NASA has released a new panorama from its Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, showing the terrain where the robot spent the four-month Martian winter.
NASA has released a new panorama from its Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, showing the terrain where the robot spent the four-month Martian winter.
What is Instapouch?
Instapouch allows you to turn your Instagram photos into a leather pouch for your iPhone! At the present time, the service is only partly available (see below), however please keep checking back / register your interest, to find out more information!
Tuesday 3rd July 2012:
We’re still currently in the final testing phase here at Instapouch, however to make sure you’re all set for the launch: 1) make sure you have an Instagram account, & 2) register your interest through the form to the right of this text! From there we will be in touch shortly with information regarding the launch of the product! If you have any other questions at this time, please drop us a email: email@example.com
An oven-toasted T-shirt could provide the structure for futuristic clothing that powers cellphones, tablets and other devices. The research, conducted by two engineers at the University of South Carolina, showed that a modified store-bought T-shirt could be turned into a fabric that acts as a supercapacitor, storing an electrical charge.
“By stacking these supercapacitors up, we should be able to charge portable electronic devices such as cellphones,” Xiaodong Li, one of the engineers who worked on the shirt, said in a statement.
“We wear fabric every day,” he added. “One day, our cotton T-shirts could have more functions.”
Li and a fellow researcher in his lab, Lihong Bao, bought a cotton T-shirt from a local discount store. They soaked it in fluoride, dried it, then baked it in an oven without any oxygen, to prevent the T-shirt from burning. Despite the baking, the fabric remained flexible. [Science Fashion Runs the Gamut From Pretty to Precise]
The researchers examined the baked shirt and found that the cotton fibers had turned into activated carbon, similar to the carbon in water and air filters. They also found the activated carbon fabric could store electrical charge as a capacitor, an electrical component that’s found in most devices.
To improve the shirt’s electricity-storing ability, the researchers coated the T-shirt fibers with a layer of manganese oxide one nanometer thick, or about 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair. A second analysis showed the manganese oxide-covered fibers worked as a more efficient capacitor than the treated, toasted cotton alone.
“This created a stable, high-performing supercapacitor,” Li said. The fabric capacitor could charge and discharge thousands of times while losing only 5% of its performance, Li and Bao discovered.
Their method for making the fabric capacitor is inexpensive and doesn’t use environmentally harmful chemicals, Li said.
Li’s is just one of several labs working on creating fabric-based electronics that could turn into wearable devices. The research could lead to coat sleeves and couch arms that act as controls for electronics, such as music players and thermostats, or “smart clothes” that monitor people’s health.
Li and Bao published their research in the June 26 issue of the journal Advanced Materials.
The average smartphone owner spends more than two hours each day using the device. During that time, smartphone owners spend an average of 25 minutes using their phone to browse the web, 17 minutes on social networking, 13 minutes playing games and 16 minutes listening to music.
Making phone calls with the smartphone was only the fifth most popular use for the gadget, only slightly more time than they spend writing and checking email (11 minutes) and text messaging (10 minutes).
The names have been changed pending the filing of case in court.
Nate met Sheila (not their real names) in 2004 through his friend Jack, who owns an art gallery. Nate is the gallery director in a Manila university owned by his family. A former flight attendant who had taken a break from work when she married and had children, Sheila had just started working at Jack’s gallery.
Nate and Sheila quickly became friends. She was a very simple girl, he recalls in our interview, and even as she had no experience in the art scene, Sheila showed a knack for sales so that Jack began to trust her. Jack made her industrial partner, and later, managing director, widening her social network in the moneyed, art connoisseur set.
“When we first met, Nine West or Cole Haan were already expensive for her,” Nate says. “When she started hanging out with people from the art scene and several of her former flight-attendant friends who had married rich, that all began to change.”
He adds, “Louis Vuitton, she had a lot of those. Then this Birkin thing came about…”
Nate and Sheila’s friendship developed into a business relationship. It all started smooth and harmless. Nate would travel to Europe with his partner Tom, and Sheila would ask him to buy a few designer bags to sell her “clients.”
“At times, she said the orders would be three Chanels, five Goyards, one Hermes… All of these I wouldfinance,” Nate says. “I made money by keeping the tax refund, and for each bag, depending on the price, I would get P10,000 to P25,000 each as carrier’s fee. I did that for almost 2½ years.”
Sheila made good on her word. “I enjoyed doing it,” says Nate. “With that alone, each of my flights to Europe was already paid for. And I was also into bags. I even earned points on my credit card.”
