Iran: No love lost for Gmail block

Remember our story just last week on how Iran blocked Google as well as Gmail, while lining up the very real possibility of rolling out their very own domestic Internet system? Well, that kind of move certainly did not win people over in Iran, as complaints from the general public have been nothing short of scathing, as Iran has her fair share of highly educated and tech-savvy population who will definitely not fall in love with browsers that were programmed by in-house (or should we say, in-country) programmers? Not only that, there is also the political and economic fallout to consider when closing off access to hugely popular sites like Gmail.

Hussein Garrousi, a member of a parliamentary committee on industry, said, “Some problems have emerged through the blocking of Gmail.” What did he mean by that? Well, a fair number of lawmakers were apparently angry about missing their emails. Even the press are complaining about their email access, and when you anger the press, nothing good usually comes out of that, right?

By Ubergizmo. Related articles: Iran blocks Google, prepares domestic Internet system, Google reportedly testing new log-in page that can manage multiple accounts on Gmail,

iPhone 5 Wi-Fi network data bug fix rolled out

Verizon Wireless logoWe have heard of the newly introduced iPhone 5 experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues in the past, and it seems that not all is hunky dory from that aspect from everyone. Well, there also seems to be a bug which enabled the iPhone 5 (from Verizon Wireless) to actually consume cellular data even though it is connected to a Wi-Fi network. That does not quite make much sense, does it? Yeah, after giving your head a good scratch, this is the skinny on the situation. It seemed that there is a bug on some iPhone 5 handsets on Verizon Wireless’ network that actually consumed precious cellular data while hooked up to a Wi-Fi network, which would translate to the unnecessary depletion of users’ precious data minutes.

Apple has encouraged Verizon users perform the instructions found here in order to install an update that will fix this bug. Hopefully, for good, too. Are you a Verizon Wireless subscriber with a new iPhone 5 who suffered from this bug, and are peeved about it? For those who have applied the update and performed the necessary, how is your iPhone 5 Wi-Fi experience now?

By Ubergizmo. Related articles: Verizon enables cellular FaceTime use regardless of data plan, iPhone 5 prank tells it as it is,

Adobe Acrobat XI announced, boasts of cloud services

Adobe has just announced their Acrobat XI software that comes complete with cloud services, which offers a powerful new solution that includes complete PDF editing and the ability to export to Microsoft PowerPoint; in addition to boasting touch-friendly capabilities on tablets; as well as newly integrated cloud services such as sophisticated Web contracting with Adobe EchoSign and forms creation, data collection and analysis with Adobe FormsCentral.

Not only that, Acrobat XI will also support IT departments with seamless Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration, easy deployment, applications virtualization and robust application security to help provide a low cost of ownership and sound return on investment. Among the products in this particular release include Acrobat XI Pro, Acrobat XI Standard, Adobe Reader XI and newly integrated document services, Adobe FormsCentral and Adobe EchoSign.

Acrobat XI Standard will retail for $299 ($139 upgrade), while Acrobat XI Pro is tipped to cost$449 ($199 upgrade). [Press Release]

By Ubergizmo. Related articles: Adobe Acrobat phishing scam surfaces again, Patch For Adobe Flash Player, Reader And Acrobat Vulnerabilities Coming,

Yantouch Black Diamond 3 Wireless Speaker

Yantouch Black Diamond 3 Wireless Speaker

Yantouch has proudly introduced the new Black Diamond 3 wireless speaker. It is actually a combination of an iOS-compatible Bluetooth speaker and a color-changing lamp. The lamp provides 16 million colors. The Yantouch Black Diamond 3 can be controller via a remote. The wireless speaker draws power from a USB port or a wall power. Too bad, there is no info on pricing or availability so far. [Yantouch]

FreedomPop’s pay-as-you-go data service launches in beta, offering 500MB of free WiMAX per month

FreedomPop's pay-as-you-go data service launches in beta, offering 500MB of free WiMAX per month

It was almost a year ago that we first heard about FreedomPop, a startup built on the manifesto that every American (yes, you) should have access to free wireless broadband. Ten months later, the pay-as-you-go service is launching in beta, with “free” meaning 500MB of data per month. For the time being, the touted 4G service will come courtesy of Clearwire’s WiMAX network, but FreedomPop says it will switch to Sprint’s LTE spectrum sometime in early 2013. In the meantime, though, you can expect speeds anywhere between 4 and 10 Mbps down, and 1 to 2 Mbps up.

