Gujarat Government Websites to Get Face-Lift, Connect to Social Media

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Websites of various departments of Gujarat government will soon be seen in a new avatar with fresh user-friendly content along with integration of social mediaplatforms in a bid to deliver more reliable, accurate and updated information to people.The state government has also directed all its departments to ensure that content of all its websites is in both Gujarati and English languages.

Apart from making websites more accurate, attractive and user-friendly, the government has also planned to make them more secure and participative, said Science and Technology department secretary Dhananjay Dwivedi.

“Our objective is to improve the overall content of the websites and deliver more reliable, trusted and updated information to users. We also want to streamline the entire process of website design. Thus, we have issued guidelines to all the departments to achieve this objective,” he said.

Dwivedi’s department recently formulated a comprehensive set of guidelines for integration of social media and for designing, maintaining, promoting, updating, developing, and securing the websites.

These guidelines have now been sent to government departments, boards, corporations and societies for their implementation and follow up.

One of the key features of the guidelines is the use of Gujarati language and use of social media platforms to promote the website and engage with users.

Now, all the departments will have to ensure that content of their website would be available in Gujarati as well as in English against the present case wherein several websites have only English text.

“Websites shall be bilingual (Gujarati and English). In case the current website is not bilingual, the respective organisation shall take necessary steps to render it bilingual within six months”, stated the guideline document sent to

various departments. The departments have also been asked to integrate various social media platforms into their websites. These platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, should also be used to promote the website, stated the guidelines.

“Just like websites, social media has become one of the means to reach out to people and tell them about various government schemes. It also enables us to get quick feedback and establish dialogue with stakeholders. Thus, we have also decided to enhance our presence on the social media for greater engagement,” said Dwivedi.

The guidelines also put an extra emphasis on regular updates. Now, the departments will be required to update their website once every 15 days and also have to regularly monitor and assess the content to ensure authenticity and eliminate duplication.

To carry out these tasks, the government has also permitted these departments to appoint a nodal officer to suggest necessary changes and modification time to time. Apart from the nodal officer, the departments have also been given permission to appoint a designated officer for regular monitoring of website performance, security, and availability.

He is also required to supervise periodic security audit and conduct analysis of website traffic as well as to provide feedback to the development team, as per the guidelines.

Just like corporates who give a special emphasis on ensuring that the website user visits it again, the guidelines also asked the departments to keep the content on the portals engaging and user-friendly.

“The content of the website should be kept user-friendly, attractive and informative for maintaining stake-holder’s interest for re-visiting the website,” stated the guidelines.

To promote the websites among the masses, the government has now made it mandatory to print the domain name (URL) on various stationery used by respective department.

“All the necessary items of the organisation, such as letter-heads, visiting cards, publicity material such as brochures and annual reports, must carry the domain name (URL) of the website. This URL should also be part of e-mail signature for all the outgoing emails,” as per the guidelines.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Specifications, Press Render Leaked; Galaxy S6 Edge Plus Pictured

Ahead of Samsung’s anticipated August 13 launch event to be held in New York, where the company is likely to reveal Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, we have been treated again with leaked innards of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 successor, apart from a press render that includes the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.This time it comes from usually spot-on tipster Evan Blass, popularly known as @evleaks, who in a tweet has listed some of the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S6 Price Drop Incoming After ‘Below Expectations’ Sales Numbers)

According to Blass, the upcoming phablet is codenamed Samsung Noble and comes with model number SM-N920, which goes in line with an earlier leak suggesting similar model numbers of the variants of the Galaxy Note 5 for different markets.

Under the hood, the Galaxy Note 5 is said to feature an octa-core Exynos 7420 processor (quad-core 2.1GHz, quad-core 1.5GHz) coupled with 4GB of RAM. The handset is said to feature 32GB of built-in storage and will not support external storage support. Much like previous leaks, Blass also claimed that Android 5.1.1 Lollipop-based Galaxy Note 5 will sport a 16-megapixel rear camera alongside 5-megapixel front camera.

