Posts Tagged ‘Family & Kids

20
Jul
10

“Microneedle” Skin Patch May Replace Flu Shot

NEWS
“Microneedle” Skin Patch May Replace Flu Shot

Disappearing Needles: Vaccine-Delivery Patch with Dissolving Microneedles Eliminates “Sharps” Waste and Improves Protection

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

••• Traditional flu jabs may be rendered obsolete by a hi-tech skin patch which delivers vaccine painlessly through scores of tiny needles.

The patch could revolutionize pandemic control by allowing vaccines to be self-administered, scientists in the U.S. say.

The patch can be easily used at home by someone with no medical training.

When the patch is applied to the skin, its hundred ‘microneedles’ – each measuring just over half a millimetre – deliver the vaccine and simply dissolve away.

The needle arrays are made from a plastic-like polymer that is known to be safe for use in the body. What remains is a water-soluble backing that can safely be discarded.

The head of the research team, professor Mark Prausnitz, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta said: ‘We have shown that a dissolving microneedle patch can vaccinate against influenza at least as well, and probably better than, a traditional hypodermic needle.’

Tests on mice showed that vaccination with the microneedles caused a stronger immune response than an injection by syringe.

The patch could aid mass-immunization in poor parts of the world. It could help to avoid infections such as HIV and hepatitis B that are often spread by re-use of dirty hypodermic needles.

‘We envision people getting the patch in the mail or at a pharmacy and then self-administering it at home,’ said Dr Sean Sullivan, another member of the Georgia team.

‘Because the microneedles on the patch dissolve away into the skin, there would be no dangerous sharp needles left over.’

Other vaccines could be applied with the same technique, the scientists believe.

The cost of mass-produced patches are estimated to be about the same as conventional jabs. But the reduced need for personnel may bring the overall cost of immunization programmes down.

The patch will still have to undergo patient trials to assure its safety and effectiveness before being made generally available.
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• Source(s): Georgia Institute of Technology
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17
Jul
10

Apple in panic at iPhone 4 ‘antenna-gate’?

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Apple in panic at iPhone 4 ‘antenna-gate’?
Apple offers free iPhone 4 cases to appease users

Saturday, July 17, 2010

••• Apple Inc will give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone to alleviate the so-called death grip problem.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced the giveaway on Friday during a news conference at its headquarters, even as the company denied the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem that needs fixing. The more than 3 million people who have bought the iPhone 4 and new buyers through September 30 will all be eligible.

People who purchased the $29 ‘Bumper’ cases will be refunded.

Jobs began the event by saying, ‘We’re not perfect,’ but was quick to point out no mobile phone is perfect. He played a video showing competing smartphones, including a BlackBerry from Research in Motion, losing signal strength when held in certain ways.

Phones usually have an antenna inside the body. In designing the iPhone 4, Apple took a gamble on a new design, using parts of the phone’s outer casing as the antenna. That saved space inside the tightly packed body, but means covering a spot on the lower left edge of the case blocks wireless signal.
Consumer Reports magazine said covering the spot with a case or even a piece of duct tape alleviates the problem. It refused to give the iPhone 4 its ‘recommended’ stamp of approval for this reason, and it had called on Apple on Monday to compensate buyers.

On Friday, in the company’s first remarks following the magazine’s report, Jobs said Apple was ‘stunned and upset and embarrassed’.

Jobs said the iPhone 4’s antenna issue isn’t widespread. He said just over five out of every thousand users have complained to Apple’s warranty service, and less than 2 percent have returned the device.

‘We’re not feeling right now that we have a giant problem we need to fix,’ Jobs said. ‘This has been blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible. I know it’s fun to have a story, but it’s less fun when you’re on the other end of it.’

Analysts have criticised Apple’s first responses to reports of reception problems as dismissive.

Jobs apologised to buyers who had less than perfect experiences. ‘We’re going to do whatever it takes to make them happy and if we can’t make them happy we’re going to give them a full refund and say we’re really sorry we inconvenienced you, and we’re going to do better next time.’

The refund applies even for those who have long-term contracts with AT&T Inc., the iPhone’s exclusive US wireless carrier.

Jobs, a cancer survivor, also addressed a question about his health on Friday.

‘I’m doing fine. I was even better earlier in the week (when) I was having a vacation in Hawaii, but I decided this was important enough to come back for,’ he said. ‘I’m doing great.’
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• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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12
Jul
10

Facebook Installs Panic Button For Children

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Facebook Installs Panic Button For Children

Monday, July 12, 2010

••• Young Facebook users will be able to report suspicious online behavior with the launch of a new ‘panic button’ targeting sex offenders.

Children can use the button to report abuse to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Facebook.

The application will automatically appear on the homepage of every user aged between 13 and 18.

The launch follows months of negotiation between Facebook and CEOP, the government law enforcement agency tasked with tracking down online sex offenders.

CEOP called for the panic button to be installed in November but Facebook has resisted the idea.

Bebo became the first network to add the button, followed by MySpace while Facebook maintained that its own reporting systems were adequate.

However pressure mounted on Facebook following the rape and murder of Ashleigh Hall, 17.

Ashleigh was killed by a 33-year-old convicted sex offender, posing as a teenage boy, whom she met on Facebook.

Forty-four police chiefs in England, Wales and Scotland, signed a letter backing CEOP’s call for a panic button on every Facebook page.

Users will be able to bookmark the Click CEOP service or add it as an application to find information about online safety.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP Centre said: ‘Our dialogue with Facebook about adopting the Click CEOP button is well documented – today however is a good day for child protection.