Then he quickly adds, “Let me be clear that I was only doing it for fun. I only did it on the side, I didn’t travel to Europe just to buy bags for her.”
It was about the time Hermes opened its first boutique here that things became complicated.
Hermes Birkin was the one bag everyone lusted after. But even if you had P500,000 lying around, which was the estimated cost of the cheapest Birkin in Greenbelt, the boutique couldn’t stock up by the dozens. If you wanted one quick, you had to look elsewhere.
“She asked if I wanted to invest in the Birkins,” Nate recalls.
The deal went this way: Sheila would ask an investor to pull in P450,000. In Europe, the cheapest Birkin costs shy of P400,000. She would sell the purse for P550,000. It was a plausible proposition: Some womenwould rather pay the extra P50,000 (over the Manila price tag) than travel to Europe to buy a purse.
Of the total sales, P50,000 would go to the carrier who buys the bag in Europe or elsewhere, P50,000 to Sheila as middle person, and P50,000 to the investor. In short, an investor’s P450,000 becomes P500,000 in just a month, or a profit of 11 percent—a deal even the top banks couldn’t give.
This time, Nate was a mere investor, not a buyer/carrier.
“We did that for about six times,” Nate says. On the seventh time, Nate asked his nephew if he wanted to invest as well. The nephew said yes and, as usual, all parties involved laughed all the way to the bank.
“I never saw the Birkins; she just showed me photos on her phone,” Nate says. It didn’t matter. She paid him on schedule. Business was good.
Then came February this year. Nate was readying for another Europe trip when Sheila called to ask if he had
P2 million. It was for a crocodile Birkin, she said, which would cost that much. She was sure she could sell the bag the following week. Expected profit was a cool P200,000.
“In a pyramid scam, this tactic doesn’t make you instantly rich, it makes you buy time,” Tom, Nate’s partner, points out. “If I ask P2 million from you, I’ll use it to temporarily make good with everybody.”
Looking back, Nate believes the
P2 million was intended to pay off checks issued investors that were due for payment. At the time, he didn’t suspect yet that anything was amiss.
Again, Nate turned to his nephew for P500,000 with a promised profit of P50,000. “My nephew wanted to invest the entire P2 million but good thing I told him no.”
Nate met with Sheila a few days later, on Feb. 13, in a friend’s house, where she handed him the check for the investment plus profit, dated Feb. 17.
“She looked different,” Nate says on hindsight. “She had no makeup on, no jewelry. She looked gaunt and sick. I didn’t know then that her financial woes were already piling up.”
On Feb. 15, a Wednesday, Sheila called Nate to say she wasn’t able to deposit the check payment of the Birkin buyer (to fund the check issued Nate). “Monday came and she called again early to say the buyer’s check bounced so she’d just deposit the amount to my account that afternoon. I kept calling the bank all day as I was leaving for Europe the next day, and nothing. I had already issued a check to my nephew dated Feb. 23. I didn’t want that to bounce, especially since I would be away. I decided to get back the check, and just paid my nephew in cash. I didn’t want any trouble with my family.”
On their way to the airport, Tom finally told Nate: “Can’t you see, the pyramid is crumbling?”
Tom says he always had misgivings about Sheila’s dealings, but he wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. He thought it was too good to be true, but he had no reason to doubt her; she was a good friend to Nate. And up until that moment, she always delivered.
Turned out his gut feel was right. “If you can make that much money out of nothing, why would you let other people in?” Tom says rhetorically. “You’d just keep it for yourself! The fact that she can extract money from people for nothing, she must be good, all right.”
Sheila has not been seen or heard from since February. Nate and their friends suspect she’s hiding somewhere in the US. When things unraveled, it became known that the woman had duped many people, including her own closest friends and Nate’s. The others lost enormous amounts that made the P550,000 Nate had lost seem like loose change.
“Funny because we had regular dinners and no one ever spoke of their business dealings with Sheila,” Nate says wryly. “It just seemed like good business that each wanted to keep it a secret…
“One time Sheila went to the wife-manager of an artist to ask for P5 million,” Nate says. “Her favorite line was ‘magwalis-walis ka diyan, baka naman may mahanap kang P5 million.’ When that manager told her she had no money and to ask from our friend Jane instead, Sheila replied that how could she do that when Jane was just on an allowance from her rich husband. In truth she’d already gotten P13 million from Jane!
“When it was suggested that she come to me instead, she told the person that we were not close. I’m the godfather of her son!”
Nate estimates Sheila has made off with about P500 million from different people, based on the claims of those who have come forward. “We can’t really tell how much. More victims are coming out every day.”