Alongside, Blass released an image of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. Not much can be derived from the image, beyond the two smartphones being similar in size, and the presence of the S Pen.

Some of the previously leaked details of the Galaxy Note 5 tip that the smartphone would sport an eject-able S Pen that could be popped out from the body manually much like previous versions. The handset is said to feature a USB 3.1 Type-C port.

Last week, the camera module on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus was spotted on an Indian import/ export manifest site. Additionally, pricing of the upcoming smartphone was also tipped. The Indian import/ export site, Zauba, listed the 16-megapixel camera module of the Samsung model SM-G928V, believed to be the Verizon bound Galaxy S6 Edge Plus model, as shipped on July 24.

The European prices of the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus were also tipped to start at EUR 799 (approximately Rs. 56,000) for the 32GB model. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ has been rumoured to be the large-screen variant of the Galaxy S6 Edge, and can even be considered the dual-edge display version of the Galaxy Note 5.

We will have to wait till Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event on August 13 to see what the South Korean giant has up its sleeves

Apple Pushed to Third Spot in Chinese Smartphone Market: Canalys

Two Chinese smartphone makers pushed US technology giant Apple into third place in the world’s biggest market in the second quarter, an independent analyst firm said Monday.Upstart Xiaomi, known for delivering high-performance products at cheap prices, was the largest smartphone vendor in China based on shipments with a 15.9 percent market share in the April-June period, Canalys said in a press release.

Telecom equipment maker Huawei was close behind at 15.7 percent, it said, followed by Apple, South Korea’s Samsung and Chinese firm Vivo, without giving the percentages for those three.

US technology giant Apple had taken top spot in the Canalys rankings for the first three months of 2015, and its third place showing came despite the launch of its large-screen iPhone 6 (Review | Pictures) and iPhone 6 Plus (Review | Pictures) last autumn.

“Competition among major brands has never been so intense,” Wang Jingwen, an analyst at Canalys, said in the statement. “Xiaomi is under immense pressure to maintain its top position in the quarters to come.”

China is the world’s largest smartphone market by shipments, Canalys has said previously.

Apple’s iPhone sales surged 85 percent in Greater China which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan with revenue from the region more than doubling to $13 billion (roughly Rs. 83,138 crores) for the latest quarter ended June 27, according to the company.

“We remain extremely bullish on China and we are continuing to invest,” Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said last month when the company announced earnings.

“We would be foolish to change our plans. I think China is a fantastic geography with an incredible, unprecedented level of opportunity,” he said.

Huawei said in July that its global smartphone shipments surged 39 percent year-on-year in the first half of this year to 48.2 million as it focussed on mid- to high-end models.

But a top Huawei executive said last month that his company and Xiaomi were pitching to different segments of the Chinese market.

“We’re different than Xiaomi. No two companies are alike,” Ken Hu, Huawei deputy chairman and currently rotating chief executive officer, told journalists.

“If you want to compare us to other companies, you can see from the increase in (sales) volume that we have a lot of advantages.”

Industry officials say Huawei has targeted Samsung as it seeks to be the king ofAndroid smartphones in China. Huawei is also investing in 5G technology for future growth.

Nasa Working to Avoid Traffic Jams Around Mars

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With two more Mars orbiters sent into space last year, including India’s MOM probe, traffic has picked up around the red planet – so much so that Nasa has bolstered its traffic monitoring process to avoid spacecraft collisions.The US space agency has beefed up a process of traffic monitoring, communication and manoeuvre planning to ensure that Mars orbiters do not approach each other too closely.

Last year’s addition of two new spacecraft orbiting Mars brought the census of active Mars orbiters to five, the most ever, Nasa said.

