website, it will be available in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain. Currently, it’s up for pre-order in the US at $149.95, in Australia at AUD 199, in New Zealand at NZD 229.99, and Germany at EUR 149.95.

Elgato says the Stream Deck will start shipping by May, though the New Zealand retailer states a late April launch.

Malware turns PCs into eavesdropping devices

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have demonstrated malware that can turn computers into perpetual eavesdropping devices, even without a microphone.

In the new paper, “SPEAKE(a)R: Turn Speakers to Microphones for Fun and Profit,” the researchers explain and demonstrate how most PCs and laptops today are susceptible to this type of attack. Using SPEAKE(a)R, malware that can covertly transform headphones into a pair of microphones, they show how commonly used technology can be exploited.

“The fact that headphones, earphones and speakers are physically built like microphones and that an audio port’s role in the PC can be reprogrammed from output to input creates a vulnerability that can be abused by hackers,” says Prof. Yuval Elovici, director of the BGU Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC) and member of BGU’s Department of Information Systems Engineering.

“This is the reason people like Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg tape up their mic and webcam,” says Mordechai Guri, lead researcher and head of Research and Development at the CSRC. “You might tape the mic, but would be unlikely to tape the headphones or speakers.”

A typical computer chassis contains a number of audio jacks, either in the front panel, rear panel or both. Each jack is used either for input (line-in), or for output (line-out). The audio chipsets in modern motherboards and sound cards include an option for changing the function of an audio port with software -a type of audio port programming referred to as jack retasking or jack remapping.

Malware can stealthily reconfigure the headphone jack from a line-out jack to a microphone jack, making the connected headphones function as a pair of recording microphones and turning the computer into an eavesdropping device. This works even when the computer doesn’t have a connected microphone, as demonstrated in the SPEAKE(a)R video.

The BGU researchers studied several attack scenarios to evaluate the signal quality of simple off-the-shelf headphones. “We demonstrated is possible to acquire intelligible audio through earphones up to several meters away,” said Dr. Yosef Solewicz, an acoustic researcher at the BGU CSRC.

Potential software countermeasures include completely disabling audio hardware, using an HD audio driver to alert users when microphones are being accessed, and developing and enforcing a strict rejacking policy within the industry. Anti-malware and intrusion detection systems could also be developed to monitor and detect unauthorized speaker-to-mic retasking operations and block them.

Toddler robots help solve how children learn

Children learn new words using the same method as robots, according to psychologists.

This suggests that early learning is based not on conscious thought but on an automatic ability to associate objects which enables babies to quickly make sense of their environment.

Dr Katie Twomey from Lancaster University, with Dr Jessica Horst from Sussex University, Dr Anthony Morse and Professor Angelo Cangelosi from Plymouth wanted to find out how young children learn new words for the first time. They programmed a humanoid robot called iCub designed to have similar proportions to a three year old child, using simple software which enabled the robot to hear words through a microphone and see with a camera. They trained it to point at new objects to identify them in order to solve the mystery of how young children learn new words.

Dr Twomey said: “We know that two-year-old children can work out the meaning of a new word based on words they already know. That is, our toddler can work out that the new word “giraffe” refers to a new toy, when they can also see two others, called “duck” and “rabbit.” “

It is thought that toddlers achieve this through a strategy known as “mutual exclusivity” where they use a process of elimination to work out that because the brown toy is called “rabbit,” and the yellow toy is called “duck,” then the orange toy must be “giraffe.”

What the researchers found is that the robot learned in exactly the same way when shown several familiar toys and one brand new toy.

Dr Twomey said: “This new study shows that mutual exclusivity behaviour can be achieved with a very simple “brain” that just learns associations between words and objects. In fact, intelligent as iCub seems, it actually can’t say to itself “I know that the brown toy is a rabbit, and I know that that the yellow toy is a duck, so this new toy must be giraffe,” because its software is too simple.

“This suggests that at least some aspects of early learning are based on an astonishingly powerful association making ability which allows babies and toddlers to rapidly absorb information from the very complicated learning environment.”

Lenovo Z2 Plus launched in India

Lenovo India has started sending invites of the launch of its Z2 Plus smartphone in the country on Thursday. The company is holding a launch event in New Delhi that’s scheduled to begin at 11:30am IST.

The Chinese consumer electronics giant will be launching the Lenovo Zuk Z2 – which was launched in China in May this year – as the Lenovo Z2 Plus in India.

