China to Launch Its First Micro-Gravity Satellite in April

China is set to launch its first micro-gravity experimental satellite in April, a media report said on Friday.

The Shijian-10 satellite arrived at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest Gansu province on Wednesday, ahead of its scheduled launch, the People’s Daily reported.

The Shijian-10 is the first micro-gravity experimental satellite in China designed for conducting scientific experiments in space, says Li Chunhua, deputy chief designer of the Shijian-10.

China to Launch Its First Micro-Gravity Satellite in April

It will perform a total of 19 experiments involving micro-gravity, micro-gravity combustion, space material, space radiation effects and space biotechnology during its 15-day mission.

At present, scientists all over the world are working on facilities to create micro-gravity conditions, such as parabolic aircraft, sounding rockets and other experimental platforms, which can provide a micro-gravity environment for a few minutes or less. But for longer studies, a satellite like Shijian-10 is a must.

The Shijian-10 is different from ordinary satellites in that it is returnable. After completing its mission, it will return with the results.

The Shijian-10 has unique shape, similar to that of a bullet.

In the launching process, it does not require payload fairing because the satellite itself takes on that protective role. Due to its short flight time, the satellite is equipped with chemical batteries instead of solar panels.

Internet Shouldn't Be the Monopoly of a Few, Says Communications Minister

Lauding the telecom watchdog’s decision on discriminatory pricing, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said Internet is one of the finest creations of the human mind and it should not become the monopoly of a few.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in a much-awaited regulatory order on Monday had said that no service provider would be allowed to charge “discriminatory tariffs” for data services on the basis of content.

Internet Shouldn't Be the Monopoly of a Few, Says Communications Minister

“We very much appreciate this decision of Trai whereby differential tariff in case of data services has been rejected. The view of our government from the beginning has been very clear, which I have also articulated in the Parliament, that is, Internet is one of the finest creations of human mind and it should not become the monopoly of few,” Prasad told reporters in New Delhi.

“Differential pricing on data, whether it is Free Basics or any other mode, is plainly not acceptable,” the minister said adding that the Internet “must be available without discrimination.”

The watchdog has also called for a fine of Rs. 50,000 per day for each act of contravention, subject to a cap of Rs. 50 lakh.

Prasad further said the government fully respected the freedom of expression and discourse on social media and Interned adding that “Our government is committed towards digital inclusion.”

He said that the government was expanding Digital India into every “nook and corner of the country, and taking extraordinary steps to empower the people through technology, to create a knowledge economy, the very concept,” in order to bring about digital inclusion.

The sector regulator’s move was seen as a setback to offerings such as Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel Zero.

Mumbai Travellers Log On as Google Starts Railway Station Wi-Fi

Google Inc. has begun offering free Wi-Fi to Mumbai train passengers in hopes of boosting its role in the Indian market.

Giggling groups of students, bored commuters and snack-shop vendors were all logging on Friday at Mumbai Central Train Station, the first of 400 stations the company plans to eventually reach with the service.

“If my train is leaving, and I need to search, don’t know where to go, then immediately I will get the answer,” student Divya Patel said excitedly while waiting for a train to her hometown of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat. “This is very good, and good for everyone.”

Free Wi-Fi is rare across India. Most of the country’s 300 million Internet users pay for personal access and often rely on slow-loading smartphone connectivity.

With a massive 1.25 billion population in India, including 6 million new Internet users every month, Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have set sights on expanding in the Indian market. Online retailers Amazon and eBay have also launched services in the country.

Indian also has homegrown online commerce companies but small businesses are still catching on. Fewer than 5 percent of the 50 million or so small businesses in India have a web page.

With more than 23 million people riding Indian railways every day, Google said free Internet in train stations will give high-speed access that many can’t afford. It also hopes to diversify India’s user base, given that less than a third of Internet users in India are women, and has been upgrading its services in Hindi and other languages spoken across India.

“Most of India is still not online,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai told reporters last month in New Delhi. “We want to bring access to as many people as possible,” he said.

