Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lenovo launches Intel-powered K900 smartphone @ Rs 32,999

 Lenovo launched six smartphones in India, including flagship K900, with an aim to become one of the largest smartphone vendors in the country in the coming months. The six models cover a price range between Rs 8,689 to Rs 32,999.

The company, which is the second biggest smartphone firm in China with a market share of 14.7%, entered Indian market last year in November. But today's launch of K900, S820, S920, P780, A706 and A390, marks Lenovo's big push in the Indian phone market.

"Our retail footprint has grown considerably to 3000 retail stores since we launched our smartphones last year. We will continue to expand our reach across India," said Amar Babu, managing director at Lenovo India.

Among the phones launched today, K900 is the flagship device. It is powered by Intel's Z2580, Intel's first dual-core processor for mobile phones. Lenovo claims that each of the six devices that it has launched has been designed to address specific needs of Indian consumers. For example, the K900 with thickness of just 6.9mm is the one of the slimmest phones in the world. The highlight of P780 is high-capacity 4000 mAh battery while the A706 has the Dolby Digital Plus technology for better audio experience.

More commonly known for its laptops and desktops, Lenovo is trying to reinvent itself to fit in the smartphone era. It started taking smartphones seriously around two years ago and focused on China.

Milko Van Duijl, a senior vice president at Lenovo, said the company was making connected devices and not just computers. "Our fourth fiscal quarter results clearly demonstrate strong business momentum. Our ultimate goal is to use innovation to differentiate Lenovo and become not only a leading PC+ brand but also one of the most respected technology companies in the world. Our strategy for India will focus strongly on smartphones," he said.

Hands-on with K900
Since it was shown at the CES in January this year, K900 is in news. When we checked out the device we understood why. It is incredibly slim for a device that packs in quite powerful hardware. At the same time, it is built very well, with aluminum giving it a heft and rigidity that feels reassuring.

K900 has industrial looks with clean lines. While the boxy-design has its charm, we found that the lack of rounded edges - and the fact that it is a big phone -- makes the device a little difficult to use with single hand.

The 5.5-inch screen of the phone has a FullHD (1080P) resolution and looks very sharp.

K900 is powered by the Intel Clovertrail+ platform. This means the processor inside the phone is Atom Z2580, Intel's first dual core chip while the graphics duty is handled by two cores to PowerVR SGX 544. While the phone runs Android Jelly Bean the users interface is customized by Lenovo. Unlike the elegant and mostly flat users interface in stoack Android, the software on Lenovo uses more flashy animations and on-screen buttons.

In our brief use, we found the device to be very fast. There was no lag while we opened apps, checked out widgets and opened websites on the browser bundled with the phone.

Lenovo calls K900 its flagship phone and based on our first impression we can say that it look like one. But we need to spend a bit more time with the device before we can talk about it in detail. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Aussies to buy HBO through Quickflix

Quickflix will soon offer HBO series to Australians.

Australians will be able to buy HBO series through Quickflix without subscribing to the service.

Quickflix has announced that it has entered into an agreement with HBO to offer its television series to customers in Australia.

Customers will be able to purchase and instantly download or stream the programs to smartTVs, game consoles, mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops regardless of whether they are Quickflix subscribers.

The new agreement allows customers to buy current seasons of select series on an episode or full season basis.

A Quickflix spokesman said prices had not yet been determined but he expected them to be competitive with iTunes.

While there was no exact launch date yet, he said it would start sometime in May and current series of Game of Thrones and True Blood would be among those offered.

Monday, March 25, 2013

3 weird stress busters that work

We're no strangers to stress-relief tips. But you can only breathe deeply for so many ohms and gaze placidly at the ocean so many times. Other than deepening your breath (which, by the way, does work), what else can you do to exorcise your anxiety? Prevention magazine, published by Rodale, suggests you try out these 3 weird tips from experts — no heavy breathing required.

Pop a probiotic

Why? Symptoms of stress are partly due to the immune system. Sources of probiotics include yogurt, creamy kefir, or a supplement with at least 1 billion CFU (colony forming units.)

Screw in new light bulbs

High-wattage light can raise stress levels, trigger your appetite and make you eat even faster than usual, according to research. Changing normal white lighting to blue-enriched lighting has been found to decrease fatigue in the evening, increase positive mood, diminish irritability, and improve sleep at night.