‘We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online.’

Facebook’s Joanna Shields added: ‘There is no single silver bullet to making the internet safer but by joining forces with CEOP we have developed a comprehensive solution which marries our expertise in technology with CEOP’s expertise in online safety.’

James Brokenshire, U.K. Minister for Crime Prevention said: ‘It’s a sad fact that we are now seeing more cases where sex offenders are using social networking sites to conceal their identities in order to contact children.’
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26
Jun
10

Apple iPhone 4 release plagued by signal issue: Quick Fix for iPhone 4 Antenna Problem

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Apple iPhone 4 release plagued by signal issue: Quick Fix for iPhone 4 Antenna Problem

Saturday, June 26, 2010

••• There is anger among new iPhone 4 owners after it emerged that the device loses signal when held in the user’s left hand.

Apple’s latest phone only went on sale on Thursday but already the company has been inundated with complaints from users who have found themselves unable to make calls.

One disgruntled customer emailed the company and received a response from the chief executive himself, Steve Jobs.

But Mr Jobs was not too sympathetic with his advice, he wrote: ‘Just avoid holding it in that way.’

The problem appears to occur when the phone is held in the left palm which then covers part of the stainless steel band that contains some of the antennae.

The loss of signal has been a hot topic on Twitter with many people tweeting on the issue.

‘Pretty amazing the way the signal degrades on the iPhone 4 when held in your left hand,’ wrote @StevenMatthews1.

‘So it sounds like the iphone 4 is rubbish for left handers with signal dropping. Will have to learn to be right-handed,’ @Lollipop26 said.

And @MattJWilliams39 has decided against investing in the phone altogether: ‘Style over substance – iPhone 4 has sensitive areas that when held cause signal strength to drop. Cancel my order…’

In a statement Apple said: ‘Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas.’

The American company now sells ‘bumpers’ that protect the stainless steel parts of the phone and stops the user’s skin from touching the sensitive antennae.

However, the good news is the problem is not affecting everyone and the majority of people who queued for hours to get their hands on the latest model are satisfied customers.

Ben Paton, 23, was first to buy the iPhone 4 from the flagship store on Regent Street on Thursday after queuing for 16 hours.

But a man who flew in from Dubai and had queued for double that amount of time thought he would be first through the store’s doors.

Alex Lee, 27, headed the 500-strong queue for 32 hours but had his hopes dashed when the store allowed internet pre-order customers ahead of him.

He said he will write to Steve Jobs to complain.

Here is The Video on how to do a Quick fix on your IPhone Antenna Reception Problem:

• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): Apple Inc. & Twitter
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20
Jun
10

The Most Important Job

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The Most Important Job

The smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life. Take time to be a dad today. Happy Father’s Day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today President Obama delivered this father’s day message:

Good afternoon,

As the father of two young daughters, I know that being a father is one of the most important jobs any man can have.

My own father left my family when I was two years old. I was raised by a heroic mother and wonderful grandparents who provided the support, discipline and love that helped me get to where I am today, but I still felt the weight of that absence throughout my childhood. It’s something that leaves a hole no government can fill. Studies show that children who grow up without their fathers around are more likely to drop out of high school, go to jail, or become teen fathers themselves.

And while no government program can fill the role that fathers play for our children, what we can do is try to support fathers who are willing to step up and fulfill their responsibilities as parents, partners and providers. That’s why last year I started a nationwide dialogue on fatherhood to tackle the challenge of father absence head on.

In Chicago, the Department of Health and Human Services held a forum with community leaders, fatherhood experts and everyday dads to discuss the importance of responsible fatherhood support programs. In New Hampshire, Secretary of Education Duncan explored the linkages between father absence and educational attainment in children. In Atlanta, Attorney General Holder spoke with fathers in the criminal justice system about ways local reentry organizations, domestic violence groups and fatherhood programs can join together to support ex-offenders and incarcerated individuals who want to be closer to their families and children.

Now we’re taking this to the next level. Tomorrow, I’ll make an announcement about the next phase of our efforts to help fathers fulfill their responsibilities as parents – The President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. You can learn more at www.fatherhood.gov.

This Father’s Day – I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a dad to two wonderful daughters. And I’m thankful for all the wonderful fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and friends who are doing their best to make a difference in the lives of a child.

Happy Father’s Day.

Sincerely,

President Barack Obama

• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): The White House
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09
Jun
10

Steve Jobs has Wi-Fi woes

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Steve Jobs has Wi-Fi woes

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It was more iFail than iPhone at the launch of the latest iconic phone – with Apple’s boss walking offstage unable to pick up a wi-fi network for the sleek new device.

Launching the iPhone 4 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CEO Steve Jobs apparently struggled because of audience wi-fi active devices.

‘We’re having a little problem here. I don’t know what is wrong with our networks,’ Mr Jobs said, as the huge projected image of his iPhone stayed resolutely blank.

Mr. Jobs admitted that the venue was known to be a wi-fi bad spot, before pleading for audience members to switch their devices off.

‘You know you can help me out if you are on wi-fi, you could just get off, I’d appreciate it,’ Jobs said to the crowd.

Having failed to show a website on the phone’s display as it sat alongside an existing iPhone model, Jobs attempted Plan B for the new phone.

‘We going to switch over to some backups here, I have a feeling we might have the same problem,’ he said.

After starting the backup, it gave an error message, ‘Could not activate cellular data network,’ to laughs from the crowd.

