Category Archives: News

Wacom to Manga Management

The article will provide a reader with information on Wacom to Manga Management. Graphics tablet manufacturer Wacom has gone all anime – teaming up with Japanese comic book and digital art craze Manga for a quirky special release. Bamboo Manga is especially for those fans who not only enjoy following these distinctive digital fellows but also like to try their hand at redrawing the characters and even designing their own. The special pack combines Wacom’s popular Bamboo Pen and Touch tablet with specialist software Manga Studio Debut 4 and Anime Studio Debut 8. So whether a user is a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan or a My-HiME enthusiast, a user can carry these characters around in his mind and recreate them whenever and wherever artistic inclination strikes.

Manga Studio gives a user with an access to traditional Manga-style drawing tools and effects plus the all-essential word balloons to insert the own dialogue. Once a users masterpiece is complete, Anime Studio breathes life into the scribbled cartoon chums with audio, video and special effects for 2D movies, cartoons, anime and cut-out animations. Manga is a massive industry, with a global following and scores of spin-offs. With Manga Wacom a user could channel the artistic flair and create unique graphical illustrations in the style of these enchanting oriental characters. But Wacom has even greater designs on these discernible digital creatures. It’s primed to join the Manga convention circuit, inviting the most devoted Manga-kas to turn their hands at creating the characters – much like those theme park caricaturists – with their own quirky Japanese still-life models at the disposal of their Bamboo Pen. Wacom and Manga is a natural match-up, as Manga has experienced a real revolution in the advent of commercial graphics devices. The Wacom responds as if pen on paper, meaning the digital artist can hand-draw characters straight to PC before activating their own anime adventures.

String the designs together for storyboards, fight scenes, even whole episodes. Then share via social networking sites or Manga communities. Akin to most multi-touch displays, this distinctive black and green tablet responds to gestures such as pinch to zoom and flick to rotate. It also lets a user use pen and multi-touch together to keep the digital design flowing and the stories going. After reading the article, a user would have gained knowledge and understanding on Wacom to Manga Management.

Google Builds Artificial Brain Which Can Recognize A Cat

The Google X laboratory has invented some pretty cool stuff: refrigerators that can order groceries when food runs low, elevators that can perhaps reach outer space, self-driving cars. So it’s no surprise that their most recent design is the most advanced, highest functioning, most awesome invention ever… a computer that likes watching YouTube cats?

Okay, it’s a bit more advanced than that. Several years ago, Google scientists began creating a neural network for machine learning. The technique Google X employed for this project is called the “deep learning,” a method defined by its massive scale. In layman’s terms, they connected 16,000 computer processors and let the network they created roam free on the Internet so as to simulate a human brain learning.  Stanford University computer scientist Andrew Y. Ng, led the Google team in feeding the neural network 10 million random digital images from YouTube videos. The machine was not “supervised,” i.e. it was not told what a cat is or what features a cat has; it simply looked at the data randomly fed to it. Ng found that there was a small part of the computer’s “brain” that taught itself to recognize felines. “It basically invented the concept of a cat,” Google fellow Jeff Dean told the New York Times.

So Google may have created a machine that can teach itself. But what Ng and his team have done is not as new as a user may think. Over the years, as the scale of software simulations has grown, machine learning systems have advanced; last year, Microsoft scientists suggested that the “deep learning” technique could be used to build computer systems to understand human speech. This Google X machine is the cream of the crop—twice as accurate as any other machine before it. However, “it is worth noting that our network is still tiny compared to the human visual cortex,” the researchers wrote, “which is a million times larger in terms of the number of neurons and synapses.”

After “viewing” random pictures from random YouTube videos, the neural network created a digital image of a cat based on its “memory” of the shapes it saw in the images. The cat the computer created is not any specific cat, but what the computer imagines to be a cat. Plato had his Forms, and now Google has its computer-generated cat image.

Google Makes First UK Acquisition

Google has historically maintained a steady pace of acquiring small, privately held companies and, after a brief lull due to the recession, now expects to be making about one acquisition per month, mainly in lieu of hiring.

In their first foray into the UK market Google has bought Plink, a small company which makes a mobile app that recognizes works of art. Plink was founded by Mark Cummins and James Philbin, both of whom have PhDs from Oxford, and launched publicly only four months ago. According to their blog post announcing the deal they will no longer be developing Plink but instead will be working on the Google Goggles visual search project. The visual search project is a Google Labs experiment that currently runs only on Android devices and lets users search for landmarks, books, documents and other objects by taking photos with their mobile device.