Sing out loud

Belting out while bathing is one of the most fun ways to ease stress. In addition to melting stress, singing boosts your immune system. Even choral singers rate their quality of life higher than those of us without a tune. But if you're more of the screaming-in-the-basement type, don't hold back: blowing your stack once in a while is associated with a 50 percent reduction in heart-attack risk.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top British Cardinal Faces Accusations of Committing ‘Inappropriate Acts’

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been accused of committing “inappropriate acts” in his relations with three priests and one former priest, the newspaper The Observer reported Sunday. The accusations, which date back to the 1980s, have been forwarded to the Vatican.

 The newspaper said the four men had made their complaints to the pope’s diplomatic representative in Britain, Antonio Mennini, and that the complaints had reached Archbishop Mennini in the week before Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11.

The timing of The Observer’s article, which was apparently drawn from church sources with access to the file that Archbishop Mennini had forwarded to Rome, became an immediate focus of attention.

Reports from Rome in recent days have described the feverish speculation — and intrigue, according to Vatican insiders — surrounding the selection of the new pope, who is set to be chosen by a conclave of 117 eligible cardinals, among them Cardinal O’Brien, scheduled to convene at the Vatican sometime in March. Benedict’s resignation takes effect Thursday.

The Catholic Church has been besieged during Benedict’s eight years in office by scandals over pedophilia and other forms of sexual abuse by priests. But the time since he announced his decision to retire on the grounds of failing health has been marked by a surge of Italian news media reports, many of them speculative, of gay sex scandals in the Vatican and other allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

These reports have been seen by some in the Vatican as intended to harm some contenders for the papacy, or to disqualify some of the cardinals expected to participate in the conclave. Some Vatican experts believe they might also be devised to manufacture a sense of crisis that would encourage the conclave to select a conservative cardinal as the next pope. Cardinal O’Brien, who is set to retire after turning 75 next month, is the only cleric from Britain who will be eligible to vote in the conclave.

On Saturday, the Vatican Secretariat of State issued a statement strongly rebuking recent reports in the Italian news media, calling them a dangerous attempt to try to condition the cardinal electors. The Vatican called it “deplorable” that ahead of the conclave there was “a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories, that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.”

Cardinal O’Brien had been scheduled to lead a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday morning, an occasion dedicated to a celebration of Benedict’s time in the papacy. But he did not appear for the Mass. Instead, a statement was made on his behalf by Bishop Stephen Robson, an auxiliary prelate in the Edinburgh diocese.

“A number of allegations of inappropriate behavior have been made against the cardinal,” the church statement said. “The cardinal has sought legal advice, and it would be inappropriate to comment at this time. There will be further statements in due course.”

The Observer article said that one of the four men involved in the complaints against the cardinal had later left the priesthood and married, unable to reconcile himself to the idea of spending a lifetime under Cardinal O’Brien’s authority. According to the newspaper, the man accused the cardinal of having made an “inappropriate approach” to him after night prayers when he was an 18-year-old seminarian in 1980, when Cardinal O’Brien, then a priest, was his spiritual director at a seminary in Melrose, south of Edinburgh.

Another of the complainants, who is still a priest, was said to have complained about inappropriate contact between him and Cardinal O’Brien, then a priest, during a parish visit. The third complainant, another priest, was said to have been invited to spend a week “getting to know” the cardinal, by that time an archbishop, at his residence in Edinburgh, and having to deal with “unwanted attention” from the senior cleric after a late-night drinking session.

The fourth man was said to have had his own experience of inappropriate contact when, in the early years of his priesthood, he sought counseling over personal problems from Cardinal O’Brien, then an archbishop.

Cardinal O’Brien, whose office said he would keep to his scheduled plan to fly to Rome before the conclave, has been the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland since 1985, and was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He was among the cardinals who attended the conclave that chose Benedict as John Paul’s successor in 2005.

Once called “Cardinal Controversy” by his critics, Cardinal O’Brien has often spoken out on homosexuality, adopting a more censorious attitude in recent years. Before his elevation to cardinal, he spoke publicly about the number of gay priests in the church and rebuked a Scottish bishop who had said that homosexuals should not be allowed to teach in Catholic schools.

But in more recent years, he has hardened his stance, opposing gay rights and describing homosexuality as immoral. He has opposed allowing gay men and lesbians to adopt children. He has also argued against same-sex marriage, which the British Parliament is in the process of approving, calling it “harmful to the spiritual, mental and spiritual well-being” of those involved. Last November, Stonewall, a British gay-rights group, gave the cardinal its “bigot of the year” award.

But Cardinal O’Brien has broken with other strictures that are common among conservatives in the church hierarchy. He drew headlines in Britain last week by telling the BBC that a new pope should consider abandoning the church’s rule on celibacy. “It is a free world,” he said, “and I realize that many priests have found it difficult to cope with celibacy and felt the need of a companion, a woman, to whom they could get married and raise a family of their own.”

