Nasa’s Hubble Telescope Spots Hydrogen Cloud Around Exoplanet

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A team of scientists using Nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen escaping from a warm Neptune-sized exoplanet, thus boosting the the prospect of finding ocean-bearing exoplanets.Such a phenomenon not only helps explain the formation of hot and rocky ‘super-earths’, but also may potentially act as a signal for detecting extrasolar oceans, the study said.

“Escaping gas has been seen in the past for larger gas giant exoplanets, so it was a surprise that looking at a much smaller planet resulted in such a big and stunning comet-like display,” said study co-author David Sing, professor at University of Exeter in Britain.

With a mass approximately 23 times that of our Earth located 33 light years away, the exoplanet GJ436b rotates around its star in only three days and has an atmosphere which leaves behind a gigantic trail of hydrogen.

The scientists were able to see this hydrogen cloud’s shadow when it passes in front of the star.

GJ436b resides very close to its star less than two million miles and whips around it in just 2.6 Earth days. In comparison, the Earth is 93 million miles from our sun and orbits it every 365.24 days.

“This cloud of hydrogen is very spectacular!” said David Ehrenreich of the Observatory of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, lead author of the study. “Although the evaporation rate doesn’t threaten the planet right now, we know that the star, a faint red dwarf, was more active in the past. This means that the planet’s atmosphere evaporated faster during its first billion years of existence. Overall, we estimate that it may have lost up to 10 percent of its atmosphere.”

Steam for Android Update Brings Material Design, Better Chat History, and More

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With Steam being the centrepiece of all things PC gaming, having an app to let you check up on your friends on Steam, buy games, and of course, check out Steam Salesis a big draw. But one of the limiting factors towards the app being as good as its desktop equivalent was that the user interface is quite frankly prehistoric. But this is about to change thanks to a new update.

While the app’s Google Play page in India has not been updated yet, the updated v2.0 app has reached other regions already. According to a change log unearthed by the fine folks at Reddit, Steam is getting a cosmetic over, sporting a design sensibility that is based on Google’s guidelines for how apps should look and interact with, known as Material Design. And this isn’t the all, some of the features this new update promises to bring include better battery and improved chat history.

If you are impatient to try out the new Steam app ahead of its listing in your Google Play region, a signed-apk is available to download and sideload via Android Police. If that doesn’t entice you, here’s an entire cache of screenshots of what to expect.

Changelog:

  • Changing from one screen to another is faster
  • Will not use battery when it is inactive
  • Will not log in unexpectedly
  • If possible, when resumed, the application will return to the screen it was on
  • Startup screen can be set
  • Chat history from other devices is available
  • Chat history for offline friends is available
  • Navigation menu has links to Inventory, Library, going offline for chat and logging out
  • Material design, higher res images, simplified settings, faster on older devices
  • Other fixes

And while the jury is still out on this being pure material design, it’s definitely a step up from what we’re used to from Steam.

New Device Can Help Identify Targets for Cancer Medication

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A new device that can accurately track chemical signals within cells and find out how cancerous growth begins has been invented by biomedical engineers.”The device can identify new targets for cancer medications,” said the team from University of Toronto that developed it.

To look into the responses of different cells, the researchers harnessed the emerging power of digital microfluidics. The technique involves shuttling tiny drops of water around on a series of small electrodes that looks like a miniature checkerboard. The team was able to increase the speed at which chemical changes can be detected by a factor of 100.

“By applying the right sequence of voltages, we can create electric fields that attract and move around droplets containing any chemical solution,” said first study author Alphonsus Ng.

Throughout the human body, certain signalling chemicals known as hormones tell various cells when to grow, divide and proliferate.

However, not all cells respond to these signals in the same manner. In rare instances, the internal chemical response of a cell can cause unregulated cell growth, leading to cancer.

The team made some interesting discoveries when they tested the technique on a type of breast cancer cells.

“Roughly 10 percent of the cells had a very rapid and strong response that we could detect up to five minutes before the rest of the population,” the authors said.

The team speculates that these “rapid responders” may be involved in the early stages of tumour generation, although more research is needed to confirm this.

The team hopes to discover new cell types or proteins that could be targeted by drugs, eventually leading to new medicines to fight cancer.

The paper appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

Windows 10 May Be Sold in USB Flash Drives by Microsoft

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Microsoft is reportedly planning to sell its Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro SKUs in retail stores via USB flash drives.

As per a report by WinFuture, a German website (via Windows Central), Microsoft will sell its Windows 10 Home and Pro SKUs in flash drives in addition to the regular DVD disk sales. It has been added that the USB flash drive version of the OS will allow users to install and license it for only one PC. Both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions will be included in the flash drive version of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. The Redmond-based tech firm is yet to confirm the rumour.