Plink’s app — which is called PlinkArt, and runs on iPhones and Android devices — allows users to get information about works of art. When a user takes a photo of a painting with their phone, the app recognizes it and pulls up information about it. The Plink founders apparently got Google’s attention when they won $100,000 in an Android developers challenge last year. Google Goggles was released last year, and the company has said it plans to support iPhones and other platforms soon as well as Android. According to gigaom, in February the company showed a prototype version of the app doing text recognition and translation of a German restaurant menu.

Cummins and Philbin sign off by saying “The visual search engines of today can do some pretty cool things, but they still have a long long way to go. We’re looking forward to helping the Goggles team build a visual search engine that works not just for paintings or book covers, but for everything you see around you. There are beautiful things to be done with computer vision – it’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Positive Growth in IT Sector

According to the latest Report on Jobs published by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG there has been further recent growth in the IT jobs market with the worst of the recession having now passed and the number of IT jobs — permanent and contract — rising.

Kevin Green, the REC’s Chief Executive said:

“Permanent appointments increasing at the fastest pace for over 12 years is the clearest sign yet of a revival in the UK jobs market. A rise in both temporary and contract work at the sharpest rate for nearly three years shows how they continue to provide vital flexibility for UK businesses as well as a valuable route back into work for job-seekers.

“However, the overall outlook is tempered by public expenditure cuts which are already impacting on recruitment in this sector. Deep-rooted reforms and innovative approaches to public sector resourcing will be needed in order to maintain frontline services. While high-end sectors such as IT and engineering continue to show strong growth, demand is also increasing for secretarial and back-office support roles.”

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG commented:

“The UK jobs market seems to be going from strength to strength with permanent job placements growing at the fastest rate for over 12 years. These figures show that private sector confidence is returning and that the UK is exiting recession at a pace. However, a lot of the current hiring activity is going on in the public sector. The public sector recession which clearly is on the cards hasn’t hit the jobs market yet but when it does, the upwards trend we have seen over the last couple of months may come to a halt.”

There was particular demand for business analysts, software analysts, project managers and those with skills in software testing and SharePoint, Microsoft’s collaboration software with many projects that had been put on hold now taking off again as the economy appears to be turning the corner.

One potential fly in the ointment is the forthcoming election which, coming during a time of economic uncertainty, may cause some companies to hold back on IT spending a bit longer.

Concerns Over New Digital Economy Bill

How would you feel if your Internet connection was disconnected because someone somewhere thought copyright legislation was being breached (whether by you or anyone using your Internet connection)? Will you be happy to pay a tax to the government for Broadband use? How about nipping to your local coffee shop or library for a spot of free Internet browsing and finding it’s no longer available? Will you mind ISP staff monitoring what you’re doing online to ensure that certain legislation is not being breached?

All of these, and more, are possibilities contained within the new UK Digital Economy Bill which has now completed all stages in the House of Lords and is due for a second reading in the House of Commons. Although the final bill may look very different once it’s passed, many people are concerned that it will be rushed through committee stage without proper examination. The government is keen to get it on the books before the next general election is called but there could be wide-ranging implications for an unsuspecting public including giving unlimited power to the First Secretary of State to bring into law any legislation relating to file sharing on the Internet, without the consent of Parliament.

According to freedom campaigners such as the Open Rights Group the entertainment industry has most to gain, especially large copyright holding companies, whilst individuals and small companies have the most to lose through the threat of legal action based on what their friends, colleagues and customers do online. Even YouTube could face closure for hosting ‘unsanctioned’ footage of artists. An often-cited Ipsos-mori piece of research indicates the Film and TV industry is losing around £500m annually through online and physical piracy. How much of this would filter down to artists/employees is not known but the industry does claim that there is less money for things such as experimental projects that would bring greater variety to the mainstream.

Although there may be a need to address illegal downloading and breaches of copyright many see the new Digital Economy Bill as a very big hammer to crack a very small nut whilst others are concerned that this is the start of government getting involved in censorship of the Internet.

Mobile Airwaves to be Harmonised

The EU is encouraging its members to occupy the same airwaves for mobile broadband In an attempt to reach its 2013 target of 100% broadband coverage.

As members change from the traditional analogue to the new digital broadcasting method, the spectrum will be made available.

The change will make it much simpler to use devices “across borders” and permit consumers to use “roaming” services.

The plan is being likened by some to the rise of GSM mobile phones in the 1990s.

Using a common frequency as planned would be of significant benefit to rural communities as it travels over long distances.

The EU revealed that approximately 30% of its rural population is currently without high-speed internet access.

The development will use the 790-862 MHz sub-band radio spectrum  which is part of the “digital dividend” which was made available from the digital switchover.

However, during the changeover, the EU will be determined that all of its members agree on its technical standards.

 Without such agreements, different states may allow different uses for the spectrum which could cause interference, revealing that “radio spectrum knows no borders.”

A bonus for mobile broadband users is that the 790-862 MHz spectrum can easily penetrate buildings.

According to the commission, it is feasible that “3G and 4G mobile phone services that allow video streaming, full web browsing and fast downloads on a mobile handset,” could be used.

This would enable “high-speed broadband coverage of 100% of the EU population by the end of 2013.”

This switchover would need to be made by 2012 according to the EU and the developments are being encouraged by British broadcasting regulator Ofcom, who will study the proceedings with the government.

A spokesman announced, “the spectrum could deliver benefits such as mobile broadband or any other suitable services to EU citizens.”

An open auction for the frequencies made available by the switchover will be held in the UK, with many groups interested, such as broadcasters who could use some frequencies for high-definition services.

The EU has several “strategic objectives” to take advantage of the digital dividend, including a European-wide agreement on how the frequencies should be used and meeting targets on the technologies that will be allowed to use them, too.

By making agreements over the use of the frequencies, up to £45bn could be generated as a result.

Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for information society and media declared that “The digital dividend is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make ‘broadband for all’ a reality all over Europe and boost some of the most innovative sectors of our economy.”

“Europe will only make the most of the digital dividend if we work together on a common plan.”

Internet Set for Language Revolution

The internet is all set for the onset of what is seen by many to be the “biggest change” since its invention 40 years ago, according to regulator Icann.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) announced that coming to the conclusion of plans to allow non-Latin characters to be used in website addresses as Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs).

Initially accepted in 2008 , the change will see domain names written in Arabic and other Asian scripts.

The regulatory body revealed that applications would begin to be considered for approval by 16th of November if granted for approval on 30 October.

The president of Icann, Rod Beckstrom, believes that the first IDNs could be in use by “mid 2010.”

Beckstrom continued, “Of the 1.6 billion internet users today worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts that are not Latin-based.”

“So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world’s internet users today but more than half, probably, of the future users as the internet continues to spread.”

According to Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the board which has been set the duty of reviewing the change, IDN plans were approved in June 2008 but the system has been undergoing rigorous testing for much longer.

Dengate Thrush is pleased with the developments, stating that “you have to appreciate what a fantastically complicated technical feature this is.”

“What we have created is a different translation system.”

The alterations will be applied to the internet’s Domain Name System, which works in a similar way to a phone book, translating web domains names such as google.com into a series of numbers, more commonly known as IP addresses.

The modifications are due to allow this current system to understand and translate non-Latin characters.

Dengate Thrush added, “we are confident that it works because we have been testing it for a couple of years.”

“We’re really ready to start rolling it out.”

In China and Thailand, internet users can already access websites using their own language, as the website owners have used special work around techniques. However, these website addresses don’t work on all computers and are not internationally approved.

The meeting will take place in South Korea and include talks on the introduction of generic Top Level Domains (TLDs), such as .uk or .com.

The organisation allowed a relaxation on the rules regarding TLDs last year so that businesses could use their brand as a website address and individuals could use their names.

The US government founded Icann in 1998 in a big to control regulations on the internet, but has undergone years of criticism, leading to the relaxing of its control over the non-profit body.

Autonomy was provided to Icann when the US government signed an agreement on 1 October.

Nokia to Sue Apple

Finland’s mobile phone giant Nokia is planning to sue Apple for their failure to pass on royalties from their sales of the immensely popular iPhone.

Apple are said to have infringed upon Nokia’s mobile phone technology patents when developing the iPhone.

How much Nokia will be seeking has not yet been confirmed, but expert analyst Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray predicts that Nokia will seek 1-2% from every iPhone that is sold.

Over 30 million have been sold to date which would generate between $6 and $12 per iPhone, potentially totalling $400m.

Apple has recently announced third quarter profits of £1bn with the iPhone delivering a 7% growth, having to pass on 1-2% of its iPhone royalties would be relatively insignificant.

On the other hand, Nokia revealed a loss for the last quarter due to a downturn in sales; the first in a decade.

Nokia has confirmed agreements with approximately 40 companies, which included the majority of mobile phone handset makers, allowing the use of its technological advancements, but Apple had not signed the agreement.

Ilkka Rahnasto, vice-president of legal and intellectual property at Nokia explained, “the basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for.”

“Apple is also expected to follow this principle.”

Mr Rahnasto went on to say, that Nokia has actually invested over £36bn on research and development in the past two decades.

Highly respected Apple expert Mr Munster has confessed that a sum of $12 per phone was “unlikely,” but if Nokia did manage to prise such a high figure out of Apple, it “would not change our positive thesis on the iPhone and Apple.” He went on to add, that “ultimately, the resolution is uncertain.”

The BBC sought further information from Apple, but a spokesman for the technology giant revealed that the company didn’t comment on pending litigation.