Stepping directly into the contentious maneuvering over who should be the next pope, he suggested that “it might be time for a younger pontiff from part of the developing world,” perhaps from Africa or Asia, “where the Catholic faith is thriving.”

He added, “It is something which the cardinals have to think about seriously, having had popes from Europe for such a long time now — hundreds of years — whether it is time to think of the developing world as being a source of excellent men.”

Rachel Donadio contributed reporting from Rome, and Douglas Dalby from Dublin.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hold the Mayo, here’s Old Doc Walton’s Health Tips to Live By

Evidently every medical school in America thinks I’m sick. Subscribe to one wellness newsletter and before you know it, your name is on a mailing list that zips about the health-care universe at warp speed.

It all started three years ago when the Mayo Clinic, somehow aware that I had reached a certain age, convinced me to subscribe to its monthly Mayo Clinic Health Letter. I was advised that not only would it explain any ailments I might already have as an emerging old person, but also it would alert me to the warning signs of new ones that hadn’t yet invited themselves into my life.

What could it hurt? I figured a little preventive care is a good thing at any age.

For two years the Mayo newsletters arrived faithfully. They were exactly as advertised. I read every one and filed them away for future reference. I was up to speed on everything from sebaceous cysts to restless leg syndrome to post-nasal drip.

But soon the Cleveland Clinic wanted a piece of the action. It too had a newsletter, and I thought well, hey, the Cleveland Clinic is just up the road. So I decided to hold the Mayo and go with the Cleveland. Just like that, the word was out: Walton is entering the autumn of his years and he’s vulnerable.

Next came the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Would I like to subscribe to its Wellness Letter?

I opted to stick with the Cleveland Clinic, but UC-Berkeley included a sample issue containing an essay that answered the question: Why do beans cause gas? This is cutting-edge stuff. You never know when someone will ask. So I put it in the binder with the Mayo and the Cleveland newsletters.

Then came the Mount Sinai School of Medicine with its Healthy Aging newsletter. Again I said no, but I kept the sample issue. I was intrigued by an article advising me that if I’m having trouble seeing, I should get glasses. You can’t get that kind of insight everywhere, folks.

Mount Sinai also informed me that older adults can benefit from resistance training. I concur. Whenever training is involved, I resist.

One other Mount Sinai tip: If I’m having trouble sleeping, I should avoid taking a diuretic before bedtime. Way ahead of you there, Doc.

After Mount Sinai I heard from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and its Health and Nutrition Letter. The sample issue got my attention with an article reaffirming the heart benefits of modest alcohol consumption.

Into the binder it went, and off to the wine shop went I. My heart thanked me for it.

About this time I’m wondering: Where’s Johns Hopkins? Don’t the experts there care?

Oh, but they do. They were next, with a newsletter called Health After 50. I declined, but again, the sample issue was informative. If it’s hot, drink lots of fluids. Good advice at any age, I would think.

But wait. There’s more.

Duke University wanted a shot. I kept the sample issue of Duke Medicine Health News, even though it said watching television for more than two hours a day doubles the risk of a heart attack.

In my defense, most of my TV hours recently were spent watching the Cleveland Browns, the finest cure for insomnia in the Wide, Wide World of Sports. The Browns generated so little excitement that my heart didn’t feel threatened — especially when that glass of Merlot recommended by the fine people at Tufts is working its magic.

Then UCLA’s Division of Geriatrics made a pitch for its Healthy Years newsletter, which described how our sense of smell diminishes as we age. Of course, that may not be a bad thing.

Harvard Medical School weighed in with its Men’s Health Watch newsletter, promising to rock my sex life. Sorry Harvard, you’re too late. If you want to rock something, try my chair.

That’s it, so far, although neither UC-Berkeley nor Tufts can take no for an answer. They keep sending sample issues. Mount Sinai too.

I’ve decided to let the Cleveland Clinic newsletter expire and just continue to collect sample issues from everybody else. I’m neither a doctor nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I’m now one of the best informed nonphysicians in town. Go ahead, ask me anything.

No wait. I think I’ll start my own wellness newsletter. I’ll call it Old Doc Walton’s Home Remedies, Wellness Tips, and Smart-aleck Comments. A little irreverent humor helps in these situations.

You can be one of my charter subscribers. This is going to be big, and you can get in on the ground floor. Remember: Feed a cold. Starve a fever. Don’t squeeze a pimple. And stay off ladders. Consider this your sample issue.