Microsoft Now Labels Windows 10 as a Recommended Update

Nearly six months after releasing Windows 10, Microsoft has begun pushing the new operating system as a ‘Recommended Update’ to users. While the change in the labelling (prior to the announcement it was an ‘optional’ update), will help many users upgrade their computer, it would also mean that things will become more annoying for those who don’t want Windows 10 on their system yet.

Last year, Microsoft said that it would categorise the Windows 10 update as a Recommended Updatein early 2016. That day has come. Microsoft on Monday confirmed that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1users now see Windows 10 as a Recommended Update in Windows Update application.

“As we shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. We updated the upgrade experience today to help our customers, who previously reserved their upgrade, schedule a time for their upgrade to take place,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.

While this has the potential to help many users out – at least those who were just not aware of the availability of the new operating system – in reality, this could have a negative impact on many as well. .

Microsoft Now Labels Windows 10 as a Recommended Update

By categorising Windows 10 as Recommended, Microsoft is ensuring that computers that have automatic downloads and installs set for recommended updates – many have – will fetch the upgrade and initiate the installation. Also, as seen previously, this also means that Microsoft will eat up a couple of GB of data on your system.

While the change wouldn’t absolutely force a user to upgrade to Windows 10, the odds of people accidentally initiating the download and installing it is very high now. For Microsoft, this also means that many more users, and in rather short time, will now embrace its new desktop operating system.

Microsoft announced last month that more than 200 million devices worldwide are running Windows 10 every month. The latest data from marketing research firm Net Applications claims that Windows 10 is now running on more computers than Windows XP or Windows 8.1.

While there’s no doubt that Windows 10 packs in a range of features and performance improvements, making it enticing for users to upgrade to the new operating system. At the same time, some credit for its fast adoption rate should be given to the company’s aggressive approach on pushing Windows 10. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for computers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Microsoft has also mandated its processor partners to ensure that they don’t support older versions of Windows starting next year.

TP-Link Launches Neffos C5 Max, Neffos C5, Neffos C5L Android Smartphones

TP-Link, a popular networking product manufacturer, following its announcement of its first smartphone brand ‘Neffos’ last month, on Thursday launched three new smartphones in its C5 series. The company launched Neffos C5 Max, Neffos C5, and Neffos C5L. The pricing and availability details of the dual-SIM Android 5.1 Lollipop-based smartphones have not been revealed yet.

“Neffos is a new journey for TP-Link to bring more extension of lifestyle to our users. We expect its performance in global market will provide us references to develop more and better products in the future,” said Justin Tu, Vice President of TP-Link, in a statement on Thursday. “The philosophy of ‘Smart& Simple’ is reflected in all our products that aim to make users’ life easier. TP-Link will continue to build a smart lifestyle.”

The Neffos C5 Max features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution IPS display and is backed by a 64-bit octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, clubbed with 2GB RAM and Mali-T720 MP3 GPU. It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The smartphone bears a 16GB inbuilt storage, which can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). The 4G LTE supporting handset measures 152x76x8.95mm, weighs 147 grams and is backed by a 3045mAh battery.

tp_link_neffos_c5.jpg

The Neffos C5 (seen above) features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution IPS display. It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The LTE supporting handset measures 144x72x8.8mm, weighs 141 grams, and is backed by a 2200mAh battery. Rest of the specifications match that of Neffos C5 Max.

The Neffos C5L features a 4.5-inch FWVGA (480×854 pixels) resolution IPS display and is backed by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor clocked at 1.1GHz, clubbed with 1GB RAM and Adreno 304 GPU. It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash along with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The smartphone bears an 8GB inbuilt storage, which can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). The LTE supporting Neffos C5L measures 136×67.7×10.15mm, weighs 154 grams and is backed by a 2000mAh battery.

WhatsApp Suffers Outage on New Year's Eve, Traditionally Its Busiest Day

Users across the world reported issues connecting to WhatsApp on New Year’s Eve, with services impacted for several hours before normalcy was restored.

“Earlier today, some people had trouble accessing WhatsApp. We investigated the problem and have restored access for everyone. We apologize for the inconvenience and wish everyone a happy new year,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Gadgets 360.

Earlier, users took to Twitter to complaint about problems connecting to WhatsApp. The messaging and voice calling client seemed to be having issues sending and receiving messages on both Android and iOS. Gadgets 360 was able to independently confirm the issue. Down Detector, a real time services outage monitor, also reported multiple issues.

WhatsApp Suffers Outage on New Year's Eve, Traditionally Its Busiest Day

Around 10pm IST on Thursday, several users started to note that they weren’t being able to send or receive messages or make calls via WhatsApp. It is not known what caused the problems, though it could just be a massive spike in traffic on New Year’s Eve, traditionally a day of record traffic for the app. The WhatsApp Status Twitter handle was silent on the downtime.

It is worth noting that not everyone faced the issue, though those who’re on the receiving end weren’t too pleased about it. “I feel sorry for the other poor souls,” Khamosh Pathak, a Vadodara-based resident told Gadgets 360.

WhatsApp announced in September that it had reached the 900 million monthly active users milestone. It is the world’s most widely used instant messaging client.

Windows 10 Surpasses 200 Million Installations Worldwide

At a media event in October, Microsoft announced that Windows 10, its newest desktop operating system, had surpassed 110 million installations worldwide – after its launch at the end of July. According to a new report, the install count is now well over 200 million. The achievement, if valid, comes roughly five months after the release of Windows 10.

There are several factors in play behind the fast adoption of Windows 10. The first being, Microsoft released the developer preview of the new operating system to enthusiasts last year. As of July 2015, there were more than 5 million registered Windows Insider participants. Which means that on the day of the release, Microsoft already had millions of users on Windows 10. The operating system is also free for Windows 8 and Windows 7 users, giving users a great incentive to upgrade their computer and experience an improved desktop experience coupled with advanced features such as Cortana. This means a large number of installs are coming from users of previous Windows versions.

Windows 10 Surpasses 200 Million Installations Worldwide

It is also worth pointing out that Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Windows 10 to users. As we’ve seen in the past few months, the company has been notifying Windows 7 and Windows 8 users about the availability of new desktop version, and it has also been downloading Windows 10 installation files to their computers, sometimes even without asking.

But nonetheless, 200 million installs is something Microsoft would want to boast about. Over the years, the slow adoption rate of new versions of Windows has been made fun of by rivals, including and especially Apple.

For a refresh, as of 2014, Microsoft had sold around 200 million licenses of Windows 8 – roughly 2 years after its 2012 launch. Windows 7 continues to lead the chart, it currently has around 600 million installs count. It had hit 100 million installs in six months since its release in late 2009. Apple’s OS X, across all its versions, was roughly being used by 80 million users as of June 2014.

WordPress 4.4 Out Now, Makes All Images Responsive & Adds Embeddable Posts

WordPress has released version 4.4, the latest update to its uber-popular content management platform. The company says this release is named “Clifford” in tribute to jazz musician Clifford Brown.

Evan Lorne / Shutterstock.com

Much more importantly, WordPress 4.4 offers a couple of new features to make your website a little more mobile-friendly and potentially more visible on other WordPress blogs and websites.

  • Responsive Images: All images uploaded into WordPress are automatically made responsive, so they’ll adapt in size to different devices and browser dimensions. “You don’t need to do anything to your theme, it just works,” the announcement says.
  • Embeddable Posts: WordPress is expanding its embeddable content options, which include the ability to embed a WordPress article from one site onto another WordPress site. From the announcement: “Simply drop a post URL into the editor and see an instant embed preview, complete with the title, excerpt, and featured image if you’ve set one. We’ll even include your site icon and links for comments and sharing.” WordPress 4.4 also adds embed support for Cloudup, Reddit Comments, ReverbNation, Speaker Deck and VideoPress.

WordPress 4.4 also brings with it the new “Twenty Sixteen” theme, the company’s annually updated default theme. As you’d expect, it’s responsive. And there are a number of updates to the backend that developers will want to know about; those are detailed on the 4.4 codex page.