Nokia have alleged a total of 10 patent infringements, applying to all models from the iPhone range since its 2007 launch. Some of the patents that have been allegedly breeched include wireless data technology, speech coding, encryption and security. Nokia went on to accuse Apple of “trying to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”

Microsoft Releases ‘Faster’ Windows

The brand new Windows 7 operating system (OS) is set to deliver “better battery life and quicker boot times,” according to Microsoft and Intel.

The statement was made during a press conference in San Fransisco, where engineers gave the new OS a stringent test.

Microsoft will be expecting Windows 7 to avoid the negative exposure generated through the release of Windows Vista, and joined Intel in saying they have never worked as closely and have released a product that “they are proud of”.

Mike Angiulo from Microsoft told the BBC, “we both made a larger investment than ever before on the engineer side to improve on the hardware and software.”

Collectively known by some as Wintel, the two companies began the day after Windows Vista was released over two years ago and used hundreds of engineers in the process of development.

Steve Smith, the vice president at Intel’s digital enterprise group “we have spent 20 years getting to know each other and have businesses that are very well aligned.”

Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat, the popular internet technology blog, believed that Windows Vista needed drastic improvement.

He went on to say, “the collaboration was in the name of making Windows 7 better and more bug-free than the January 2007 launch of Windows Vista, which was broadly criticised in the industry and was one of the best advertisements for buying a Mac in history.”

Engineers have looked into the technological advances made by Microsoft and Intel, such as improved energy efficiency, security and performance.

One demonstration involved two identical Lenovo T400 laptops playing the same video, one using the Windows 7 OS and the other using Vista. Microsoft reported that the machine that ran Windows 7 experienced a 20% improvement in power efficiency due to “timer coalescing,” a design that extends battery life by holding the processor in low power states.

Ruston Panabaker, Microsoft’s head programme manager wouldn’t comment on how much battery power Windows 7 would save computers, stating “we’re achieving a very significant amount of battery savings.”

Engineers at Microsoft and Intel believe that end performance was dependant upon how manufacturers configured their machines.

Engineers were capable of boot up a system running Windows 7 in just 11 seconds. Intel’s Mr Smith told that “what we showed today was real capability in actual scenarios.”

CNET’s Ina Fried had reported on Microsoft for over 5 years and felt that this was a hurdle that both Microsoft and Intel needed to cross.

Ms Fried insisted, “in order for the computer users to get the benefit of all this work, it’s down to what choices the PC maker makes. It requires them all to be talking to one another all the time.”

“In the Vista time-frame, we saw not necessarily the kind of communication that leads to happy users and I think they have really tried to address that this time.”

“We will see how far they have really got when we see those Windows systems shipping in October.”

Why Microsoft Needs Windows 7 to Succeed

Thursday, 22 October sees the highly anticipated arrival of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, with many believing that the future of the world’s largest software company will depend on its success.

The enormous scale of Microsoft’s grip on the market becomes clear when told of the 90% of computers relying on its Windows operating system, and over 1 billion people using it.

Microsoft’s last financial year saw a £35.7bn turnover with a net profit of approximately £9bn. Over half the profits generated were reliant upon Windows.

Experts have predicted that Microsoft’s stranglehold over the market was due to drop, with competitors Linux and Apple waiting to jump in. Many experts predict that software will be shifted to the “cloud,” where people connect to remote servers to access their software in a revolution to worldwide computing.

Microsoft brought about the attention of regulators at the US Department of Justice and the European Commission with ruthless actions towards competitors.

The release of its Vista operating system 3 years ago rendered many of its first users with unusable hardware and software; a crushing blow and seriously damaged its reputation with software developers and customers alike.

Most people still prefer Windows XP, Vista’s eight-year-old predecessor, with estimates suggesting that Vista has between 18.6% and 35% hold on the market.

Annette Jump, research director at technology firm Gartner, believes that “Vista is the worst-adopted operating system” whilst Microsoft International’s Jean-Philippe Courtois thinks “we don’t feel great about Vista adoption.”

This could be the only chance for Microsoft to regain the confidence that took a blow during the Vista period. Many Microsoft executives feel that they learnt a lot from what went wrong with Vista.

Windows 7 looks set to be released in good time, just 3 years after the release of Vista. Those that have tested it have reported it to be fast, secure, reliable, and easy to use. Microsoft have made big steps to avoid making the mistakes experienced with Vista, and prepared its partners for the release.

Mr Courtois believes that “the Windows ecosystem is the broadest in the world, and we have to take care of that,” with Alex Gruzen from Dell Computers surprised at how “the preparations for Windows 7 have been a remarkable step up from the days of dealing with Vista.”

He continued by revealing that “in the past, Microsoft looked at its operating system in isolation, and gave it to [manufacturers] to do whatever they wanted. Now they collaborate, help to figure out which third-party vendors are slowing down the system, help them improve their code.”