Nasa’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission joined the 2003 Mars Express from ESA (the European Space Agency) and two from Nasa: the 2001 Mars Odyssey and the 2006 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The newly enhanced collision-avoidance process also tracks the approximate location of Nasa’s Mars Global

Surveyor, a 1997 orbiter that is no longer working. It’s not just the total number that matters, but also the types of orbits missions use for achieving their science goals.

“Previously, collision avoidance was coordinated between the Odyssey and MRO navigation teams,” said Robert Shotwell, Mars Programme chief engineer at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

“There was less of a possibility of an issue. MAVEN’s highly elliptical orbit, crossing the altitudes of other orbits, changes the probability that someone will need to do a collision-avoidance manoeuvre.

“We track all the orbiters much more closely now. There’s still a low probability of needing a manoeuvre, but it’s something we need to manage,” said Shotwell.

Traffic management at Mars is much less complex than in Earth orbit, where more than 1,000 active orbiters plus additional pieces of inactive hardware add to hazards.

As Mars exploration intensifies, though, and will continue to do so with future missions, precautions are increasing.

The new process was established to manage this growth as new members are added to the Mars orbital community in years to come, Nasa said.

All five active Mars orbiters use the communication and tracking services of Nasa’s Deep Space Network, which is managed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This brings trajectory information together, and engineers can run computer projections of future trajectories out to a few weeks ahead for comparisons.

“It’s a monitoring function to anticipate when traffic will get heavy,” said Joseph Guinn, manager of JPL’s Mission Design and Navigation Section.

“When two spacecraft are predicted to come too close to one another, we give people a heads-up in advance so the project teams can start coordinating about whether any manoeuvres are needed,” said Guinn.

The amount of uncertainty in the predicted location of a Mars orbiter a few days ahead is more than two kilometres

China Tightens Controls on Export of Drones, Supercomputers

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China is tightening controls on exports of some drones and powerful computers and will require firms to register to ensure they do not “compromise national security”, state media reported Sunday.From August 15, manufacturers of certain powerful drones and computers will have to give technical details to the authorities to obtain a licence prior to export, Xinhua news agency said.

The new regulations from the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs are aimed in particular at drones which can fly for more than one hour and at heights of more than 15,420 metres (50,000 feet).

In the first five months of 2015, China exported some 160,000 civilian drones, a jump of 70 percent year-on-year, worth more than $120 million (roughly Rs. 767 crores), the official China Daily newspaper reported last month.

Leading Chinese maker DJI dominates 70 of the global market. But this manufacturing giant has ensured its products “were not involved in these (new) export controls”, according to a statement reported by Chinese media, suggesting the government was mainly interested in restricting exports of military technology.

The tightening of regulations comes two weeks after an incident in disputed Kashmir in which the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian “spy drone”, reportedly Chinese-made.

China is also likely tightening controls on exports of powerful computers as it looks to maintain its edge in the global supercomputer battle long dominated by US-Japanese rivalry.

Mt. Gox Bitcoin CEO ‘Misused Customer Funds’: Japanese Media

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Mark Karpeles, the head of the collapsed Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange who was arrestedin Tokyo, is facing fresh allegations that he misused $8.9 million (roughly Rs. 56 crores) in customers’ deposits, Japanese media reported Sunday.French-born Karpeles, 30, was arrested on Saturday after a series of fraud allegations led to the Tokyo-based exchange’s spectacular collapse last year and hammered the digital currency’s reputation.

Karpeles is suspected of manipulating data on the exchange’s computer system in 2013 to artificially create about $1 million (roughly Rs. 6 crores) in Bitcoins, while police were also investigating his possible involvement in a massive loss of the virtual currency in 2014.

He was sent to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors’ Office Sunday morning for further questioning, public broadcaster NHK said.

Police now suspect that he illegally spent customer deposits worth about JPY 1.1 billion ($8.9 million), according to NHK and the best-selling Yomiuri newspaper.

He is suspected of misusing the funds privately and sending them to his other firms, the news reports said.

