Sunday, June 24, 2012

Flipboard Finally Invades Android!

Flipboard has emerged out of beta testing and is now available on Google Play. The app, which had been exclusively for Samsung Galaxy S III users for some time, may now be downloaded by those whose Android-based devices are compatible with the app.

Flipboard is a news reading app dubbed as a social magazine that has proven itself popular with users of iOS devices. It collects content from various sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, BBC, The Verge, National Geographic, Oprah, and USA Today and arranges them in a magazine format.

Its aim basically is to help users simplify their life since it has all they need on one app, and no longer have to sign in to multiple sites or visit them. A feature called Content Guide offers more content hand-picked by Flipboard’s editors. To make things easier, the app comes with an accompanying widget that acts as a shortcut to Flipboard.

The award-winning app furthermore integrates with read-later apps like Pocket, Instapaper, and Readbility. Users on shared devices may create their own account to bar others from reading their personal content. The app is available in localized versions like the UK, Canada, China, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Taiwan, and the US, enabling users to enjoy local content like news.

Flipboard cautions that it is best viewed on smartphones, which implies that its resolution is not excellent on tablets. To be more specific, Flipboard retains it small size even while opened on a large tablet screen.

This app is a nice addition to all those which promise to help users manage their online subscriptions and social networks. Its many awards, including TIME Magazine 50 Best Inventions of 2010, WIRED magazine Essential App of 2011, and TechCrunch Cruchies Best Touch Interface 2011, likewise make it an attractive offer.

The best part about this app, however, is that it is completely free of charge, which means that if it does not do what it promises, users can simply hit uninstall. The app has a minimum requirement of Android OS 2.2 Froyo.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Google's impossibly clever Alan Turing doodle

Normally, when Google creates doodles, it uses its brains to create art that everyone can grasp and feel.

For tomorrow in the U.S. (and today in places like New Zealand), however, the company has decided to offer no such creative mercies.

June 23, 2012 would have been the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. And you can hardly celebrate his memory with something fluffy and brightly colored.

Instead, there are a series of 1s and 0s and arrows pointing to left and right.

Turing was an exceptionally gifted mathematician, computer scientist and code breaker, whose Turing Machine (which this doodle commemorates) was the basis for so much in computing.

In an act of utter disgrace, for which the British government only apologized in 2009, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He was chemically castrated and died in 1954 (aged 41) after biting into an apple laced with cyanide. At the time, an inquest declared this to be suicide. However, some believe his death was an accident.

This was the man who had helped crack the German Enigma code, a great step toward bringing a successful end to World War II. In return, he was prosecuted for gross indecency and given the choice of prison or experimental chemical castration.

He chose the latter. His conviction meant he could no longer work for the British government. (He was one of around 100,000 gay men convicted at the time.)

Then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in his 2009 apology:

While Mr. Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him.

His conviction was never overturned, this despite efforts in 2011. The British government declared that he was legally convicted at the time, and therefore wouldn't make an exception.

It did, however, make an exception for 300 World War I deserters in 2006. The reason for many of their desertions had been given as shell shock. British Member of Parliament John Leech has long tried to get the same kind of pardon for Turing.

How Alan Turing ushered in modern computing (photos)

Turing's work was so widespread that his influence infused so much of modern thinking. In 1950, for example, he created a test -- now known as the Turing Test -- that measured the intelligence of a machine.

He is credited with having designed the circuitry for early computers by himself. Turing's Pilot Ace computer was the one that, in 1954, worked out the cause of a mid-air explosion aboard a Comet jet.

London's Science Museum is this week opening a year-long exhibition called "Codebreaker: Alan Turing's Life and Legacy" (see video above). It includes a German Engima coding machine on loan from Mick Jagger.

As for Google's commemorative doodle, I have embedded a video showing how to solve it. Just so that you can be a codebreaker for a day.

Credit: CNET

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