Mr. Jobs clicked the error message but another then appeared, ‘Could not open page’, to more laughs.
‘Well, jeez, i don’t like this,’ Mr. Jobs said.

Attempting to revert to the ‘primary’ phone he had been using, Mr. Jobs said: ‘I’m afraid I have a problem and I’m not going to be able to show you much today.’

Mr. Jobs then showed several photos on the high definition display of the new phone before a third attempt to access a network also failed.

‘Well, I’m sorry guys, I don’t know what is going on,’ Jobs said to some jeers from the audience.

Apple’s product unveilings are usually renowned for a lack of technical glitches, however Jobs had to resort to yelling to Scott Forstall, the vice president of iPhone software, for help.

‘Scott, you got any suggestions?’ Jobs pleaded.

Someone in the crowd then yelled out ‘Verizon’ – a dig at Apple for not offering the new phone through America’s biggest mobile service provider.

‘We’re going to hope things get fixed before my next demo here. Thanks,’ Mr Jobs said as he walked offstage.

Features of the new phone include two cameras with an inbuilt flash, wi-fi video conferencing facilities, uprated battery and motion-sensing gyroscope for game usage.
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• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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07
Jun
10

Apple Unveils iPhone 4 for $199, Available June 24th

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Apple Unveils iPhone 4 for $199, Available June 24th

Monday, June 7, 2010

Apple has unveiled a next-generation iPhone that features video chat, can shoot and edit high-definition quality video, and has a crisper resolution screen.

‘We are going to take the biggest leap since the original iPhone,’ Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said as he showed off the iPhone 4 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference here.

The iPhone 4 will go on sale on June 24 in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States, and will cost $199 for the 16 gigabyte model and $299 for the 32GB version.

The touchscreen smartphone, which comes in black and white versions, will be available in 18 other countries in July and 24 more in August.

The iPhone 4 includes more than 100 new features including a front-facing video camera to allow for video-conferencing between iPhones, a better still camera, an improved battery and a screen with significantly higher resolution.

To demonstrate the video chat program, called FaceTime, Jobs, dressed in his trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, called up Jonathan Ive, an Apple product designer, and held an iPhone-to-iPhone video conversation.

The iPhone 4 can also shoot and edit HD video. Randy Ubillos, Apple’s chief architect for video applications, displayed an iMovie for iPhone video editing program available from Apple’s App Store for $4.99.

Jobs touted the higher-resolution screen as a major leap forward. ‘There has never been a display like this on a phone,’ he said.

The 3.5-inch screen is the same size as on previous models, but features 326 pixels per square inch, four times more pixels than the earlier iPhones.

‘There is a magic number around 300 pixels per inch that is the limit of the human retina,’ Jobs said. ‘We are over that limit.

‘That’s going to set the standard for display for years to come.’

The improved battery life allows for 40 per cent more talk time, Jobs said, and the iPhone 4 – at 0.37 inch or three-eighths of an inch – is 24 percent thinner than the previous model, iPhone 3GS.

The iPhone 4, which runs on Apple’s A4 processor, features a five-megapixel camera, an improvement on the previous three-megapixel camera.

Users will also have the option to use Microsoft’s Bing as an internet search engine in addition to Google and Yahoo! Google remains the default search engine.

Jobs joked that some of the attendees at the conference may have seen the iPhone 4 previously ‘because there have been a few photos around’.

Technology blog Gizmodo obtained a prototype of the iPhone in April from a 21-year-old man who found it in a California beer garden, where it had been lost by an Apple software engineer, and published details of the device.

Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 and has sold more than 50 million as it battles Google’s Android platform, the Blackberry from Canada’s Research in Motion and others for the fast-growing market.

Before displaying the latest iPhone, Jobs said that more than five million digital books have been downloaded since Apple began selling its iPad tablet computer two months ago.

Jobs, who received a standing ovation as he walked on stage to address the more than 5200 software developers attending the conference, said the 8500 applications developed for the iPad have been downloaded more than 35 million times from Apple’s App Store.

Apple has sold more than two million iPads since it went on sale in the United States in early April and in nine other countries late last month.

Jobs said that 225,000 applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch were currently available and that five billion applications had been downloaded from the App Store as of last week.

The new iPhone received positive reviews from analysts, although most of the features were known already because of the Gizmodo leak.

Altimeter’s Michael Gartenberg said Apple has ‘raised the bar once again by offering next year’s technology at last year’s prices’.

‘They are the first ones to make video chat easy and that will drive the sales,’ Gartenberg said.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said the iPhone 4 ‘keeps Apple ahead of the competition’ by ‘driving software and hardware innovation hand in hand’.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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06
Jun
10

Steve Jobs to announce iPhone 4G on June 7

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Steve Jobs to announce iPhone 4G on June 7

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Apple’s secrecy about product launches is legendary but when Steve Jobs takes the stage on Monday the world may have already had a glimpse of what’s to come.

Jobs is to be the keynote speaker at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, an annual event during which the gadget maker reveals its latest must-have devices.

This year’s conference, which has attracted more than 5,000 developers of programs for Macintosh computers, the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad, carries less mystery than years past due to an Apple software engineer’s unfortunate evening in a California beer garden a little over two months ago.

The engineer, Robert ‘Gray’ Powell, lost a prototype of the next-generation iPhone while drinking at the Gourmet Haus Staudt near Apple headquarters and it ended up with a 21-year-old man who then sold it to technology blog Gizmodo.

According to Gizmodo, features of the new phone include a front-facing video camera for video conferencing and a better regular camera with a larger lens.
It reportedly has a flat back instead of curved back, is thinner than the previous model, the iPhone 3GS, and has a battery that is 16-percent larger.