Police are expected to rearrest him on suspicion of professional embezzlement over the suspected misuse of funds, the Yomiuri said, quoting police sources.

Under the Japanese criminal justice system, police can hold a suspect without charge for up to three weeks, during which time they may carry out vigorous interrogations in an attempt to extract a confession.

Karpeles reportedly denied all allegations. His lawyers were not immediately available to comment.

Before his arrest, Karpeles told the Nikkei business daily that he never misused customers’ funds and he still suspected outside hackers had been stealing Bitcoins for years.

The global virtual currency community was shaken by the shuttering of Mt. Gox, which froze withdrawals in early 2014 because of what the firm said was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoins that allowed hackers to pilfer them.

The Mt. Gox exchange which once boasted of handling around 80 percent of global Bitcoin transactions filed for bankruptcy protection soon after the cyber-money went missing, admitting it had lost 850,000 coins worth 48 billion yen (roughly Rs. 2,474 crores). They were worth about $480 million (roughly Rs. 3,069 crores) at the time of the disappearance.

Karpeles later said he had found some 200,000 of the lost Bitcoins in a “cold wallet” a storage device such as a memory stick that is not connected to other computers.

Japanese media, citing police, have said investigators suspect Karpeles knew details about the missing Bitcoins which were transferred by his exchange to a separate account without notifying depositors.

Bitcoins are generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the planet and are not backed by any government or central bank, unlike traditional currencies.

Investors have demanded answers from Karpeles and called on the firm’s court-appointed administrators to publicise its data so that hackers around the world can help analyse what happened at Mt. Gox.

“I knew it. I thought it’s absolutely strange that all of them disappeared only because of hacking,” a 23-year-old investor who saved his Bitcoins at the exchange told the Mainichi Shimbun.

German Automakers Agree on Deal to Buy Nokia’s Here

A consortium of German premium carmakers has agreed to buy Nokia’s mapping business Here for EUR 2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 17,523 crores), in a push to extend the reach of automakers into digital services for connected cars.The three automaker partners – Daimler BMW and Volkswagen’s premium division Audi – will each hold an equal stake in Here and none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest, they said in a joint statement.

The Finnish network equipment maker said the transaction has an enterprise value of EUR 2.8 billion, which includes the assumption of nearly 300 million euros in Here liabilities. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

“For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving,” the buyers said in a joint statement.

Nokia said it expects to book a gain on the sale, including cumulative foreign exchange translation differences, worth around EUR 1 billion.

The Finnish company is shedding the maps business to help it focus on integrating its 15.6 billion-euro purchase of Alcatel-Lucent, a deal that will create the world’s second largest network equipment maker.

Nokia built its mapping and location business on the back of an $8.1 billion (roughly Rs. 51,801 crores) acquisition in 2008 of US-based Navteq, a maker of geographic information systems used in the automotive industry. It was Nokia’s largest deal ever, prior to the planned Alcatel-Lucent merger.

Here provides mapping and location intelligence for nearly 200 countries in more than 50 languages and is one of the main providers of mapping and location services. The company will continue to develop its position as a strong and independent provider of maps and location-based services

Intelligent mapping systems are the basis on which self-driving cars linked to wireless networks can perform intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is transmitted to the car.

In the future, such mapping systems will have a role to play in collision detection and other features of self-driving cars.

Some Indian ISPs Seem to Be Blocking Porn Websites

Users on Reddit and Twitter are reporting that some Indian ISPs are blocking popular porn sites. NDTV Gadgets has been able to independently confirm that customers of MTNL and Hathway in Mumbai are greeted by a blank page when visiting websites like Youporn and Pornhub, but websites seem to be loading just fine on Airtel in Delhi.

“11 out of these top 13 porn sites showing blank pages here on Spectranet in Delhi,”wrote one Reddit user. MTNL users on the same thread report conflicting versions, with some saying websites have been blocked, and others contradicting that statement.