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Detailing the reasons behind the rebranding in the country, Anuj Sharma, Head of Product Marketing, Smartphones, Lenovo MBG India told Gadgets 360, “Once we are getting into a particular price band, we want to make sure consumers know the brand. We want to sell the phone. We are not bringing the device as token flagship as India is still a big market for us. However, Zuk branding will be there on the box, with the text ‘Powered by Zuk’ as a hat tip for the Zuk team.”

The Lenovo Z2 Plus will be launched in two variants in the country – 3GB of RAM with 32GB of inbuilt storage, and 4GB of RAM with 64GB of inbuilt storage. Both variants are dual-SIM, and will support 4G SIM cards in one slot, and 3G SIM cards in the other.

The Z2 Plus won’t run Cyanogen OS – like the Lenovo Zuk Z1 (Review) did – and will instead come with the Google Now Launcher pre-installed. The company says India-specific features will include gesture shortcuts via the fingerprint scanner. It will also bear a dedicated pedometer and come with the company’s new U-Health app.

The Zuk Z2 smartphone launched in China features a 5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display with 2.5D curved high-fibre glass. It is powered by a Snapdragon 820 SoC clocked up to 2.15GHz. The smartphone sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with EIS, an f/2.2 aperture, and PDAF. An 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture round off the optics on board the Zuk Z2. It packs a 3500mAh battery that supports fast charging – charging up to 80 percent in one hour. The Lenovo Zuk Z2’s connectivity options include offers 4G LTE (with support Indian LTE bands), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.1 BLE, and USB 2.0 Type-C port.

No Man’s Sky PR Strategy ‘Wasn’t Great’: Sony Worldwide Studios Boss

Aside from being one of the biggest disappointments of the year, No Man’s Sky was a debacle for fans and the press. Reason being, creator Sean Murray promised a host of features that never quite made it to the final game.

No Man's Sky PR Strategy 'Wasn't Great': Sony Worldwide Studios Boss

For many, No Man’s Sky was nowhere close to what Hello Games founder Sean Murray promised it would be. More so with a massive Reddit post detailing missing features (which was deleted later) albeit archived on other sites such as the aptly named One Man’s Lie.

Despite Sony’s efforts at marketing the game, it couldn’t stop consumers trying to refund it en-masse. Safe to say, the game was a public relations nightmare. And Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida agrees. Speaking to Eurogamer, the President of Sony Worldwide Studios had this to say:

“I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one.

“It wasn’t a great PR strategy, because he didn’t have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer. But he says their plan is to continue to develop No Man’s Sky features and such, and I’m looking forward to continuing to play the game.”

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Spotted on Certification Site; Now Tipped to Launch on September 14

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 has seen its fair share of leaks in last few weeks. After the rendered images of the alleged smartphone were leaked last month, reports now suggest that the smartphone has been certified by Chinese certification authority 3C. This means that the rumoured launch date of September 14 might indeed be true for the Xiaomi smartphone.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Spotted on Certification Site; Now Tipped to Launch on September 14

According to a report by Playful Droid, Xiaomi Mi Note 2 has been officially certified by Chinese 3C authority and now only requires Tenaa certification before it can be officially sold in the country.

Past leaks suggest that Xiaomi Mi Note 2 will sport a dual-edge screen (like Samsung Galaxy Note 7) and a dual camera setup at the back. It is expected to come in an all metal body, and pack a 5.5-inch Oled screen.

The smartphone is expected to come in 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage and 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage bundles and is expected to be powered by a Snapdragon 821 chipset. The phone is also suggest to have a USB Type-C port, 3600mAh battery, two speaker grilles, and a fingerprint sensor at the front.

The 64GB variant of the smartphone is expected to be priced around CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 25,000) and the 128GB variant is expected to be available for retail at around CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 28,000)

iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus Launched

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at a special event in San Francisco. The latest iPhone models comes with a new design, doing away with the antenna lines, and they will be available in two new colours: (matte) black, jet (glossy) black, in addition to gold, silver, and rose gold, seen earlier.

The iPhone 7 starts at $649 (approximately Rs. 43,000) for 32GB variant, doing away with the 16GB variant, while the iPhone 7 Plus start at $769 (Rs. 51,000), with a $100 premium for the next storage variants for both models: 128GB and 256GB. Pre-orders open this Friday and the new iPhone models will ship on September 13 in select countries. No word yet on India launch price and date.

iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus Launched: Price, Launch Date, Specifications, and More

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus also feature a redesigned home button, and pack in dust and water resistance, a first for the iPhone series.