To take advantage of the service, you’ll need to either buy or rent some compatible hardware. Your options include the “Freedom Spot” hotspot capable of serving eight devices simultaneously, or the “Freedom Stick,” a USB dongle. Both of these are free, but require that you put down a refundable deposit ($89 for the hotspot and $49 for the stick). As we previously reported, too, the company will be selling $99 iPhone and iPod cases that double as hotspots, though these won’t actually be available for another four to six weeks. The iPhone version, in particular, does triple-duty as a charging case.

If you do venture past that 500MB data cap you’ll pay $10 for every subsequent gigabyte. Packaged deals will also be available. As we had heard, though, FreedomPop is hoping to recoup the costs of that free data by selling premium services, with three to start and more coming later. At launch, these add-ons will include device protection (24/7 customer service and replacement service within 48 hours) and notification alerts if you’re about to hit the data cap. You can also pay for speedier 4G, though the company’s claim of “up to 50 percent faster” performance is a vague one, given that the range of possible speeds is so broad to begin with.

There’s one last piece about how FreedomPop works, and it might help if we drew a comparison to Dropbox, or Zynga, even. As you would in Farmville, you can earn extra Farmville cash free data by following through on certain tasks. Watch a 20-second ad, for instance, and you win three megs of data. Sign up for a Netflix trial and you get 1.2GB added to your coffer. And, similar to Dropbox, if you recommend a friend, you get 10MB for every month that pal stays on with the service. Finally, you can share data with a friend, but it really does have to be a friend: that person’s email address has to be in your contact list.

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HP ElitePad 900 Business Tablet with Windows 8

The new HP ElitePad 900 is an elegant business tablet running Windows 8  that is easy to repair and offers military-grade durability for drops, vibration, dust, temperature extremes and high altitude.
The 1.5 pounds (680 grams) and 9.2 millimeter thick device provides a good visual experience on its 10.1 inch display (1280×800) with 16:10 aspect ratio that features Corning Gorilla Glass 2. It features a good build quality thanks to its CNC-machined aluminum chassis.

Powered by Intel Atom mobile processor, it features a 8 MP rear camera with LED flash, a 1080p front camera with digital dual array microphones, SRS audio, 64 GB of internal storage, 2 GB RAM and a 2-cell (25 Whr) battery.

To offer  enterprise-grade security the ElitePad 900 comes with the following softwares: HP Client Security17: Security Manager, Credential Manager, Password Manager,18 Device Access Manager with Just In Time Authentication, Computrace,13 SpareKey,14 Drive Encryption, HP BIOS Settings.









By Ubergizmo. Related articles: Windows 8 tablets from Acer and Lenovo arriving in the second half of 2012?, ASUS to debut display swiveling ultrabook in 2012?,

Lenovo intros ThinkCentre M78 with AMD A-Series APU and a starting price of $449

Lenovo intros ThinkCentre M78 with AMD ASeries APU and a starting price of $449

There’s never a bad time for computer makers to update any part of their extensive PC lineup, and today marks Lenovo’s turn to introduce a new tower as part of its voluminous M Series. With the addition of this ThinkCentre M78, the Chinese outfit is touting the adoption of AMD’s hot-off-the-press A-Series processors as one of the desktop’s main features, plus there’s also the inclusion of four USB 3.0 ports, the ability to add up to 32GB of DDR3 memory and support for as many as three monitors simultaneously — all of which, according to Lenovo, make for a very “reliable PC with powerful performance, a high level of security and energy efficiency.” Better yet, perhaps, is the ThinkCentre M78’s decent starting price point of 449 bucks, with units expected to start shipping this month from Lenovo’s own website and other third-party retailers.