(Nate, Tom and Celina, another victim, spoke to Inquirer on condition of anonymity, pending the filing of a case against Sheila. Other supposed victims declined our requests for interview.)
Nate witnessed Sheila’s transformation from the simple girl he met eight years ago to a Birkin-toting social butterfly.
On her birthday last April, Sheila had a Makati salon closed for her private party. She had the model’s posters on the walls replaced with her own portraits, and she hired a top caterer. After the salon party, she and her guests were chauffeured to a five-star hotel, where she hosted dinner and after-dinner cocktails.
Nate never wondered how Sheila was able to maintain her lifestyle; he just assumed her Birkin business was doing very good.
Sheila’s husband, Jake, works for a high-profile veteran politician and wears designer suits.
“Hermes, Louis Vuitton,” Tom says. “He never wore Hugo Boss because he said it was beneath him, and that’s what he told people.” Jake’s shoe closet of over 200 pairs of designer brands—Prada, Dior, Gucci—was even featured in a shoe blog, says Nate.
In an art fair last year, Sheila’s young son pointed to a random painting and said he liked it. The mom didn’t think twice about plunking P75,000 for the painting, Nate says.
Of how the couple kept their lavish lifestyle, says Tom: “I told Nate that it could be one of two things: It was either Sheila’s business was doing so good, or her husband was really corrupt.”
One time, Nate went to a Greenbelt 4 boutique with Sheila and her husband. Jake paid for the purchases in cash. When Nate asked why he didn’t use a credit card since it was a large amount, Jake joked that it was better that way since it meant no paper trail.
Not just Birkins
Sheila’s scheme turned out to be not just about Birkins. “To others, it would be paintings,” says Tom, who also owns an art gallery. “She would show a photo of a painting on her phone. She’ll say 10 Anita Magsaysay-Ho! Even a Monet! How can she get a Monet! All these people believed! Different approaches to different people. Minsan alahas, watches. Very creative.
“There are lots of sad stories. She got money from someone who was getting chemo. Someone’s house got foreclosed because they invested all their savings with Sheila. She also got money from the owner of her son’s school, even the PTA. Of course, how could they not trust her? She brought her son’s entire class to Ocean Park, complete with lunch!”
While no case has yet been filed against Sheila, the irony is that one of her former airline friends, Celina, is being sued by an investor who lost P7 million. Celina’s son had asked Jake to issue an affidavit attesting that Sheila and his mom were not “business partners,” ergo not in cahoots, as alleged in the suit, but Jake refused.
Celina was Sheila’s senior in the airline they worked for. The older woman was a sponsor at Sheila’s wedding.
“I had no reason to doubt her,” says Celina in a phone call to the Inquirer. “She had no history of being dishonest.”
Distressed about being sued for Sheila’s crime, Celina laments her predicament. “I really want to go after her, but I can’t even do that because I can’t pay for a lawyer; she made off with all my money!” She lost P11 million of her personal money to her old friend.
Luxury design house, Hermès has finally caught the people responsible for peddling imitation bags – and some of them work at the company.
Using internal monitoring systems, Hermès along with the French national police, spent a year watching out for clues and any abnormal behaviour.
Two individuals have now been fired though several others who remain working for the design house are suspected to be involved.
The surveillance was part of an investigation into the international crime ring that robs the brand of millions of dollars every year.
During the raid, police found clandestine workshops bursting at the seams with precious leather skins for making the counterfeit accessories.
The ring that has distribution outlets in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, is thought to be able to generate $22million through one branch alone.
The Paris public prosecutor told WWD: ‘Hermès is very satisfied with the efficient and diligent collaboration established with the national gendarmerie in this case and reiterates its relentless commitment to fighting counterfeiting.
‘This action puts an end to the fraudulent project in progress.’
According to the French National Anti-Counterfeiting Committee, Hermès is not the only victim of such a racket which costs France $7.5billion in lost revenue annually.
In response to the threat, French luxury goods association Comitè Colbert has already taken action to raise awareness of the issue by launching a campaign with playful slogans such as: ‘Buy a fake Cartier, get a genuine criminal record’ and ‘Real ladies don’t like fake.’
The ads are to remind travellers passing through the country’s airports of the zero-tolerance approach the police has towards the buying and selling of fake luxury products.
With its iconic Birkin bag and extravagant silk scarves, Hermès is a popular brand name for counterfeiters.
Hermès CEO Patrick Thomas’ attempts to have internet providers, search engines and social media sites held accountable for facilitating the sale of fake goods seems to be paying off however, even if slowly.