Gizmodo, unsurprisingly, will not be in the audience when Jobs makes his keynote address at 10:00 am PDT on Monday. The technology blog said Apple has not responded to its requests to attend the June 7-11 WWDC.

Gartner analyst Van Baker said Gizmodo’s revelations about the next iPhone had taken some of the shine off the event.

‘I think the biggest challenge Apple’s going to face is coming up with enough exciting news to have this truly get the market’s attention,’ Baker said.

The front-facing video camera that will allow iPhone owners to have video chats with Macintosh computers or iPhone to iPhone ‘will probably be among the biggest news that we see,’ he said.

I think there’ll be some additional reveals on OS 4.0 (the latest iPhone operating system),’ Baker added.
‘We might see a new iPod Touch,’ the Gartner analyst told AFP. ‘Beyond that, I’m not sure because the iPad’s new and the MacBook line – both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro – just had a significant refresh.

‘So I’m not sure what else to expect from them other than OS4 announcements and a reveal of the new iPhone,’ he said.

Baker said he did not expect the new iPhone to be ‘exactly’ what Gizmodo displayed but there would probably not be substantive differences.

‘I’m sure they had variants of the design floating around and likely made the decision of which ones to manufacture within the last month or so,’ he said.

Kathryn Huberty of Morgan Stanley said Apple may announce a price cut for the iPhone. A $50 drop in price could result in a 40-percent increase in demand, she estimated.
U.S. wireless carrier AT&T sells the latest iPhone for $199 and a year ago Apple slashed the price for its earliest model to $99.

Independent technology analyst Carmi Levy said the Gizmodo leak ‘took some of the surprise out of the event’ but called it a ‘momentary diversion.’

In any case, Apple, which has sold more than 50 million iPhones in three years, has taken an approach of ‘evolution and not revolution’ when it comes to the touchscreen smartphone, Levy said.

‘When upgrading its iPhone hardware, Apple’s goal is never to hit it out of the park,’ he said. ‘Rather, the company’s intent is to move the bar far enough to maintain its market-dominant position.

‘To ensure it has enough new-feature gas in the tank for next year, it never gives customers everything they’ve asked for in any given year,’ he said.

‘Instead, it includes just enough new features to keep the faithful faithful for another year. It’s the ultimate form of controlled marketing, and Apple does it better than virtually any company on the planet.’
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• Source(s): Apple Inc. & Gizmodo / Gawker Media
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01
Jun
10

Apple shifts two million iPads in less than two months

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Apple shifts two million iPads in less than two months

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sales of the Apple iPad have passed two million since its launch almost two months ago.

The Cupertino, California, company began selling the iPad last Friday in Asia, Australia and Europe. The iPad was released in the United States on April 3.

The company does not publicly break out sales figures by region, according to Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman.

The company previously had said it sold one million iPads in the United States just 28 days after its launch. As a result of the strong demand at home, Apple had pushed back the start date of its international sales.
The iPad can be used to send emails, draw pictures and play games. It can also be used as an electronic reader. The basic model costs $499 in the United States, not including extras.

This past weekend, Apple began selling iPads in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Prices for the cheapest, WiFi-only version range from $499 in the United States to the equivalent of $620 in Britain for the entry-level 16 GB model. Canada ($520), Japan ($536) and Australia ($533) rounded out the price basement countries.

At the top end, an iPad 64 GB model with WiFi and 3G connectivity cost $829 in the United States against $1,010 in Britain and $980 in Germany, France and Italy.

The company said the device will be available in nine more countries in July and additional countries later this year.
• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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29
May
10

Apple’s iPad makes global debut

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Apple’s iPad makes global debut

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thousands of die-hard Apple fans mobbed shops worldwide on Friday as the iPad, called a revolution in personal computing by some and limited and overhyped by others, began its global launch.

Long queues of customers snaked outside Apple shops in Australia and Japan hours before the opening and similar huddled masses turned out at stores in six European countries, including Britain and France.

The iPad – a flat, 9.7 inches black tablet – also went on sale in Canada as part of a global rollout that was pushed back by a month due to huge demand in the United States.

One million iPads were sold in 28 days in the United States after the product’s debut in early April despite mixed reviews from consumers.

The product is the latest from Apple, which dethroned software giant Microsoft this week as the largest U.S. technology company in terms of market value, to create a frenzy.

At Apple’s flagship store in Paris, set in the prestigious mall beneath the Louvre museum, 24-year-old engineer Audrey Sobgou beamed as she walked away with one of the prized tablets.

Sobgou travelled 127 miles from her hometown in Lille, northern France, and waited nearly two hours before stepping inside the busy Apple store.

‘I’m not a victim of hype,’ she insisted. ‘I know Apple products and it’s about the quality, the interface, how it’s designed and what it can do. With elegance and style.’

Hundreds of people queued outside the Paris Apple store hours before it opened.

In Britain, a few dozen enthusiasts waited outside the Apple store in central London at 3am to get their hands on the iPad when it opened five hours later.

Staff escorted the first group of customers one by one up to buy their iPad after they opened the doors, whooping, chanting and cheering.

‘I queued overnight for about 20 hours since midday yesterday but it was very, very worth it,’ Jake Lee, a 17-year-old student from Essex, told AFP, clutching his treasured iPad.

The iPad also went on sale in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland and will be followed in July by a launch in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Alejandro Barras, manager of the Apple store in downtown Madrid, said his iPad stock sold out one hour after opening.