The company also had announced that Windows 10 Home would be available at $119 (Rs. 7,500 approximately) and Windows 10 Pro will be priced at $199 (Rs. 12,600 approximately) for new users. Users with valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 licences are eligible for free upgrades. However, these prices were for the US market and Windows 10 is likely to be priced differently in India and other regions. There’s no official word yet on the India pricing for Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft earlier this week said that Windows 10 Insider Preview users will only retain genuine and activated Windows 10 copies if they opt-in for future pre-release updates on either the Fast or Slow cycle. Users will need to continue updating to the latest preview build, or have the pre-release software licence of their build expire.

If users decide to opt-out of the updates, their builds will no longer be “activated under the terms of the Windows Insider Program”, and they will be eligible for the same free upgrade offer as genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, while new users (including those coming in from Windows XP or Windows Vista) will have the paid upgrade path.

Nokia Networks Showcases New Mobile Broadband Technologies

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Nokia Networks on Thursday showcased some of its new technologies in the mobile broadband segment at an event hosted by the company.According to the Finnish brand, the technologies showcased are aimed at empowering operators, in their journey of evolution, to effectively manage and monetise the surging mobile broadband growth.

Some of the technologies include innovations in Telco Cloud (VoLTE/ VoWiFi), 5G, security solutions and predictive marketing.

The Telco Cloud or VoLTE/ VoWiFi will enable an operator to provide operator-controlled voice over Wi-Fi networks which is especially useful in providing indoor coverage when LTE/ 2G/ 3G is not in place.

Another technology showcased was the Nokia Mobile Guard, which has an analytics engine that “listens” and “analyses” the traffic for mobile broadband and searches for patterns that are consistent with malware behaviour.

With this, operators will be able to ensure an efficient, and clean network with round-the-clock monitoring and automated actions in the advent of fraud by providing protection for all subscribers, independent of device type and irrespective of whether antivirus is installed.

Arno Koch, head of business development, mobile broadband, Nokia Networks and Suresh Kalyanasundaram, senior specialist, technology and innovation research, Nokia Networks were present at the event.

Indian Railways Starts SMS Alert Service for Cancelled Trains

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Indian Railways have begun sending SMS alerts to passengers if the train they have booked tickets for is cancelled.The Ministry of Railways in a statement on Thursday said it had started another passenger-friendly measure on a pilot-basis, under which SMS messages would be sent to passengers if the train in which they have booked their tickets is cancelled.

“We commenced the SMS-based service from June 21 on all India basis. Under this pilot project, the SMS messages are sent to those passengers who are boarding at originating station. At a later stage, this will be extended to cover en-route stations also,a Railway Ministry spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena told IANS.

“The SMS will be sent to the mobile number entered by the passenger in ticket reservation slips. The cancellation information would be sent in advance to the passengers to help them plan alternative arrangement,” he said.

“To avail this facility, passengers have to mention their mobile numbers on the ticket reservation slip,” he said.

Isro last week said it will provide navigational support to Indian Railways through ‘Gagan’ (GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation) system. Gagan is an indigenous navigational guide system developed by Isro on the lines of GPS system of the US.

Earlier this month, IRCTC began offering passengers who fail to get their waitlisted ticket confirmed an option to convert it into an airline ticket at a competitive fare. The Railway PSU has already tied-up with budget carrier GoAir and have sold about 100 tickets through this scheme in the past one month.

Apple to Prevent iPhone App-Scanning With iOS 9

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Apple is said to be focusing on strengthening the user privacy with a change in its advertisement policy for third-party apps, claims a new report. With the change in policy, advertisers will be no longer able to access the data about which apps are installed on your iPhone or iPad.According to Amir Efrati of The Information, Apple until now allowed apps such as Facebook and Twitter to draw details on data of other installed apps on the device to target ads. He gave an example of a user who has installed games including paid ones as well – advertisers may show ads on paid games that are not already installed on the device.

The Cupertino-based giant however seems determined to protect user privacy with its upcoming iOS 9 update, which is set to release this fall. Apple will reportedly prevent app developers from accessing data from other installed apps for ad targeting.

Efrati explains, “As part of its recent privacy push, Apple earlier this month said it would shut down an increasingly popular practice by companies like Twitter to scan people’s iPhones and iPads to see which apps are installed. They used such data, which is akin to Web-browsing history, to target in-app advertisements to individuals.”

Macrumors further point out that advertisers are exploiting an API in iOS called “canopenURL” to access the app download data. However, this is likely to change with iOS 9.

A report on Wednesday tipped another feature of iOS 9 that may allow users to temporarily delete apps to make space for the new software update installation. The feature appeared to be what Apple meant at WWDC when it said it had developed a way to ensure iOS updates would require less free storage.

Spotted in the first developer beta of iOS 9 when users tried to update to second beta that was released recently, the feature warned users they have ‘insufficient space for download’, and then recommends what could be called the intelligent deletion of apps. Once the software update installation is complete, the apps would automatically reinstall with no loss of user data.

Considering that the intelligent app deletion for software updates feature was in beta, there’s no confirmation that the feature would make to the final build available to users later this fall.

Booking.com Alters Contested Rules for Hotels Across Europe

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Online hotel reservation site Booking.com announced Thursday it is revising its contested pricing rules that prohibit European hotels it lists from adjusting their rates on other sites.

The revision will end restrictions preventing hotels listed on Booking.com from offering lower prices elsewhere if they so choose, and from offering a greater volume of rooms available on other online and offline reservation services.

The move comes after competition regulators in several European countries in April sided with hotel owners denouncing the restrictions as unfair.

“Today Booking.com… announced it will amend its parity terms with all accommodations partners in Europe by 1 July 2015 to be consistent with the binding commitments given to the French, Italian and Swedish” regulators, the company said in a statement.

It also said the changes are “in line with its commitment to a new Europe-wide standard to keep competition healthy, driving value for consumers and hoteliers,”

However, Booking.com will continue prohibiting hotels from offering lower room prices on their own web sites than the rates they quote to reservation portals.

The revision aims to resolve the conflict over competition concerns, but not leave Booking.com at risk of being undercut by hotels offering loss-leading rates.

“Under these new conditions, Booking.com can continue to provide a valuable service to consumers that delivers transparency, access to information, choice, value and a seamless experience, and a valuable service to hotels by providing highly cost-effective marketing,” the statement said.

Despite the changes, the revision does not take into account pending legislation in France whose measures include the suppression of all price parity restrictions including those barring hotels from cutting rates on their own site as low as they like.

“If France, which was an instigator of the (revisions) puts into place a legal framework of this type, it will isolate itself, and we’ll move farther away from a European arrangement,” Carlo Olejniczak, Booking.com director for France, Spain and Portugal told AFP.

Dropbox Now Has 400 Million Registered Users

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Dropbox, the popular cloud storage firm, on Wednesday announced it has reached the 400 million registered users milestone since its launch in 2007. The US-based firm however did not mention its monthly active users.

The firm addressing the milestone added that the 400 million users sync 1.2 billion files every day, and create more than 100,000 new shared folders every hour. Dropbox also said users make 4,000 edits every second.

“We’re proud of the role we play in people’s lives around the world. As our community continues to grow, we wanted to reflect on a few of the things we’ve built recently to make Dropbox better for you,” said the blog post.

Dropbox earlier this week updated its Android app, focusing on interface design and the app’s usability. The company among other features, has added a ‘+’ symbol, which lets users click images and directly save it to the folder of their choice. The process would not save the image on the device but would directly bypass it and will be saved in the desired Dropbox folder.

Furthermore, users can now find their files and folders quicker via the new search icon located on the top menu inside the app. Swiping left and right is also possible to navigate easily. Also, features like favoriting, moving, and renaming would stay at the same info section across any folder or file inside the app. Complete details can be seen at the company’s blog post. The firm also updated its app on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 recently, adding some important features in the process.

Uber Slashes Fares Up to 40 Percent Across India

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Uber has slashed taxi fares up to 40 percent across various cities in India that includes Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune. Notably, Kolkata has not seen any price drop yet, but is expected to shortly.The prices are have been dropped on all Uber Products – UberGo, UberX and UberBlack – depending upon the region. The lowest of all prices across cities is now on Jaipur where the UberGo and UberX base fare is Rs. 15 and per kilometre charge is Rs. 7 and Rs. 8 respectively.

“We’re dropping our prices so everyone can now try the full Uber experience. Nothing can beat the fares and the convenience of moving around in an Uber. Press a button and the cheapest ride in town will come to your doorstep,” said company on its blog.

In Ahmedabad, base fare of UberGo and UberX is dropped to Rs. 20 with per kilometre charges of Rs. 7 for both. In Bangalore, Uber operates all three products – UberGo, UberX and UberBlack – with a base fare Rs. 25, Rs. 30 and Rs. 60 along with per kilometre charges of Rs. 7, Rs. 8 and Rs. 13, respectively.

In Chandigarh, UberGo and UberX base fare is Rs. 20 and Rs. 25 with per kilometre charge of Rs. 5 and Rs. 7 respectively, which is cheapest per kilometre charges across India. Uber in Chennai has dropped the UberGo and UberX base fare to Rs. 30, and per kilometre charges to Rs. 8 and Rs. 9 respectively.

In New Delhi, where Uber has had the most tough ride so far, UberGo now has a base fare Rs. 25 and charges of Rs. 7 per kilometre, while the UberX base fare is now Rs. 40 with charges of Rs. 9 per kilometre, and the premium UberBlack now has a base fare of Rs. 60 and charges of Rs. 12 per kilometre.

In Mumbai, Uber now has base fares of Rs. 60, Rs. 100, and Rs. 150 for its UberGo, UberX, and UberBlack services respectively, corresponding with Rs. 8, Rs. 10, and Rs. 13 per kilometre fares.

Finally, in Pune, UberGo and UberX are now Rs. 25 base fare and have charges of Rs. 8 and Rs. 9 per kilometre respectively. UberBlack is priced Rs. 80 base fare and has charges of Rs. 15 per kilometre.

[source : gadgets.ndtv.com]