A U.S. court recently ordered 34 websites offering imitation Hermès items to pay the company $100million in compensation.
‘Eighty percent of objects sold on the Internet under the Hermès name are fakes,’ he fumed. ‘It’s an absolute disgrace.’
I’ve read this somewhere earlier this year. 2012 is the year of Mobile Advertising. That is so true. With the advent of smartphones led by iPhone, I think it is safe to say that mobile is certainly an area to focus on this year. Businesses need to ensure that their sites are optimized for mobile or tablet access. They also need to make sure that they have specific mobile advertising campaigns as standard online ads do not normally work or fit in a mobile environment. Here’s another article from Mashable which might be useful for you guys especially those who share the same principle that I have – mobile is the way forward!
“Mobile is ramping up faster than any other technology we have seen in the past,” says Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins. Mobile web adoption is happening eight times faster than traditional web adoption in the late ’90s.
With that growth comes a new set of user behaviors and consumer trends. What’s the reality when it comes to the new mobile commerce landscape? Here are five facts that will have striking implications for the future of mobile commerce.
My company powers about 20,000 ecommerce sites. The average desktop order in 2011 was $95.19, and the average mobile order amounted to $96.92. The difference of $1.73 per order may appear small, but that 2% increase in average cart size can dramatically affect a company’s bottom line.
While multiple factors contribute to this data, the most important may be the power of the tablet, which has quickly emerged as the third digital screen in consumers’ lives, in addition to desktops and smartphones.
Adobe’s Digital Marketing Insights report looked at data from 16.5 billion visits across more than 150 retailers to find that the average order value when shopping on a tablet was $123, compared with $102 on a desktop.
IPad users generally have higher education and higher income than general internet users. The same Adobe study found that tablet owners more often fall in the 18-34 age demographic, and that 29% have an annual income over $75,000. The group has proven a lucrative customer segment for retailers.
Beyond the demographics, the iPad’s interactivity (aka touchscreen) may make shopping easier than desktop, despite the smaller screen size. A 2011 study reported that 52% of tablet owners prefer to shop online using their tablets, while 40% preferred using a traditional computer.
The moral of the story for retailers? Tablet users are a key customer group and their influence will surely grow through 2012 and beyond.
But searches don’t take longer on mobile because the devices are harder to use, but rather, because mobile searchers and shoppers are task-focused and more specific in what they’re seeking.
Microsoft reports that 70% of PC search tasks are completed in one week, while 70% of mobile search tasks are completed in one hour. Mobile searchers have a sense of urgency not seen as often in traditional search methods.
This difference has very real implications for both multi-channel retailers and ecommerce retailers. Mobile users are looking for information or assistance to help them make sourcing and buying decisions right at the point of sale: 88% of consumers searching on a mobile device will make a purchase within 24 hours.
As savvy retailers understand, mobile shoppers need to be able to simply research products and quickly make a purchase. Therefore, there should be as little extraneous content included on mobile commerce websites.
In contrast, a full desktop site is packed with brand-related content, community interaction, company information and detailed research methods. Mobile, on the other hand, is lean, mean and clean.
While smartphones and tablets are still in the relatively early stages of adoption, they are already showing persistently higher click-through rates for search advertising.
A Marin Software study found that consumers are more likely to click on search results ads when using smartphones or tablets than when using a desktop or laptop. Actual click-through rates in Q4 2011 measured 1.25% for smartphones, 1.31% for tablets and 0.95% for desktops and laptops. Performics reported that mobile click-through rates were 45% higher than desktop through the end of 2011 and January 2012.
Click-through rates on search advertising are tracked closely because they’re important indicators of the intention of the searcher. Higher click-through rates are associated with searches of a commercial or consumer nature and translate into a more valuable consumer for both advertisers and retailers.
That more valuable consumer is now on mobile and tablet.
We tend to think of mobile as synonymous with “on-the-go,” and picture the mobile shopper browsing or shopping during commute times. However, it’s social media activities and email, not online shopping, that dominate commuters’ time.
When we consider mobile vs. desktop, we see that hourly trends vary based on device type. According to datafrom Google Mobile Ads, searches from computers mirrors time spent at work, while tablet usage spikes dramatically at night. And people searching on their mobile phones overlaps both periods, growing steadily throughout the day and peaking at 9 p.m.
While both tablets and smartphones can viewed as “lean back” devices, smartphones alone are used on-the-go throughout the day and evening, including time at work and time at home.
Yes, we’re living in an app culture. Yet the power of the mobile website (i.e. a site reached by browsing, not via an app) tends to get overlooked amidst all the hype.