Apple aficionados in Zurich camped out overnight in front of the store to buy the tablet and download some of the 5000 available apps – the media applications that run on the device.

In Montreal, an 82-year-old man with a long white beard and a beret stood in line with about 100 people, some of whom arrived at the Apple store at 6am.

‘I’m not a fan of gadgets,’ Jean-Maurice Demers told AFP. ‘But I’m involved in several political committees and community groups and I’m tired of dragging around several kilograms of files.’

Prices in Japan and Australia for the basic 16GB iPad are comparable to US prices, although a significant markup by Apple in Britain and continental Europe has triggered grumbling.

In France, wi-fi models sell for between 499 and 699 euros ($613 and $860), with the 3G models going for between 599 and 799 euros ($736 and $982) .

The multi-functional device is tipped by some pundits to revitalise media and publishing, with many major newspapers and broadcasters launching applications.

As well as the five other European countries, Apple plans to bring the iPad to Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally, but Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

The iPad has officially gone on sale in Australia, with hundreds of tech lovers snapping up the touchscreen tablet device within minutes of it being released in Sydney.

Over 200 Apple fans braved the chilly Sydney weather overnight to be the first to get their hands on the new technology when the George Street store opened its doors at 08:00 am (AEST) on Friday.

Rahul Koduri, who had been in the line since 02:00 am (AEST) on Thursday, succeeded in his dream of being the first in Australia to purchase the iPad.

The 22-year-old Blacktown resident, who snapped up two iPads, was delighted.

‘It’s fantastic, it was so worth the wait,’ he said, holding up his two shiny iPad boxes.

‘One of these is for me, of course, and the other is for a family member.’

• Source(s): Apple Inc. and Independent Television News (ITN)
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28
May
10

Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

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Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

Friday, May 28, 2010

••• A group of four companies including Sony Corp. has announced the launch of a new firm to facilitate the distribution of digital content for the emerging e-reader market, including Sony’s Reader.

The four companies – Sony, Toppan Printing Co., KDDI Corp. and Asahi Shimbun Co. – jointly announced on Thursday that they are setting up a new company to provide a common base for e-publishing by facilitating the digitization, distribution and promotion of newspaper and other publication content.

“We’d like to provide an opportunity for users to easily access e-publications whenever and wherever they’d like, while establishing a platform where publishers can provide their content with ease,” said a representative of the four companies.

The four firms will jointly form a planning company on July 1, which will be turned into a business corporation by the end of the year for the launch of the new service.

The move has already gained support from a number of major publishers, including Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha and Bungei Shunju – all members of the recently established Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan (EBPAJ). With the new partnership aiming to launch multiple online bookstores, it aspires to seek support from other publishers as well.

Each of the four founding companies will hold 25 percent shares in the new firm, which will be capitalized at 30 million yen. The location of its headquarters has yet to be decided.

Sony, which will release its e-ink-based Reader in Japan later this year, is a “returner” to the country’s e-book market. Though it had attempted to break into the e-book business as early as 1990, a lack of e-book content eventually forced the company to pull out in Japan.

“Things have evolved since then, with completely different content offerings and devices. The time is now ripe,” Sony Electronics Senior Vice President Fujio Noguchi said during a press conference on Thursday.

Regarding Apple Inc.’s release of the iPad tablet computer to the domestic market on Friday, Noguchi said, “I don’t think we got a late start.”

Meanwhile, KDDI will also develop its own e-reader device.

“The market will see a variety of e-reader devices popping up, but they cannot do without 3G cellular connections. We have an advantage in making a foray into the market,” said a KDDI representative.
• Source(s): Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社)
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27
May
10

Apple iPad makes international debut

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Apple iPad makes international debut

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Apple’s iPad finally goes on sale outside the United States this week after heavy U.S. demand for the multi-media gadget forced a one-month delay of its international release.

The touchscreen tablet device from the maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone will be available on Friday in stores in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.

The Cupertino, California-based Apple plans to bring the iPad to Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

The company co-founded by Steve Jobs had planned to begin selling the iPad internationally in late April but was forced to delay the global debut of the device because of what it said was ‘surprisingly strong U.S. demand.’

Apple said earlier this month that it sold one million iPads in the first 28 days it was available in the United States, less than half the time it took for the company to sell the same number of iPhones.

More than 5000 applications have been developed for the iPad, according to an Apple spokesman, in addition to the 200,000 programs already available for the iPhone or the iPod Touch, most of which run on the iPad.

A Wi-Fi version of the iPad, which allows users to watch video, listen to music, play games, surf the web or read electronic books, went on sale in the United States on April 3 for $499.

A more expensive model featuring both Wi-Fi and 3G cellular connectivity appeared on U.S. store shelves on April 30 for $829.

Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimated that Apple is selling over 200,000 iPads a week — more than its estimated Macintosh sales of 110,000 a week and its estimated iPhone 3GS sales of 246,000 a week.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally but Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

The U.S. sales figures indicate the iPad is a hit but success did not appear guaranteed when Apple’s Jobs unveiled the device at a high-profile media event in San Francisco in January.

‘There were plenty of questions before the iPad launch and quite a mixed reaction to it when it was released,’ said Gartner analyst Charles Smulders.

Critics derided it as a ‘big iPhone’ without a phone or a camera and bemoaned its inability to play Adobe’s popular Flash video software.

But the iPad appears to have won over the public with a hip advertising campaign and curious consumers can be seen lining up daily to play with tethered models of the device on display at Apple stores around the country.