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HP announces the ElitePad 900, a business-friendly Windows 8 tablet arriving in January

DNP HP announces the ElitePad 900, a businessfriendly slate arriving in January for $699

Remember those hazy days of summer when HP ran an ad during the Olympics, slipped in a a shot of an unannounced tablet and thought we wouldn’t notice? (P’shaw!) Well, you can finally lay your speculation to rest, as HP just formally unveiled the mystery tab, along with a slew of accessories. It’s called the ElitePad 900 and, as rumored, it’s a 10-inch Windows 8 slate meant for business users, with features like pen input, drive encryption and optional 3G / 4G.

Like HP’s high-end EliteBook laptops, the ElitePad has a premium look, marked by a machined aluminum back cover and 400-nit IPS display coated in Gorilla Glass. Also similar to the EliteBooks, it meets the military’s MIL-spec 810G durability requirements, and can withstand three-foot drops, among other accidents. All told, it weighs 1.5 pounds and measures 9.2mm thick. Going by weight, that’s more along the lines of what you’d expect from a larger, 11-inch tablet, but 1.5 pounds is still manageable, especially considering how armored this thing is.

On the inside, it runs an Atom-based Intel Clover Trail processor, buffered by up to 2GB of RAM. Like so many other systems with this kind of chip, it promises about 10 hours of runtime — a clear improvement over similar devices packing Core i5 CPUs. Storage-wise, you’ll have your choice between a 32 or 64GB SSD. The screen has a resolution of 1,280 x 800, making it the one feature likely to disappoint power users. Take a tour around the device and you’ll find an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1080p shooter up front for video chats. Hidden behind a service door on the back are two slots: one for microSD cards, and another for 3G / 4G SIMs.

And how ’bout those accessories? In addition to the tablet, HP will be selling two so-called SmartJackets, cases that do a little more than just shield the device from wear and tear. One of them, for instance, has two USB ports, HDMI output, a full-size memory card slot and room for an optional battery slice. That battery, by the way, has a capacity of about eight hours, so while the case does add some heft it could be worth it if you need a PC that will last through a flight from New York to Tokyo. As for the second case, its defining feature is a built-in keyboard, which plugs directly into the tablet.

Though HP announced the ElitePad 900 today, the tablet won’t go on sale here in the US until January. Hopefully we’ll also get a final price as we get closer to that launch date. Luckily, we’ve already gotten a chance to play with it, so meet us after the break for hands-on photos and a short walk-through video detailing our first impressions.

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Up Close With The Next Big Home Commodity: LED Lighting


Editor’s note: Sal Cangeloso is the editor of and wrote a new book on an odd topic. It’s called LED Lighting: A Primer to Lighting the Future and it focuses on the upcoming explosion in LED manufacturing, offering a basic understanding of the technology and an interesting look at the history of LED lights.

You can buy LED Lighting: A Primer to Lighting the Future here and the first three commenters below get a copy of the book. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of the book discussing the growth of lighting from old-timey incandescents to modern LED technology.

The incandescent bulb is a good place to start with any talk about lighting. This design has had tremendous longevity (over 130 years) and it makes for a cheap, versatile bulb. Unfortunately, this design is also power-hungry, inefficient, short-lived (with some exceptions), and fragile. They produce a minimum amount of lumens-per-watt, though they’ve made appreciable gains over the years, and are highly sensitive to power conditions. For example, a 5% reduction in voltage could double the life of a bulb while only decreasing light output by 20%.

One of the most notable strengths of the incandescent is the quality of the light it provides. This isn’t as easy to define as some of the other characteristics that will be covered, but it’s an important one when it comes to consumer adoption. After all, it’s nice to try to sell people on longevity and power savings, but if they think that the new bulbs are ugly or are too different from what they know, you’ll find them hoarding 75W and 100W incandescents before such bulbs are removed from the shelves.

Quality of light means that in order for people to be comfortable with the light these bulbs provide, the bulbs will need a color temperature that they find to be in an acceptable range, a high degree of color accuracy (usually measured by CRI), and a usable light pattern, to name a few qualities. The bigger point, as any early CFL or LED bulb buyer could tell you, is that if the bulbs don’t produce attractive light that people are comfortable being around, it won’t matter how long they last or how little power they consume.