Consider that 30% of all social media traffic originates on mobile devices. Of that traffic, over 42 million people accessed social networks via their mobile browsers in 2011, while 38.5 million accessed via mobile apps.
Marketers need to see that, with the exception of certain niches like gaming, the mobile web is still essential and apps additional. The mobile web is bringing in business for all customers, whereas apps can be viewed like loyalty programs for repeat customers.
Apps can be a big part of a mobile strategy, but are best for repeat customers who already know the brand and have downloaded the app. Unless your business exclusively deals with repeat customers, it’s best to start by tackling your mobile web presence and augment your mobile strategy with apps.
By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the web through mobile devices than through PCs. And sales of smartphones continue to exceed all other types of computing devices combined, including tablets. Canalys reported that 488 million smarthphones were shipped worldwide in 2011, compared with 415 million “total client PCs,” including 63 million tablets. Finally, tablet ownership in the U.S. nearly doubled this past holiday season (mid-December to early January).
The macro trend is clear: The variety and complexity of connected devices will continue to grow. There’s no doubt that 2012 will be an fascinating and innovative year for mobile commerce.
Right, I thought the news about iPad 3 coming out are just rumours but it seem like its going to happen pretty soon. I am due to get my iPad 2 next month and here’s a new one. I don’t know exactly what the differences would be so let’s all sit together and read this article I’ve just seen.
Anybody hoping for an ARM-based MacBook Air might have to wait … possibly forever. The iPad and forthcoming iPad 3 release will probably get more attention. Apple Insider is saying: “After meeting with Apple chief executive Tim Cook and chief financial officer Peter Openheimer, Citi analysts noted a strong iPad outlook leaving little likelihood of an ARM-based MacBook Air, vast growth potential in China, an indistinct future role for Apple TV, and the strength and importance of iCloud.”
The craziness of rumors for the Apple iPad 3 release date go at a dizzying pace, the release date alone has gone through at least three different phases of rumors, while iPad 3 featuresand iPad 3 specs have ranged from heavy Siri integration, 4G wireless capabilities, the possibility of it being an iPad2s instead of an iPad3 (a la the old iPhone switcheroo from last fall where the iPhone 5 release date became and iPhone 4s release) and heavy iCloud and iTunes uses for music and videos via TV shows and movies. No matter what happens, an iPad 3 should have many features that allow for music consumption, whether it’s MP3 and audio streams, live concert video like theCoachella web cast / live stream or just a daily watching of music videos.
CNET even contemplates MacBook Air going away, saying:
“Tim Cook reiterated his view that rapid innovation on the iOS platform (and mobile OS platforms in general) will significantly broaden the use case for tablets, eventually pushing annual tablet volumes above those of traditional PCs. We have wondered whether Apple might offer an ARM-based version of MacBook Air at some point; we walked away from this meeting with the impression that Apple feels iPad satisfies–or will soon satisfy–the needs of those who might have been interested in such a product.”
Panasonic aims to provide business users with rugged and durable Android tablet, which is set to launch later this year.
The device sports a white bezel with a black trim and the first thing we noticed was that it was quite heavy to hold in one hand – and seemed to weigh abit more than the 970g touted.
The Toughpad has a 10.1in display with a resolution of 1,024×768. Another feature that is immediately noticeable is the matte finish on the screen, which gives it quite a dull appearance, but makes it easy to view in bright lighting condition. We found the screen responded well to hand gestures and input from the included stylus. The hard buttons along the bottom were a bit awkward to press, but screen will be used to navigate most of the time so this isn’t too much of a problem.
Panasonic will ship the device with Android Honeycomb 3.2, and it isexpected to be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich after release. The tablet will be powered by a Marvell 1.2GHz dual-core processor, which comes with a system-on-a-chip FIPS 140-2 level 2 security. This will give it an advantage over regular tablets such as the iPad 2, and be especially attractive to those who want to store confidential information.
Ports include micro HDMI, micro SD and micro USB slots and these are sealed away tightly on the back along with the battery. The manufacturer touts a 10-hour battery life, and Panasonic will allow the cell to be replaced.
Panasonic wasn’t keen for us to drop test the device, claiming that it was a hand built prototype. However, the firm is confident that the tablet will be able to survice drops onto hard surfaces from heights of up to 4 feet and will offer a three year warranty to back up its claims.
The Toughpad is set to launch in spring 2012, and it is expected to retail at €850 + VAT for the standard model and €999 + VAT for the 3G edition.