Some users of other ISPs like BSNL and ACT Broadband are also reporting blocks, with many saying they are greeted by the message “This site has been blocked as per the instruction of the competent authority” when visiting popular porn websites.

There has been talk of banning porn websites in the country, but the Supreme Court recently declined a plea to pass an interim order to block porn websites in India.

“Such interim orders cannot be passed by this court. Somebody may come to the court and say look I am above 18 and how can you stop me from watching it within the four walls of my room. It is a violation of Article 21 [right to personal liberty],” Chief Justice H.L. Dattu reportedly said last month.

iPhone 6s Force Touch Panel Reportedly Enters Mass Production

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Details about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been leaked several times in the recent past, and the most recent reports had tipped several specifications and features, including Force Touch technology. Now, a new report claims that the Force Touch panels for the handsets have entered the mass production stage.

A report from Digitimes, claims that Apple suppliers had already started shipping the Force Touch panels in limited numbers in June, before the full-blown production began in July. Apple was last month also tipped to be preparing for the largest initial production run for its next iPhones by the end of the year, asking suppliers to manufacture 85 million to 90 million units of two new models with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays.

Furthermore, Taipei Times added that TPK Holding Co., which is said to be Apple’s chief supplier for pressure-sensitive Force Touch panels, is expecting a widespread use of these sensors by later this year. “We believe that pressure sensors for force touchpanels will see widespread adoption across the mobile-device market this year,” Taipei Times quoted Michael Chung, TPK Chief Executive Officer. The announcement was made while disclosing the company’s Q2 revenue growth meeting.

The Force Touch technology was first introduced in the Apple Watch, followed by the new 12-inch MacBook. It can detect different touch pressures which can then be used to display more options to users than regular touch.

The report is in line with several other leaks in the past few months, with the mostrecent indicating the new iPhone models will be slightly longer (0.15mm) and thicker (0.2mm) to accommodate the Force Touch technology, and feature a stronger Series 7000 aluminium build.

So far, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are expected to feature the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays respectively as last year’s models, but bring additions like 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera instead of an 8-megapixel offering, and anupgraded front-facing FaceTime camera with 1080p recording apart from a front-facing flash, and a more efficient Qualcomm LTE modem.

Uber, Driver Attorneys Manoeuvre Toward Crucial Hearing

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Uber Technologies Inc is jostling with drivers suing for reimbursement of their expenses in advance of an important hearing next week in the fight over whether drivers are independent contractors or employees entitled to benefits.

Three drivers sued Uber in a federal court in San Francisco, contending they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.

If allowed to proceed as a class action, the 2013 lawsuit could cover more than 160,000 California drivers and give plaintiffs leverage to negotiate a settlement.

Now, both sides are trying to demonstrate to US District Judge Edward Chen that they command the support of drivers in the run-up to a hearing on class certification next week. In court filings, Uber cited written statements from more than 400 drivers supporting the company, with some arguing they prefer the flexibility of Uber’s current model.

That prompted attorneys for the three plaintiffs to call some of the drivers cited by Uber, according to court filings. Some of them said Uber did not tell them they could obtain mileage reimbursement should the case succeed.

“I would like to have my expenses reimbursed should I be entitled to obtain them under the law,” driver Daniel Beltran said in a sworn statement filed in court.

Uber fired back late on Thursday, saying it did not mislead anyone.

“Uber and its counsel were careful to ensure that all drivers with whom they spoke were well informed of the reasons for the conversation and the fact that it was completely voluntary,” the company said in a court filing.

One of the fastest-growing sharing-economy companies, Uber operates in 57 countries, with an estimated value of more than $40 billion.

The results of Uber’s legal battle could reshape the sharing economy, as companies say the contractor model allows for flexibility that many see as important to their success. An ultimate finding that drivers are employees could raise Uber’s costs beyond the lawsuits’ scope and force it to pay Social Security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance.