Sunday, December 28, 2014

Indonesia halts search for missing AirAsia plane as night falls

 Indonesia called off until first light a search for an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board that went missing on Sunday after pilots asked to change course to avoid bad weather during a flight from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore.

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501, an Airbus 320-200 carrying 155 passengers and seven crew, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 6:17 a.m. (2317 GMT on Saturday). No distress signal had been sent, said Joko Muryo Atmodjo, an Indonesian transport ministry official.

On board were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain, plus a French pilot, the airline said in a statement, correcting earlier information.

Tatang Kurniadi, head of Indonesia's National Committee of Safety Transportation, expressed hope of locating the aircraft quickly and said it was too early to detect any of the so-called electronic pings from its black box recorder.

"We are using our capacity to search on sea and land. Hopefully we can find the location of the plane as soon as possible," he told a news conference.

"What I need to emphasize is until now, we have not found out how the plane fell or what kind of emergency it was."

Indonesia AirAsia is 49 percent owned by Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia (AIRA.KL), which has had a clean safety record since it began operating 13 years ago. The AirAsia group also has affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India. The aircraft had accumulated approximately 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights, according to Airbus (AIR.PA).

The pilots of QZ8501 "was requesting deviation due to en-route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost," the airline said in a statement. Singapore, Malaysia, Britain, South Korea and Australia offered to help in the search and any investigation. Malaysia said it was sending vessels and a C130 aircraft while Singapore had also sent a C130. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a P3 Orion aircraft was on standby if needed.


Flight QZ8501 was between Tanjung Pandan on Indonesia's Belitung island and Pontianak, in West Kalimantan province on Borneo - almost halfway between Surabaya and Singapore - when it went missing. There was bad weather over Belitung at the time and the aircraft had been flying at 32,000 feet before asking to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid clouds.

In both Surabaya and Singapore, anxious relatives of people on the plane awaited news.

Louise Sidharta was at Singapore's Changi Airport waiting for her fiancée to return from a family holiday.

"It was supposed to be their last vacation before we got married," she said.

A man named Purnomo told TVOne in Surabaya of a lucky escape.

"I should have been on the flight," he said. "We, seven people, had planned to go to Singapore for vacation but this morning I had an emergency. I had my passport in hand."

Tony Fernandes, chief of Malaysia's AirAsia, said he was heading to Surabaya.

"My only thoughts are with the passengers and my crew. We put our hope in the SAR (search and rescue) operation and thank the Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysian governments," he said on Twitter.

AirAsia swapped its distinctive bright red logo for a grey background on its website and social media accounts.

The incident comes during a troubled year for Malaysia-affiliated airlines. Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing on March 8 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board and has not been found.

On July 17, Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

Indonesia AirAsia has a fleet of 30 Airbus A320s. The missing plane has been in service for just over six years, according to

All AirAsia-branded airlines operate aircraft made by Airbus, which has orders for several hundred planes from the group. AirAsia is considered one of the European planemaker's most important customers.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cyclone Hudhud blasts India's east coast, at least three dead

Cyclone Hudhud blasted India's eastern seaboard on Sunday with gusts of up to 195 kilometres an hour (over 120 mph), uprooting trees, damaging buildings and killing at least three people despite a major evacuation effort.

The port city of Visakhapatnam, home to two million people and a major naval base, was hammered as the cyclone made landfall, unleashing the huge destructive force it had sucked up from the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Upended trees and wreckage were strewn across Visakhapatnam, known to locals as Vizag. Most people heeded warnings to take refuge, but three who ventured out were killed, officials said.

The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, the state that bore the brunt of Hudhud's onslaught, said the extent of damage would only become known after the storm abates.

"We are unable to ascertain the situation. Seventy percent of communication has totally collapsed ... this is the biggest calamity," N. Chandrababa Naidu told Headlines Today television.

"We are asking people not to come out of their houses," Naidu said, adding that damage assessment would start on Monday. "We are mobilising men and material immediately."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Naidu and promised "all possible assistance in relief and rescue operations", his central government said in a statement.

The low toll reported so far followed an operation to evacuate more than 150,000 people to minimise the risk to life from Hudhud - similar in size and power to cyclone Phailin that struck the area exactly a year ago.

After a lull as the eye of the storm passed over the city, winds regained massive potency. Forecasters warned Hudhud would blow strongly for several hours more, before wind speeds halve in the evening.

"Reverse windflow will be experienced by the city, which will again have a very great damage potential," L.S. Rathore, director-general of the state India Meteorological Department (IMD), told reporters in New Delhi.

The IMD forecast a storm surge of 1-2 metres above high tide that could result in flooding of low-lying coastal areas around Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam.


A Reuters reporter in Vizag said the storm had smashed his hotel's windows and flooded the ground floor. It was difficult even to open the door of his room, he said, as wind rushing through the corridors drove it shut again.

"I never imagined that a cyclone could be so dangerous and devastating," said one businessman who was staying in the hotel. "The noise it is making would terrify anyone."

An operations centre in state capital Hyderabad was inundated with calls from people seeking help, including 350 students stranded in a building with no food or water, said K. Hymavathi, a senior disaster management official.

Vizag port suspended operations on Saturday night, with its head saying that 17 ships which had been in the harbour were moving offshore where they would be less at risk from high seas.

The city airport was closed and train services suspended.

The IMD rated Hudhud as a very severe cyclonic storm that could pack gusts of 195 km/h and dump more than 24.5 cm (10 inches) of rain.

The cyclone was strong enough to have a "high humanitarian impact" on nearly 11 million people, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), run by the United Nations and the European Commission, said.

The evacuation effort was comparable to one preceding Cyclone Phailin, credited with minimising fatalities to 53. When a huge storm hit the same area 15 years ago, 10,000 people died.

Hudhud was likely to batter a 200-300 km stretch of coastline before losing force as it moves inland, forecasters said.

According to the IMD, peak wind speeds will drop to 60 km/h by Monday afternoon. Hudhud is expected to continue to dump heavy rains in northern and northeastern India and, eventually, snow when it reaches the Himalayan mountains.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Improve battery life on any mobile device

Poor battery life is a problem that affects all mobile users. This guide could help you better understand what is draining your battery.

We have written numerous articles with tips and tricks for improving battery life on iOS and Android, some of which you can find here, here, and here, but not everyone owns an iPhone or Android device. Despite which kind of mobile device you prefer, battery life tends to be an issue that we all face. Understanding what is draining your smartphone or tablet will help you squeeze the best possible battery life out of your device.
Display brightness

The screens on our mobile devices seem to be getting bigger and more vibrant with each passing year. We now have smartphones, like the LG G3 for example, with incredible 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution displays. While these screens are pretty to look at, they are killing our batteries. Unfortunately battery technology hasn't progressed nearly as fast as other sectors of the mobile industry.

Reducing the brightness of your display will help to improve battery life. You should also avoid using automatic brightness settings. This mode utilizes the phone's sensors, which, because they're in use all the time, actually drains your battery more rapidly than adjusting your brightness manually. Auto mode will also sometimes leave your display at a level that is far too bright for your environment.
No service

For cellular-connect devices, having no service can be a real pain. Unless a Wi-Fi network is available, your device becomes fairly useless if it doesn't have the ability to connect to the Internet. You may have also noticed that your battery drains more rapidly when you have an inconsistent signal. This happens because the device is continuously searching for a signal and attempting to communicate with a cell tower.

To conserve your battery, I recommend enabling Airplane mode or connecting to a Wi-Fi network (if available) if you will be in area with no service for an extended period of time.
Streaming video and playing games

As mentioned above, the display draws an incredibly large amount of power. Even more power is required when you are playing a game or streaming a movie. A few minutes of Angry Birds won't kill your device, but streaming an HD movie or playing a high-end video game can cut your battery life (and increase your data usage unless you are connected to a Wi-Fi network) by more than 50 percent.

If you will be away from your charger for a long time and don't have a portable juice pack, understand that battling your friends in the latest Clash of Clans war will see your battery life quickly reach zero.
GPS and location services

Have you ever noticed that your phone always seems to be on the verge of dying when you are lost? This is because of the GPS and navigation app you are using to try and get back home . Location services, which allow location-based apps and websites like Foursquare, Google Maps, and the camera to determine your location, can quickly drain your battery.

Using GPS and geotagging features, such as recording the location of your photos, sparingly will help keep your mobile device alive for longer. You can also disable location features for select apps and services in the settings menu of your device.

On an iPhone or iPad, head to Settings, select Privacy, and click on Location Services. Then, scroll down and choose System Services.
On a stock Android device, enter the settings menu, and click on Location.
For Windows Phone, click the Start button, select Settings, and tap Location
BlackBerry 10 users will find the option by entering Settings and selecting Location Services.

In addition to the GPS, having Bluetooth, NFC (if applicable), and Wi-Fi enabled will also cause some battery drain. If you don't use a pair of Bluetooth headphones or if your car doesn't have it, I recommend disabling it. The same goes for NFC, which many people don't actively use to begin with. As for Wi-Fi, I would toggle it on only when it's needed.
Background data

To ensure you never miss an email, headline, or an appointment, the apps on your mobile device are constantly pinging a server, satellite, or cell tower. This can sometimes lead to battery drain and even data overages. I recommend setting certain apps to only update and refresh over Wi-Fi, or not at all.

To disable background data on iOS, go into Settings, select General, followed by Background App Refresh. From here you can select certain apps you wish to prevent from running in the background or disable all of them.

On stock Android, enter Settings, select Data usage, click on an app, scroll to the bottom, and check the box that reads "Restrict background data." If you would like to restrict all background data, click the three-dot icon at the top-right corner of the Data usage menu and check the "Restrict background data" box.

Windows Phone 8.1 owners will find options to restrict background app data in the Data Sense app. As for BlackBerry 10 users, enter Settings, select Security and Privacy, followed by Application Permission, and change the Permissions bar to Run in Background. Once here, simply select an app from list that you would like to prevent from running in the background.

Monday, May 14, 2012

How to reset the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to factory state

Easily wipe out all the data from your iOS device and set it up as good as new.

At times, the Apple iOS running based device might turn sluggish or become wee-bit slow. There are several possible reasons for that - loads of applications, multiple email accounts, and so on. Now you would be looking to wipe the phone clean if you wish to start afresh. Especially, cleaning the device helps if someone else had been using it or you have installed loads of software on it.

In case of non-responsive app or screen, one can simply press and hold the home button along with the power/sleep key together for 10 seconds. The device will then reboot. This method can be used with iPhone, iPod Touch and even on iPad.

In order to reset the iOS device in factory state, you need follow a simple processor right on the device but ensure you have a PC or Mac with iTunes installed on it. Before wiping all the data, you can take the backup of your contacts and other apps by connecting the iOS device to iTunes and sync it normally.

Here's the quick guide to reset your iOS device to factory state.


Step One:

Open the Settings app and select the General option.

Step Two:

Scroll down and then select the Reset option.

Step Three:

From the available list of options, you can choose 'Erase All Content and Settings' to reset/format your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

Do note that selecting the 'Erase All Content' option from settings will remove everything - your contacts, apps, and every setting. So the iOS device basically gets restored to factory state and will reboot with iTunes icon showing on the screen.

LG Optimus 2X to get Android 4.0 later this year

LG has apparently delayed the Android 4.0 ICS Update for its flagship device by couple of months.

LG Mobile will release the Android 4.0 ICS update for its Optimus 2X in third quarter of this year. This has been revealed by LG Singapore on its Facebook account.

LG had earlier promised to release the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for its top of the line devices in second quarter of 2012.
LG Optimus L7, LG Optimus 2X, Android 4.0

So basically the users in Singapore can expect to receive it between July-September period. Most likely India based LG Optimux 2X users will get the Android 4.0 ICS update during same time if there is no delay.

It is to be noted that LG has already launched L-styled LG Optimus L7 smartphone which comes with Android 4.0 ICS running by default.

Like Sony, LG has been criticised for late roll out of operating system updates. Though LG is one the major players of the Android based smartphones, but timely delivery of updates will definitely affect the buying decisions of potential customers.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review


Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman! Yes, we now have another Android smartphone that carries the legendary brand name, the first one being the Sony Ericsson W8 Walkman. However, while the W8 was more or less a clone of the Sony Ericsson X8, the Live with Walkman is an entirely new device. It offers some decent specs as well, namely a 1GHz processor, 3.2-inch display, and both a rear and front-facing camera, which puts is right in the mid-range category of smartphones. But is it any good? Let us take it for a spin and find out...

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
The package contains:

  • Wired headset
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • 2GB microSD card
  • Warranty and a getting started guide


First of all, kudos to Sony Ericsson for designing a smartphone that does not have the boring-slab-o-plastic appearance. Yes, plastic may be what it is made out of, yet still, we quite like the Live's fresh looks and colorful accents, and we believe that the youngerly crowd will do so too. A very practical addition is the dedicated Walkman key, located on the device's top side, which acts as a shortcut to the Walkman music player app.

Using the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman with a single hand is as easy as pie since it fits nicely in your palm - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Using the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman with a single hand is as easy as pie since it fits nicely in your palm - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Using the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman with a single hand is as easy as pie since it fits nicely in your palm - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Using the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman with a single hand is as easy as pie since it fits nicely in your palm

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review

You can compare the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Using the Sony Ericsson Live with a single hand is as easy as pie since it fits nicely in your palm and its dimensions allow for your thumb to effortlessly reach all of the display's edges. Its relatively low weight of 115 grams or 4.06 ounces is definitely nothing to complain about. However, the smartphone is quite thick with a waistline of 14.2 millimeters or 0.56 inches.

The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman does not have the boring-slab-o-plastic appearance - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman does not have the boring-slab-o-plastic appearance - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman does not have the boring-slab-o-plastic appearance - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman does not have the boring-slab-o-plastic appearance

The handset's design has more than a few imperfections, some of which less tolerable than others. To start, when using it with a single hand, the buttons on its top are somewhat difficult to operate, especially when there is a pair of headphones plugged in. Speaking of buttons, the dedicated camera key is really tricky to use. Technically, it is a 2-stage shutter button, but the lack of feedback makes it very hard figuring out whether it has been pushed half-way, all the way down, or not pressed at all. Another flaw is that its front and back sides are prone to collecting finger smudge.

Charging port (left) - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Camera and volume keys (right) - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Power key and 3.5 mm jack (top) - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Charging port (left)
Camera and volume keys (right)
Power key and 3.5 mm jack (top)
Back - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Camera - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Battery compartment - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman Review
Battery compartment


The front of the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is occupied by a bland-looking 3.2-inch display with a resolution of 320 by 480 pixels. Punching these numbers in a PPI calculator gives us the figure of 180 pixels per inch, which is not bad, but nothing impressive either. Its color reproduction leans a bit towards the warm side, while its contrast levels and viewing angles are average at best. Another problem that we notice is that its pixel response time is rather high, meaning that moving objects leave a faint blurry trail behind them. At least the display's brightness output is high enough to make using the smartphone on a sunny day comfortable.

Samsung Galaxy S III specs review

Samsung pulled a bit of an Apple with the delivery of the Galaxy S III, we heard from many opinions when the phone launched last week. It upgraded the Galaxy S II just enough where it counts, compared to the competition, and focused on what you actually can do with the phone, introducing a number of unique interface and functionality improvements.

Nothing wrong with this strategy actually - the company has already blown our collective Android minds, and now it’s in it for the long haul. Last quarter Samsung made the record $5 billion profit, 73% of which came from the mobile division. Its main competitor - Apple - also saw mobile devices making the lion’s share of its $11 billion profit, so now the stakes are so high that, make no mistake, every feature that the Galaxy S III has or doesn’t have, had been carefully planned.


Let’s start with the chassis - granted, it’s again plastic, but why aren’t we seeing phones with 4.5”+ screens made of metal, ceramic, or anything more premium than the polycarbonate on the Galaxy S III? Even HTC, which is fond of having the chassis crafted out of aluminum, went with polycarb for the 4.7” One X. The only exception we can think of is the 4.8" Pantech Vega Racer 2, which is ceramic, but comes bulkier than the Galaxy S III. Have a look at the video below, if you want a taste of how the S III might have felt like with a glass ceramic chassis.

The reasons for the choice of material are simple - polycarbonate is light, durable, allows for superior wireless signal penetration, and is uniformly colored inside and out, so when you scratch it, the mark remains with the same color.

Now the rounded shape of the Galaxy S III and the “Hyper Glaze” coat on the blue version are acquired tastes, but when you pry off that paper-thin back cover, you’ll find a swappable 2100mAh battery, and a microSD card slot. That’s more than we can say for any other flagship, be it the HTC One X, iPhone 4S, or the Sony Xperia S, and it was something we used to take for granted with Android phones just a few months ago. The micro SIM we’d probably have to stomach from now on, since the mobile phone makers are moving even further, to the nano-SIM standard, that is about to be approved very soon. Just go ask your carrier for one with an adapter to replace your regular SIM, if you are getting the device off-contract.

What’s more important is that the Galaxy S III is only a tad wider and almost as thin as the Galaxy S II, making it about as comfortable to reach with your thumb across the screen for one-handed operation, but it will still be a stretch if you have smaller hands. The bulk of the screen size difference - 4.3” vs 4.8” - has gone into the elongated profile of the S III, which we found pretty smart first time with the Xperia arc, and manufacturers have been warming up to the idea ever since.

Still, we’d like to see less bezel, but the addition of the home key at the bottom, which allegedly was thrown in at the last minute, might have warranted the current design. Management probably rightfully deduced that the Galaxy Nexus is an Android enthusiast device, and a poster phone for Android ICS, while Samsung plans to sell millions of Galaxy S IIIs to all kinds of people, so issuing a device with buttonless front was probably deemed a pointless risk in the heated debates.


Recently it turned out that it’s not one of the usual suspects Qualcomm, NVIDIA or Texas Instruments that is in the most dual-core smartphones, but actually Samsung’s ARM-based processors. That’s due to the fact that it not only makes the homebrew Exynos silicon for its own phones, but also supplies the Ax-branded chippery in Apple’s mobile devices.

The Galaxy S III everyday grind will be pushed by either the quad-core Exynos 4412, or the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. They are made with the brand new 28/32nm production generation for mobile chipsets, meaning a significant leap in performance vs power consumption compared to the 40/45nm Cortex-A9 chips we had until now.

Why didn’t Samsung use the 2GHz dual-core Cortex-A15 Exynos 5250? Because it didn’t need to. It’s made for tablets, as Samsung kindly demonstrated to us at CES this year, powering a 2560x1560 pixels screen with its ARM Mali T-604 GPU. There is no point of scaling to put it in a phone, where nothing over the current 1280x720 pixels makes sense.

Samsung, for that matter, overclocked the Mali-400 GPU to 400MHz+, which the 32nm chip allows easily, and now the Galaxy S III beats everything in the graphics benchies, save for the quad-core PowerVR GPU in the new iPad, which, however, has to power the “Resolutionary” 9.7” screen, and will most likely be scaled down for the new iPhone, since, again, it makes no sense there.

The earliest we can see Cortex-A15 chips in phones or even tablets will be for the holidays, when maybe NVIDIA will try to be first just for the taste again, while mass usage of A15 chips in our mobile devices won’t happen until early next year at least.

Samsung Galaxy S III specs review
Moreover, the power consumption advantage of Cortex-A15 vs A9 comes for a large part from the die shrink, and the Exynos 4412 is already shrunk to 32nm, plus it actually sports some A15 features like internal 128-bit instructions support, and has a proprietary ISP like HTC's ImageChip, for all those camera and motion sensing shenanigans of the Galaxy S III.

Both Exynos 4412 and Snapdragon S4 are now at the top of the Android benchmarking game, so your Galaxy S III won’t feel underpowered, no matter which one ends up in it. If your carrier has an LTE network up and running, you are likely to end up with Qualcomm’s MSM8960 chipset, which has the newest 28nm LTE radio integrated in it.</div>