‘Aside from the design, a key to its success has been getting the product into the hands of consumers,’ Smulders said.

‘With a new category of product like this it is difficult to understand its value unless you try it.

‘Apple has done a great job seeding the market.’

Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital said he sees potential for the iPad beyond the consumer market.

‘Even corporations are piloting the device at a pace that surprises us,’ Reitzes said. ‘At the very least we believe the device can tap into the corporate market as a ‘log in’ device that accesses the network.

‘Many of our clients are increasingly using, or intend to use, the device as a reader for research as well,’ he said.

With success comes competition and imitation.

U.S. computer giant Dell plans to begin selling its own tablet computer, the “Streak,” which has a five-inch (12.5 cm) screen compared with the iPad’s 9.7 inches (24.6 cm), in Britain in June and in the United States later in the summer.

And another U.S. computer giant, Hewlett-Packard, recently announced plans to acquire struggling U.S. mobile phone maker Palm and is expected to use its WebOS operating system to develop a tablet computer of its own.
• Source(s): Apple Inc.

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10
Apr
10

Apple Previews iPhone OS 4

NEWS
Apple Previews iPhone OS 4

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On April 8, in Cupertino, Calif., Apple has introduced a new version of the mobile platform iPhone OS 4.0, the beta version of which opened for testing members of the community ‘iPhone Developer Program‘. In the beta-release SDK available more than 1500 API (programming interfaces applications) that will allow developers to create applications for “iPhone” with access to the SMS, Photo Library, camera etc.
The presentation was begun by head and co-founder Steve Jobs. “IPhone OS 4 – is the fourth major release of one of the most advanced mobile operating systems. There are more than 100 new features, including multitasking, unified inbox, a version of Reader” iBooks “to” iPhone “with access to iBookstore, – told Head of “Apple”.
Multitasking – one of the most anticipated features for the new “iPhone”: now all running applications (or rather, their icons) are visible at the bottom of the screen (both on 4 icons, but when you scroll through the entire list is given). To avoid “overheating” processor, services programs in this version will work in the background, for example, against the background of any other application will be transmitted audio stream, VoIP, Geolocation. In addition, in order not to drain the battery, inactive applications will go into sleep mode.
Icons on the screen smartphone in the new iPhone OS 4.0 can organize into folders, unified mailbox denotes the ability to store incoming messages from all mail accounts in one inbox. IBooks, which works on the tablet of the company, will now also implemented for the smartphone.
Separately, the head of the company told about a new advertising platform, “iAd”, which will allow third-party application developers to earn money on advertising.
But the full use of all the new features of the platform, users can only iPhone 3GS and iPod touch the third generation. All previous models will be stripped-down version.
Recall, on Saturday, April 4, began selling tablet iPad in the U.S.. During the first day, according to the company, has sold nearly 300 thousand devices.
That’s all! Pretty crazy update, actually. We’ll be filling out coverage throughout the day with more careful examinations of the new features. You can also check out Apple’s official 4.0 page if you like, or watch the keynote. (Apple Previews iPhone OS 4)
• Source(s): Apple Inc.

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07
Apr
10

iPad has Wi-Fi problems, some users say

NEWS
iPad has Wi-Fi problems, some users say

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

While the Apple Inc. enjoyed the successful launch of iPad, its users complained about the iPad’s inability to maintain a full, steady Wi-Fi connection, according to U.S. media reports Wednesday.

On Apple’s technical support Web site, some users say they are unable to join their networks at all after their iPads come out of standby; others cannot seem to get a signal unless they stand very close to their wireless routers; some users say laying the iPad on a flat surface exacerbates the problem.

One of users complained: “I have also noticed very weak wifi signal in my 16GB iPad. Even when standing in front of the wlan router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak. The router has very strong signals as every other computer here has full signal strength, even 20-30 meters from the router.”
On Monday, Apple announced that it sold over 700,000 iPads on Saturday, meanwhile the company pointed out the “occasional problems” that included weak Wi-Fi connections or not being able to find a signal.

Apple said that dual-band Wi-Fi routers that support both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz protocols were a particular problem. Apple recommends splitting dual-band routers in to two separate networks with different names but the same security settings.

“Under certain conditions, iPad may not automatically rejoin a known Wi-Fi network after restart or waking from sleep. This can occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable when: Using the same network name for each network, [or] Using different security settings for each network,” Apple wrote.

Featuring a small glass multi-touch screen, iPad is a lightweight, portable computer that wirelessly surfs the Web. It can display photos and videos, run apps and play games and movies.

• Source(s): Apple Inc. and Apple support forum
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05
Apr
10

Brand new iPad getting smashed by a baseball bat

NEWS
Brand new iPad getting smashed by a baseball bat

Monday, April 5, 2010

A video of a group of teenagers destroying a brand new iPad computer with a baseball bat has gone viral on YouTube.

The video of the smashing of the $499 device outside a Best Buy store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday has attracted more than 280,000 views on the video-sharing site.

The Los Angeles Times caught up with Justin Kockott, the 19-year-old high school student who made the video titled Brand new iPad getting smashed by a baseball bat.

“I wanted to be the first one to do it before other people did it,” Kockott told the newspaper.

“It was just something to do.

“I knew some people would hate it, but I didn’t think that many people would hate it,” he said.

“A lot of people are leaving really bad comments (in the YouTube comments section).”

Kockott told the Times he did not have anything against Apple and had actually bought two other iPads.

