Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spark! - Dji's smallest and cheapest drone yet .

Dji has anounced a new follow-up to its successful already portable Mavic drone . The new Dji Spark , priced at $499 is Dji's most affordable yet .

Designed to run mostly on gestures , the new Spark uses 3D mapping for obstacle detection as well as predict the gestures when it is activated . The Spark , which can read commands such as hover , circle , follow and snap a picture by making a frame using both hands , the drone also has the ability to work from a dedicated controller tethered to your smartphone or just the phone if need be . Livestreaming/FPS on the drone is also present in VR mode with Dji Googles  .

Internally , the drone follows a design similar to the Mavic , but only smaller , kind of similar to a racing drone , the drone can hover 30m and can detect obstacles 5m away . This is achieved via a array of sensors which 3D map the surroundings as well as find its way around thanks to dual band GPS and GLONASS positioning systems . The drone also has Dji's geofencing apllication so even the likelyhood of this flying over restricted areas is limited .

Video on the drone is less impressive than its quad blade bretheren , but even with its size , it still has a 2 axis mechanical gimbal which gives the camera the ability to record 1080p (downscaled 4k) without shake , the drone also has a livestream mode which can stream 720p video content from a distance upto 2km away . The flighttime of the drone however is 16 minutes , so keep that in mind before setting off .

The Dji Spark brings Drones to a whole new segment as it combines modern trends such as VR and livestream in a package that is smarter and more capable than the competition , and with its price , the drone does appeal to the youth or even amateur filmmakers on a budget as the 300g "toy" does not require any permits or a drone pilot licence (may depend on you country) . And now with drones being the latest hot gadget (along with action cameras) Dji has surely hit a market with much potential and a few competitors to beat (Parrot might come into mind) ,dji also offers The Spark Fly More Combo which includes the drone , two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables, with a US retail price of $699 USD

Source - dji

Ricoh WG 50 waterproof camera leaked

Leaks of Ricoh's upcoming waterproof camera have been leaked . The camera , which is said to feature a ability to reach depths upto 14m , ability to resist pressure (crush) of 100kgf , freeze resistance upto -10c and resistance to shocks upto 1.62m . The camera is said to feature a 16 mp CMOS sensor with 5x optical zoom and is expected to come in orange and Black once it goes official on the 25th of May .


Meet the new Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft has just anounced their latest update to the Surface Pro tablet lineup . The new Surface Pro (not the Surface pro 5) as it is called , is the 5th generation of the tablet lineup which was originally designed as a Jack of all trades tablet which would not being  compromise as rival premuim tablets do . The new Surface pro , equipped with the Base level Core M versions and  the Core i versions including a i5 and i7 option is probably the best bang for buck tablet or basically hybrid laptop even when you compare it against Microsoft's own Surface laptop .


Microsoft has so far skipped the tablet thinning race for some time and therefore this new tablet is no exception , made out of a metal unibody with a kick stand that allows it to lay either in display mode and almost flat (studio mode) . The tablet which now uses a fanless design (hybrid cooling on the i7 version) is also said to be more quiet than the outgoing model , on the side , you can still find a full size USB 3.0 port , mini display and a microSzd expansion slot for further expansion . The sides also contain a magnetic edge which will allow you to paste the surface pen on to while you are on the desk .


Display wise , the new tablet features a 2736x1824 resolution IPS "Pixelsense"display . This is covered by a protective layer of glass which  we believe is Gorilla Glass 5 . The 3:2 display touchscreen display also features 10 finger multitouch as well as support for the new Surface Pen which now supports 4096 pressure level points as well as the Surface Dial - the hockey puck seen on the surface studio allowing you to basically use this as a graphic tablet if need be .

Hardware options and Price 

Hardware options on the Surface Pro include a base model Core M3 with 4GB of RAM , 128GB SSD storage . And Intel 615 graphics (on chip) , the base model sells for $799

The i5 range includes a 128GB SSD /4GB Ram  option for $999 , and a 256GB/ 8GB option for $1299 .Both models come with Intel 620 graphics .

Finally we have the i7 range which includes the following options -
256GB SSD/8 GB Ram model for $1599 , a 512GB SSD/16GB Ram model for $2199 and a 1TB SSD /16GB Ram option for $2699 . All models come with Intel Iris pro 640 graphics .

All surface models ship with 7th generation processors and Windows 10 Pro installed . The tablets also contain a Office 365 -30 day subscription and it no longer ships with the Surface pen out of the box ($99 if you want to buy it seperately) and also has a optional $159 alcantara covered kehboard cover  . The tablets can be pre ordered starting today , and ships on the 15th of next month(June) along with the Surface Laptop

Via - News.Microsoft

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8GM and FE 12-24mm f4G anounced

Sony has anounced two new lenses for its E mount lineup , the new FE 16-35mm f2.8 and FE 12-24mm f4G bring wide angle zoom options with the 16-35mm priced at $2200 and the FE 12-24mm at $1700 currently.

Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8GM

A fast and flexible wide-angle zoom, the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens from Sony is a wide-angle zoom designed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. Distinguished by its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens offers consistent performance throughout the zoom range and benefits working in low-light conditions. The optical design incorporates two extra-low dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberrations along with two XA elements and three aspherical elements, which significantly controls spherical aberrations for a high degree of image sharpness and clarity. Additionally, a Nano AR coating has been applied to limit ghosting and lens flare for increased contrast and color fidelity when working in strong lighting conditions.

Lens construction: 13 groups 16 pieces
Number of diaphragm blades: 11
Shortest shooting distance: 0.28 m
Maximum magnification: 0.19 times
Filter diameter: 82 mm
Maximum diameter × length: 88.5 x 121.6 mm
Weight: 680 g

Sony FE 12-24mm f4G

Ultra wide and versatile, the FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens from Sony is a flexible zoom lens for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, characterized by its constant f/4 maximum aperture. Benefitting the wide field of view is a sophisticated optical design that incorporates aspherical and low dispersion glass elements to control both spherical and chromatic aberrations for improved sharpness and clarity. A Nano AR Coating has also been applied to individual elements to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for greater contrast and color fidelity when working in bright, backlit situations.

Number of diaphragm blades: 7
Shortest shooting distance: 0.28 m
Maximum magnification: 0.14 times
Filter diameter: None
Maximum diameter × length: 87 x 117.4 mm
Weight: 565 g

Via - Nokishita-Camera

Friday, May 19, 2017

Canon officially discontinues 3 lenses

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS
Canon has pulled the plug on 3 lenses , the three lenses , which have served numerous photographers through their active service period have now reached an end as their successors , except for the Green ring 70-300 DO provide better optics and faster AF . This does mean that the possibility  of getting one repaired may be out , but picking up one for a good price will be possible .

Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM

Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS DO USM

The above-mentioned lenses are as follows

*Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS

*Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM

*Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS DO USM

Source - Canonrumors

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Google iO 2017 - Recap of what you can expect in the coming months ...

Google IO 2017 has officially Kicked off in San Francisco today . During this tech event , The tech giant has anounced refreshed system for Google home - allowing free calls as well as Google lens and Google asistant for iOS , a new updated version of Google Photos -which now allows you to scrub digital noise and obstructions from photos , share albums in a known "group" and picturebooks (print ready album templates which will extract your best photos and arrange them accordingly) as well as a hint of what we can expect soon the form of a Stand-alone Google VR headset , Daydream 2.0 for Smart TV's and of course Android O 

Android O - upcomig features

Android O for starters will pretty much look and behave similar to Android Nougat and Marshmallow before it , although the design may look similar , under the hood , the new OS features a multitude of user friendly features which were not present on stock Android so far . New features such as Downloadable fonts , picture in picture (basically minimize a player into a smaller floating screen) , smart selections (which will automatically select the adjacent text depending on what was select - eg - an adress , selecting one word will automatically select the rest of the text .

Notifications are also said to be "smarter" as the icons will now shine with a dot on the side which can be pressed down to either remove the notification with a swipe or accessing it directly - thereby reducing time with the Notification bar . There is also a smarter Google autofill which will fill in saved passwords and details saved from another device .

Project Tremble 

Its no suprise that Android is popular in every corner of the world (Google anounced that it has over 2 billion monthly active users during the event), but the biggest headache when it comes to buying a non-Google handset was software updates , in future releases , Google is said to work on Project Tremble which will seperate the OS framework and the client/vendor code into seperate forms allowing vendors to test their end to optimize according to their hardware and liking while Android OS can be easily ported in to work , this will greatly reduce the heavy workload on individual OEM's and ensure that handsets get their updates in a much faster timeframe . 

Android Go 

Android One has been quite successful for Google and a few emerging handset makers alike , the platform has so far allowed budget smartphones the ability to get fast updates and OS stability which was sometimes lacking in a market which was mostly saturated with disorganized handset makers .Android Go - which is Google's next initiative on bringing a more optimized version of Android O to smartphones with 1GB of RAM or even less . The goal of Android GO is to feature scaled down  versions of their popular apps in the form of mobile data optimized versions (eg- Youtube go) this combined with other "lite" versions of other applications will allow ultra-budget handsets to perform en par to a more advanced model without the issue of ram and processing speed getting in the way .

Security and more 

Google Play Protect is now set to work as a sandboxing agent who would detect mallicious apps installed and downloaded to your device .Google device manager is also said to get a new boost with the addition of Android wear devices added to its list .

Kotlin is now supported on Android , Set to run on Android Studio 3.0 , the new programming language is set to work in conjunction to c++ and Java which are already present . Due to the similarities between Java and Kotlin , Java programmers are welcome to test the waters and this (not being a requirment) might slowly get existing Java developers on board once the project expands .

Android O beta is now available for the Pixel , Pixel XL ,Pixel C ,Nexus 6P ,5X and the Nexus Player .

Special thanks to Mobitel Sri Lanka for hosting us for their Google I/O 2017 extended event on the 17th and 18th of May at Stein Studios , Colombo ,Sri Lanka .  All photos uploaded here were taken during the livestream , official photos of the event are available here

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Olympus TG5

Olympus has anounced a new camera that is tough as nails- Almost ...the new Olympus TG5 anounced today , brings a 12MP BSI sensor and a 25-100mm equvalent lens in a body that can survive freezing weather upto -10c , waterproof upto 15m , drop resistant up to 2.1meters and crushproof  upto 100kg of  pressure .

The new camera , called the TG5 is equipped with a 12Mp BSI sensor with the ability to shoot 20fps RAW and recording in 4K in a full pixel readout adnd 120fps recording in 1080p . The non removable lens - which gives a  a 35mm equvalent in the form of a 25-100mm and f2 aperture .

The camera is priced at $450 and will be available soon .

Via - bhphoto

Samsung rebadges Galaxy Note 7 as Note FE ,asks lower price

Samsung has re-anounced its Galaxy Note 7  handset as the Note FE ..the Note 7 , launched last year was probably one of the best devices launched at the time but due to a series of accidental combusion events , the whole series was discontinued and all devices were recalled for evaluation . The phone , which was known to have a battery issue due to a metal contamination in the Lithuim cell ,was responsible for causing some financial dammages during the whole sage .

The new phone , basically designed on top of the same Note 7 chassis except for the Battery (a 3200 mAh battery now sits on the handset instead of the 3500 mAh one ) is expected to sell at a somewhat reasonable cost of about $520 . The device will still feature the S-Pen , Snapdragon 820 processor , 4GB of Ram and 64GB internal storage and of course the gorgeous 5.7" 2560x1440 SAMOLED display .

The phone is expected to make out in limited badges of about 300,000 first in South Korea and followed possibly with a few more countries followed shortly .

Via - Theandroidsoul

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

HTC U11 - flagship gets dialled to eleven!

HTC has anounced their flagship smartphone for the year 2017 . The new phone , which technically sits as a successor to the HTC 10 and the HTC U ultra launched a few months back . The phone builds on (most of) the shortcomings on the U ultra and is poised to take HTC forwards just as the HTC 10 and A9 did in the previous 2 years .


If you have seen the HTC U ultra , then this phone is probably a bit of a Deja Vu as they both share a similar platform . The phone , designed with flowing edges and a more rounded chassis will probably be more hand friendly ,but like the U Ultra this still does carry that Gorilla glass equipped glass backing(with a 3D effect) so keep your cleaning cloths handy .

Up front , we have the 5.5" 2160x1440p resolution SLCD display which is a step up from the HTC 10 from last year .the front LCD is protected by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 5 and it features a recessed solid state fingerprint scanner , a speaker grille and the 16mp f1.7 front facing camera

Since we already described the curved design , its probably high time we also mention that HTC has kept the physical power and volume button duo without axing them for their new touch/pressure sensitive suite called "Edge Sense" - A touch and pressure based "function keys" series which can be programmed according to the app or function you use  (ex- taking a  photo with the touch of an invisible button) .You would find pressure sensors embedded in the metal frame of the phone ,which you could activate just by " squeezing" it .

With pressure based touch being anounced on the U11 , HTC also had the "courage" to address the biggest elephant in the room -  the 3.5mm headphone jack ! , Sadly we were just kidding , and HTC has once again avoided using this so if you are a on the fly music lover , this may be a cause for concern , but then again there is a USB C port on the bottom , so you can probably get an adapter or select either playing music or hugging a wall outlet a choice from now on .

The new U11 is certified for IP67 dust and water resistance

Hardware and Cameras 

Without skipping the Snapdragon party , the new U11 brings the Snapdragon 835 Soc to the table , this is a 8 core chip with 4x 2.45Ghz cores and 4x1.9 Ghz 64bit Kryo cores with Adreno 540 graphics .

Storage options include 4GB of ram with 64GB as the standard option for select markets and the U.S while other regions get a secret option of 4GB with 128GB and  6GB Ram and 256GB storage as well (microSD included).

Cameras on the U11 include a 12 MP main camera module which is tuned by HTC and has apparently recieved the highest DxOmark score of 90 , which beats the Google Pixel for the best smartphone camera quality . The 12MP 1/2.55 " sensor , coupled with Optical image stability (OIS) and a f1.7 lens set produces spectacular results and is also 4K UHD @30fps and 1080p @ 120fps . The rear sensor is backed by a two tone led flash and a 16MP front facing camera .

Software and Battery life

Running Android 7.1 Nougat , the phone is probably the last major flagship to ship with the operating system as Google IO 2017 is just a day away . But considering that HTC has kept a good update record , this along with its other flagship bretheren - Samsung S8 , Lg G6 ,Sony XZ will be one of the first OEM handsets to recieve Android O once it is available . The battery on the phone is also rated to be good at 336hrs of standby or about a day of usage* , the battery on the phone is a 3000 mAh unit with Qualcomm Quickcharge 3.0 enabled for fast charging via USB C 3.1 .

Pricing and availability 

Priced at $650 unlocked , the phone does sound like a bargain considering that most flagships slowly crept upto the $1000 range .The U11 is cheaper than the U ultra and is also cheaper than other flagships from the top brands . The phone is expected to roll out next week or in June depending on your region .

Via - slashgear , htc, htcsource

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mp3 format gets axed by creators

Mighty audio 

Mp3 is basically a household name when it comes to describing an audio file . The format , introduced in a time when music was still sold on CD's and played off on Discm(e)n has now apparently reached an end as Fraunhofer institute has discontinued the .Mp3 format in favor of the newer AAC (Advanced audio codec) which would give a higher lossless audio clarity unlike Mp3 which has suffered from bad audio compression during audio conversion . The institute however does state that the consumer end of the mp3 format will move on due to its popularity , but professionals and streaming services will move on to AAC and MPEG-H formats as the popularity of lossless internet streaming and quality of playback devices are on the rise.Fraunhofer has also terminated its licencing for the format for the first time since the format's inception in the 80's .

We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.

The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.

For those who worry about their Mp3 players becoming obsolete , worry not , most modern music players already support AAC and other formats already , and since the licencing terms are now free , this could also mean that the "freedom" offered might inspire the popularity of Mp3's even more.But whatever it is , the legacy the .Mp3 format set will never be forgotten , it brought us success stories such as the iPod and eventually paved the way for music centric devices such as the N95 , Xpressmusic devices and the Moto Rokr and Itunes which eventually brought the iPhone to being .

Rest in peace .Mp3

Via- gizmodo

Sunday, May 14, 2017

New Ransomware encrypts your computer ..demands bitcoin , WannaCry?

In a age where even fruit juice squeezers require an internet connection , the chances of getting attacked by a malicious entity seeking revenge , some sinister prank or a few bucks off retired folks from  a money transfer is very real , but for a while , we have taken computer security for granted , either due to the lack of a powerful "reality check" or the lack of attention , most of us have left our devices vulnerable to exploits , and now , as of yesterday , over a hundred thousand computers in over a hundred countries have been blocked, encrypted and kept on a swords edge  by a new type of malware -  Say hello to Wanna Cry , the worlds most advanced randsomware yet .

Wanna cry , also known as WannaCryptor ,WannacCryptor(2.0) Wanna Decryptor  basically encrypts your whole computer /atm/ medical equipment / displays or basically anything running Microsoft's Windows operating system (including server , RT and others) and displays a message asking for a ransom of $300 (in Bitcoin) in a set amount of time or $600 if  you fail to pay the 300 in time (ignore and you will lose all data) . The malware has so far rampaged many Microsoft equipped computers in Russia(Including government deartments) ,UK(transport and health) and India(Police and banking systems) and many other countries with more computers getting infected by the minute .

The ransomware , developed using a Microsoft Windows SMP exploit (ETERNALBLUE) leaked from the NSA , has managed to rat its way through to host computers who were vulnerable to the attack (computers with legacy software and those who didnt install the March MS17-010 update , Microsoft ,who has adressed the issue in a fix is now set to release critical updates for older software versions as well , currently all versions of Windows (XP , Vista , 7, 8,8.1 and 10) as well as Server editions from 2003 are not secure until the new patch is released .

Malwaretech and Darien Huss- a third party , were successful in slowing down the spread after they found a unregistered domain in the ransomware code which prompted them to register it , and successfully redirecting the domain to Malwaretech's "kill switch" portal which activates the kill switch coded in the malicious code . But the code is still at large and according to expects , the creators or another party can simply go through the code again and disable or even remove the "kill switch" function and repackage at will .

So far , due to the sudden risk , users are rquested to backup any file to a different system or keep a hard copy backed up . Updating the patches on networked systems will also help stop the spread for now ,and keeping antivirus softwares up-to date (eventhough many are next to useless in this case with some exceptions eg- Malwarebytes (Avast and Kaspersky are working on a detection system as well)  . But so far the most secure method is to patch up and back up !

Written by Rakitha for MasHD
Via - malwaretech

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Polaroid sold to shareholder

Polaroid - a company which has been one of the most iconic camera brands of the last century was somewhat rolled off the camera stage since the arrival of digital cameras . The company , which has so far stayed afloat thanks to its Printing paper , camera accessories , optical wear and a few small cameras was mostly under the command of Impossible Project which was also the only company to make film for existing Polaroid cameras after the Minnesota based camera company shut production in 2008 .Now , the largest shareholder of Impossible project - Tycoon Wiaczeslaw (Slava) Smolokowski, has decided to buy the camera company and this might mark a new begining for Polaroid as the camera and the film are effectively under one roof now .

Via - twice