Posts tagged Concept

Mozilla shows off Aurora browser concept

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Mozilla is inviting people to take part in a new conceptual series that aims to envision the future design of web technologies, including browser and user-interface innovations, the company said.

As part of the series, Mozilla Labs has teamed up with Adaptive Path to create the Aurora browser, which demonstrates how an Internet browser might look in the future. Adaptive Path is a creative user-experience and design consultancy that is responsible for the recent redesign of the MySpace social-networking site.

In the first of a multi-segment demo of Aurora posted on Mozilla Labs’ website, a video shows how people might use a browser as a collaboration application, with instant-messaging capabilities available from directly in the browser.

It also demonstrates how people might send files directly to other browser users so they can immediately access them full-screen from within the browser.

Mozilla is hoping that people contribute similar ideas to the concept series for how web users can interact through groundbreaking user-interface design and the like.

A blog post by Mozilla Labs Vice President Chris Beard explains that Mozilla wants people from all walks of life, not just software engineers or those who can write code, to participate in contributing concepts for the web’s future designs.

“Everyone is welcome to participate,” he wrote. “We’re particularly interested in engaging with designers who have not typically been involved with open source projects. And we’re biasing towards broad participation, not finished implementations.”

The program defines concepts as taking three forms: ideas, mockups or prototypes. Beard describes ideas as a sentence, paragraph or even bullet points to “kick-start the [design] process.” Mockups take ideas one step further, by turning them into an image, sketch or video.

“Words are great, but you know what they say about pictures,” Beard wrote. “Mockups offer up a visual and communicate ideas in terms that are just a bit more polished and real.”

People also can contribute concepts in the form of prototype applications designed with minimal programming to show off a concept’s “moving parts” and allow people to interact with developing concepts.

The only requirement for submitting concepts is that all concepts and related source materials be freely redistributable and remixable under either a Creative Commons licence – a non commercial licence for creative works – for ideas and mockups, or a Mozilla Public License for prototypes “so that we can all effectively collaborate on the exploration,” Beard wrote.

More information about the new concept series is available on Mozilla Labs’ and Adaptive Path’s websites.

The 500,000 GB MP3 Player

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Sounds impossible? It could really happen, thanks to a new breakthrough.

Can you even imagine an MP3 player with a 500,000 GB capacity? It’s pretty much beyond belief. The most generous player today can only hold around 40,000 songs – they’d hardly make a dent on this.

The thing is, it could easily happen. Scientists at the University of Glasgow have created a nanotechnology breakthrough that could increase storage capacity by 150,000 times. It could mean 500,000 GB on a single chip and inch square.

The Glasgow scientists worked to create the molecule-sized switch that’s at the heart of it all.

Professor Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow said, “What we have done is find a way to potentially increase the data storage capabilities in a radical way. We have been able to assemble a functional nanocluster that incorporates two electron donating groups, and position them precisely 0.32 nm apart so that they can form a totally new type of molecular switching device. The key advantage of the molecule sized switch is information / transistor density in traditional semi-conductors. Molecule sized switches would lead to increasing data storage to say 4 Petabits per square inch. This breakthrough shows conceptually that this is possible (showing the bulk effect) but we are yet to solve the fabrication and addressing problems. The fact these switches work on carbon means that they could be embedded in plastic chips so silicon is not needed and the system becomes much more flexible both physically and technologically.”

Meet the laptop you’ll use in 2015

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Click on any image to enlarge.

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Read the full article here.

100% Natural – The Future of Windows User Interfaces

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One key aspect of computing in particular and technology in general is the end user interaction. So far, when it comes down to computers, the keyboard plus mouse is the traditional and established model of interaction. But without a doubt at this stage in the evolution of computing both the mouse and keyboard are becoming obsolete. By this I do not mean that they have come to the end of their evolution, but that there is a strong shift in the direction of user interfaces, one strongly favoring the natural UI.

Coincidentally or not, Microsoft is not only in the avantgarde of building natural user interfaces with its Surface (surface computing) and Zune 2.0 digital media player, but also Chairman Bill Gates, following his full transition out of his day-to-day role with Microsoft, will focus almost exclusively on building natural UIs. Examples of the work being done over at Redmond can be found in the “Beneath the Surface: The Natural Experience Vision” presentation at MIX08 (via Long Zheng).

“Come hear how the Surface User Experience is focusing on design and user experience as a key driver for creating more natural, intuitive and emotional products. Learn how Surface shifts the approach that has been used for more than thirty years of making users learn the language of computers and products to an entirely new approach where technology, computers and products learn the language of people: touch, voice and gesture,” reads the description of the presentation.

Daniel Makoski, Interaction Design Manager Microsoft Surface, has talked about the necessity of simplifying the user interface down to the level where even the computer-illiterate people will be able to interact, at least at a basic level, with technology. The presentation can be accessed here, and you will need Silverlight, or via this link as a .WMV file for Windows Media Player.

“So one of the projects that I was working on was this project of exploring a range of interfaces that would make a computer a lot easier to access. We do a lot of research in India and China, and when people first saw a computer they weren’t quite sure what to do. There’s clearly issues of literacy, even the literate also have challenges in navigating this whole model which many of us are very familiar with,” explained Makoski.

Singularity – “Concept OS” by Microsoft

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Microsoft says its new Singularity OS is like a concept car and that it is giving the prototype to researchers in hopes that they will develop new architectures.

Singularity is a research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We are building a research operating system prototype (called Singularity), extending programming languages, and developing new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior.

Advances in languages, compilers, and tools open the possibility of significantly improving software. For example, Singularity uses type-safe languages and an abstract instruction set to enable what we call Software Isolated Processes (SIPs). SIPs provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains. In the current Singularity prototype SIPs are extremely cheap; they run in ring 0 in the kernel’s address space.

Singularity uses these advances to build more reliable systems and applications. For example, because SIPs are so cheap to create and enforce, Singularity runs each program, device driver, or system extension in its own SIP. SIPs are not allowed to share memory or modify their own code. As a result, we can make strong reliability guarantees about the code running in a SIP. We can verify much broader properties about a SIP at compile or install time than can be done for code running in traditional OS processes. Broader application of static verification is critical to predicting system behavior and providing users with strong guarantees about reliability.

The Singularity RDK (Research Development Ki) can be downloaded from CodePlex.

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