“I do not at all hate Apple. I love Apple, actually,” he said.
Apple announced Monday morning that it had sold more than 300,000 iPads on Saturday, the first day they were commercially available. Users also downloaded more than 1 million apps for the device and a quarter of a million e-books.

“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world – it’s going to be a game-changer,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, in a statement. “IPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.”

The sales figure was in line with some estimates over the weekend, including one from Piper Jaffrey’s Gene Munster, who guessed the company had sold between 600,000 and 700,000 units over the weekend (that is, including Sunday). The number Apple gave included pre-orders made online.

The second series of 3G-ready iPads debuts later this month.

In 2008, Apple sold one million iPhone 3G’s in the device’s first weekend. And in 2007, it took the company 74 days to sell one million of the original iPhones.

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28
Mar
10

SIDS: It’s not the parents’ fault

NEWS
SIDS: It’s not the parents’ fault

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sunday, March 28, 2010

••• The dusky hours before dawn may appear to be the most serene of times. For infants, whose arousal mechanisms and reflexes are not yet fully mature, they can be a time of peril. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) strikes more babies in the early morning than at any other time.

One explanation for these mysterious and tragic deaths is that they are caused by a defect in the brain that renders the baby incapable of responding appropriately to the rising levels of carbon dioxide that result when babies breathe stale air trapped under blankets. And yet this hunch has been difficult to prove.

“By conventional histology, the brains of SIDS victims look normal,” says Hannah Kinney, Harvard Medical School associate professor of neuropathology at Children’s Hospital.

Sounding the Alarm
Kinney and her colleagues have recently uncovered a subtle but potentially fatal flaw in the brains of some SIDS babies. The defect lies in a scatter of neurons, known as the arcuate nucleus, located on the underbelly of the brain stem.

Normally, cells in the arcuate nucleus are studded with receptors for a neurotransmitter that responds to carbon dioxide in the blood. When levels of carbon dioxide rise, the receptors signal the respiratory system to increase the rate of breathing. They may also be part of a delicate alarm system in the brain that is designed to wake the sleeping baby.

It appears that the arcuate nucleus of some SIDS babies is deficient in its binding of the neurotransmitter. As a result, the carbon-dioxide warning system of SIDS babies is less sensitive to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and does not sound the alarm to other systems in the body.
The arcuate nucleus, normally located on the underside of the brain stem (dark splotches in L and center images), is absent in the brains of some SIDS babies (R image).

Not all SIDS babies have this defect, Kinney says. In fact, the decreased carbon-dioxide sensitivity is probably one of several causes of SIDS. However, the discovery does help to dispel some of the apparent capriciousness surrounding SIDS. “It is not a normal baby that dies of SIDS,” Kinney says.

Knowledge of SIDS was in its infancy when Kinney first began her research. Despite an ancient and grim history-occurrences of “crib death” are well-documented throughout history and even in the Bible-it was only in 1969 that SIDS was identified as a syndrome.

When Kinney began a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in the mid-1970s, SIDS was still an ill- defined syndrome, with no discernible cause. Although some parents reported that their babies had some symptoms-such as coughs, gastrointestinal trouble and listlessness-in the 48 hours before death, most said their babies had been completely well. Some babies were found face down in their blankets, suggesting asphyxiation, and yet others were found on their backs.

“What I remember most about that is the tremendous sadness and suddenness of the death and the tremendous despair that the parents had,” says Kinney.

Nor did autopsies help alleviate the parents’ confusion. Typically, there were no signs of disease-pneumonia, meningitis or hemorrhages-in the brains or bodies of the babies.

The first clue to a possible brain defect came in 1977 when a pediatric pathologist reported subtle gliosis-or scarring-in the brain stems of SIDS patients. Gliosis, which is an overgrowth of glial cells, occurs when neurons die, leaving room for new growth. Yet it was not clear from the study what was causing the neurons to die in the first place. “It just told us something had gone on in these brains,” says Kinney.

Locating the Flaw
Suspecting an “invisible” flaw in the brains of SIDS patients, Kinney spent the next few years learning new high- tech methods for studying the chemistry of the brain at HMS. Richard Sidman, Bullard professor of neuropathology, had developed computer-based methods for imaging the brain in three dimensions that allowed subtle quantitative differences in the brain to be assessed. Frost White, who was also in the HMS neuropathology department at the time, had developed methods for labeling chemical receptors in three dimensions. Kinney spent time working in both men’s labs.

It was old-fashioned brainstorming with Jim Filiano, a postdoc in her lab, that led to the site of the hidden brain flaw. “Jim and I used to have long conversations about this. Where can the defect in SIDS be? What respiratory controlling mechanism could it be?” says Kinney.

By 1987, the arcuate nucleus had been identified, but its function was unknown. It was Filiano who first demonstrated that the arcuate nucleus in humans might be involved in the control of breathing.

Still, it was not clear what role the arcuate nucleus might play in SIDS. To find out, Kinney and her collaborators began analyzing a database of serially sectioned brain stems collected from autopsies of 41 SIDS babies and 27 controls. “We looked through it blinded, without knowledge of who the SIDS babies were,” Kinney says. They found two cases where the arcuate nucleus was absent. When they decoded the cases, they found that both had died of SIDS.

Yet other babies in the sample had died of SIDS, and they appeared to have an arcuate nucleus. Suspecting that the two cases might be the most severe from an anatomical point of view, and that the other babies might have had more subtle biochemical defects in this region of their brains, the researchers began investigating the neurochemical structure of the arcuate nucleus of SIDS babies.

They found that cells in the arcuate nucleus of some SIDS babies, though not all, were less able to bind acetylcholine than babies suffering from other acute diseases. Acetylcholine normally attaches to a particular receptor on the arcuate cells known as the muscarinic receptor.
A Lack of Receptivity
This finding suggests that the culprit, in at least some SIDS cases, is the muscarinic receptor. Babies with a full complement of muscarinic receptors are able to respond to distress signals.

“A normal infant meets a challenge during the night like hypercardia-increased carbon dioxide-or low oxygen-asphyxiation,” Kinney says. “This could happen from upper airway occlusion or from the face being down in the bedding.” Once stimulated, the muscarinic receptors, which are part of a more complex relay system, signal the respiratory system to increase the rate of breath. “The infant would turn its head to take in more air and presumably wake up.”

However, babies with fewer-or defective-muscarinic receptors would not respond to rising carbon dioxide levels in the blood and would fail to arouse.

Why there should be a scarcity of muscarinic receptors is not clear. Kinney speculates that the defect may lie in the failure of the nucleus to develop normally. “This is basically a clue. It doesn’t tell us why SIDS occurs,” she says.

Even normal infants do not respond to arousal signals very well in the early morning. This is especially true during the first six months of life when the baby is still making the transition from being a fetus. “There are many changes going on in the respiratory, autonomic and sleep- wake systems,” Kinney says. In fact, 90 percent of SIDS cases occur during the first six months of life; 75 percent occur between two and four months.

In addition to this critical developmental danger zone, there are two other factors contributing to SIDS, Kinney believes. One is that the baby has an underlying vulnerability, such as a defective arcuate nucleus. Second, there must be a stressor. Such stressors might include the prone sleeping position, infection, swaddling and fever, all of which can contribute to an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the blood.

An obvious way to reduce the number of SIDS deaths would be to eliminate the stressors. Campaigns to encourage parents to put babies to sleep on their backs have worked in countries like New Zealand, England and Australia. Such campaigns have decreased the incidence of SIDS by 50 percent. China, where babies have always been trained to sleep on their backs, has one of the lowest rates of SIDS in the world.

Women who safeguard their health while pregnant may also be protecting their babies from SIDS. Kinney believes that the defects in the brain that make a baby more vulnerable to SIDS could develop as a result of suboptimal intrauterine environments. “This may be due to smoking, drugs-such as cocaine-and also to lack of access to medical care and good nutrition,” Kinney says, adding that “these are things that come along with poverty.”

The United States, where access to cigarettes and drugs is relatively easy, has one of the highest rates of SIDS in the world. SIDS is currently the leading cause of death among American infants, killing 6,000 babies each year. The rate is especially high among the poor. The rate of SIDS among Native Americans is six times the national average.

Ultimately, there may be a way to predict clinically who is at risk for SIDS, although Kinney thinks that such tests will be a long time in coming. Developing a clinical test for a receptor system in the arcuate nucleus “would be extremely difficult,” she says. An alternative approach would be to look for some other factor that correlates with decreased binding to the muscarinic receptors in the arcuate nucleus.

Kinney and her colleagues are currently investigating whether the muscarinic defect is part of a more general neuronal defect. “The more we know about the causes of SIDS, the more ideas of how to test for it and prevent it may come to us.”
• Source(s): Harvard Medical School
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Also called: Crib death, SIDS
American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute
Related: SIDS Research Breakthrough GO
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08
Mar
10

SIDS Research Breakthrough

NEWS
SIDS Research Breakthrough

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Friday, February 5, 2010

Last modification: Monday, March 8, 2010

••• Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston annouced today that they may have found the reason why babies are so vunerable to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Infants who died of SIDS had 26 percent lower levels of serotonin, which helps regulate automatic functions according to the study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study performed autopsies on 41 babies who had died of SIDS to brainstems of seven babies who died of other causes and five babies who were hospitalized with low oxygen levels before their deaths. Researchers believe a low level of serotonin may be the “fundamental abnormality” in babies who die from SIDS. If serotonin levels are too low a baby won’t wake up when breathing is disrupted.

Unfortunately, there are no tests to determine serotonin levels in infants. According to USA Today, doctors eventually hope to use their discovery to screen babies for serotonin problems and find a way to protect them, says co-author David Paterson, also of Harvard and Children’s Hospital. Those developments are still years away, he says.

The number of babies who die of sudden infant death syndrome has dropped over the last 20 years, thanks to campaigns urging parents to put babies to sleep only on their backs. To avoid the risk of SIDS, here are some important tips to protect your baby from SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep:

• Always place your baby to sleep on her back!

• The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a sheet.

• Remove all soft and fluffy bedding and other items from the sleep area. This includes blankets, pillows, bumper pads, positioners and stuffed animals.

• Adult beds can be dangerous for sleeping babies. Bring your baby into bed to breastfeed and bond, but when it is time to go to sleep, place your baby in her own separate space alongside your bed for at least the first six months.

• Use a wearable blanket or other type sleeper instead of blankets to keep your baby warm and safe.

• Never fall asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.

• Make sure your baby has a safe place to sleep when visiting or traveling.

••• Serotonin: A hormone, also called 5-hydroxytryptamine, in the pineal gland, blood platelets, the digestive tract, and the brain. Serotonin acts both as a chemical messenger that transmits nerve signals between nerve cells and that causes blood vessels to narrow.
Changes in the serotonin levels in the brain can alter the mood. For example, medications that affect the action of serotonin are used to treat depression.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Also called: Crib death, SIDS
American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute
Related: SIDS: It’s not the parents’ fault GO
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