Incandescents have good qualities, but ultimately their inefficiency means they are not a viable solution moving forward. Even modern incandescents can turn about 90% of the energy they take in into heat, which is obviously wasteful and inefficient in the extreme. Physicists might argue that this isn’t wasteful at all, and you might enjoy the heat they provide, but most of us want to leave the lighting to the lights and the heating to our furnaces. Before we demonize the long-standing bulb design, it’s worth noting that there is such a thing as efficient incandescence. While these are in fact more efficient versions of the incandescent bulb, they are still not at the level of top CFLs and LEDs. In fact, GE was working on a high-efficiency incandescent (HEI) for about 18 months, but gave up on it in order to focus its efforts on LED and organic LED (OLED) bulbs. HEIs were said to produce about 30 lm/W with the ultimate goal of doubling that amount.The halogen lamp is a type of incandescent that operates hotter and lasts longer, but its efficiency gains are minimal.

The much-maligned CFL solves some of the efficiency problems of incandescent bulbs, usually producing around 50 lm/W. Unfortunately, each bulb contains a small amount of mercury (about 4 milligrams per bulb), so disposal can be a problem, especially if the thin, usually helical, glass breaks. The bulbs have reasonably long lives, usually rated for 5,000 to 15,000 hours—but they don’t last nearly that long if they are used in short time spans as rapid cycling is bad for the bulbs. That means a CFL in a bathroom or closet might not last much longer than an incandescent bulb, despite what it says on the package. In fact, a CFL that runs for an average of 15 minutes at a time might last just 40% of its rated lifespan. Alternatively, a CFL that is used continuously from the first time it was turned on might last close to twice its expected lifespan.

CFLs saw a big jump in marketshare in 2007, capturing around23% of the market, but have been in decline over the last year or so, despite the bulbs being widely available, affordable to purchase, and much cheaper to operate than incandescents. Part of this is due to an increasing number of consumers learning about the CFL’s use of mercury, but current economic conditions also indicate that people have simply been looking for a more affordable option. In that respect, incandescents still cannot be beat.

One of the most important characteristics of LED lighting is that they are solid-state. “Solid-state” might be a term we normally associate with computer parts (as in the solid-state drive) but it’s not something the casual LED buyer will ever consider. The concept is quite simple: rather than generating light through burning or gas-discharge, LEDs use semiconductors. The is the most fundamental and important distinction that determines why LED lights have their unique characteristics and will be able to have such an impact on the lighting market. As seen in other industries, semiconductors improve at an exponential rate and have a way of taking over wherever they are used. Lighting should prove to be no different.

Of course, LEDs are just one type of solid-state lighting; there are also organic LEDs (OLEDs) and polymer LEDs (PLEDs). Right now, the LED is the main focus of SSL adoption and its future looks quite promising, thanks to the efficiency gains it brings to the market. OLEDs and their carbon-based semiconductors have potential, but high costs mean they won’t be a viable option as soon as standard LEDs.

The advent of solid-state lighting doesn’t just mean more efficiency. Just as with the introduction of high technology to other parts of our lives—from our phones, to our mail, to our televisions—light is now high-tech. In this case, it’s not the tech that makes the difference, it’s that this latest step means our lights could soon be gadgets. Today’s technology brings with it intelligence and connectivity, which makes way for lights that can be tracked, controlled remotely, and designed to work with other devices. While the humble incandescent was just a conduit for electricity and output both light and heat, a modern-day bulb can be and do much more.

What does this all mean for the LED lamp? Basically, the time is ripe for growth. LED adoption is low at the moment, but not because purchasing one won’t pay off. An LED bulb will pay for itself many times over thanks to its energy savings, but the high initial cost is just too much of a hurdle for many businesses and is unpalatable for even more consumers. As prices drop we’ll see a dramatic growth, just as CFLs grew when it was clear that they could lead to long-term savings and could, in fact, provide acceptable light for our kitchens and living rooms, not just offices.

HP’s ElitePad Is the Awesome-Looking Tablet HP Should Sell to the Masses (But Won’t) [Tablets]

Over the past few months, HP quietly teased a tablet in ads and marketing materials. It had the appearance of something sleek and premium. As it turns out, that tablet was the ElitePad: a 10-inch, aluminum-cased Windows 8 tablet that has all the makings of something desirable. More »