There are camera improvements, with the iPhone 7 also getting optical image stabilisation (OIS). There’s a new 6-element f/1.8 aperture lens with 12-megapixel sensor and quad-LED with True Tone Flash. A new 7-megapixel front camera is included as well. The newest iPhone models come with a new image processing image, which, Apple claims, delivers better, faster pictures.

The iPhone 7 Plus packs in the widely rumoured dual rear camera setup – one 56mm telephoto lens and the other wide-angle lens. The bigger iPhone is also capable of 2X optical zoom, with total zoom up to 10x.

The new iPhone models comes with a 25 percent brighter display with a wider colour gambit and improved colour management. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are powered by a new A10 Fusion 64-bit quad core chip, which is 40 percent faster than the A9, and more power efficient, which means the new models have the “best battery life ever” on an iPhone.

The speakers in iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are stereo – one at the bottom, and one at the top, and twice as loud as their predecessors.

As expected, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus also ditch the headphone jack, which means your existing earphones will not work with the new iPhone models. Apple will use the Lightning port for audio. Each new iPhone model will come with bundled Lightning EarPods, and a Lightning-to-3.5mm audio adapter.

Apple also introduced new AirPods for wireless audio experience, which will not be bundled with the iPhone models. They pair easily with your Apple devices, thanks to the W1 chip inside Apple devices. They are rated to delivery 5 hours of battery life, up to 24 hours with the included charging case that is also used for carrying them around.

LG Electronics says to invest in robot technology

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc said on Sunday it will aggressively invest in robots, seeking to capitalise on advancing artificial intelligence that may eventually lead to sophisticated machines performing everyday human tasks.

LG, in a statement, said its appliances division is preparing the firm’s entry into the robotics industy with the aim to develop products that will work closely with home appliances products such as refrigerators, washers and air conditioning units.

“We will prepare for the future by aggressively investing in smart home, robots and key components and strengthen the home appliances business’s capabilities,” said Jo Seung-jin, head of LG’s appliances business, in the statement.

Advances in fields such as artificial intelligence and wireless communications are allowing for more sophisticated machines that can talk to each other via the internet and perform more complex tasks.

Countries across the world are investing heavily in robotics in hopes to develop a new industry or cope with socioeconomic problems such as low birth rates or an ageing population by introducing machines which can serve humans as cooks, caretakers or labourers.

LG did not elaborate on how much it plans to invest in its push or when it expects to launch robotic products, but the firm said it is exploring a variety of options through the combination of technologies including autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.

Microsoft Makes It Easier for Mac Users to Switch From Evernote to OneNote

After unveiling the OneNote Importer tool for Windows in March, Microsoft has now announced that it is also releasing the same tool for OS X users in an attempt to make the transition smooth and hassle-free.

Microsoft announced its battle with Evernote, perhaps the biggest name in the note-taking services market, by launching the OneNote Importer Tool five months ago. Back then, it was announced just for Windows users, but Microsoft had promised a release for Mac in a few months.

Microsoft Makes It Easier for Mac Users to Switch From Evernote to OneNote

Now that Evernote increased the price of its Premium service to $69.99 per year, similar to Office 365 Personal’s yearly plan, Microsoft likely thinks this is the best time to give more users the option to shift if they so preferred. Microsoft notes that Office 365 subscription offers OneNote, Word, Excel, and all the other Office apps, with an additional 1TB of cloud storage.

The OneNote app offers most of the services of Evernote, including the famous Web clipper for all major browsers. The company is also trying to attract Evernote users with a range of premium note-taking features. OneNote, for instance, offers unlimited monthly uploads. In comparison, Evernote only offers 60MB per month to free users. OneNote users can also save emails in their notes and digitise business cards without spending a dime.

Microsoft reveals that about 71 million Evernote pages have been moved to OneNote since the launch of the OneNote Importer Tool in March. Prior to this importing tool, if you wanted to move from Evernote to OneNote, there weren’t many ways to move your content seamlessly. The OneNote Importer tool also takes care of preserving the tags and right format when moving your notes from Evernote.

Microsoft notes that the tool is supported on Mac computers running on OS X 10.11 and above only. The imported files will sync across devices, software platforms (PC, iOS, and Android), and Web browsers for free. Microsoft warns that before importing, users should ensure that the Evernote app is installed on the Mac and all the files are synced for smooth transition. Users can download the OneNote Importer tool from the company site, and follow the step-by-step instructions listed there for the transition.