Thursday, September 26, 2013

New iPhone users report feeling "nausea" and "headaches"

Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system has been downloaded 200 million times - and some users are complaining that the animations make them seasick - or worse.

“Apple’s new operating system is making me nauseous and giving me a headache - just like when you try to read in the car,” says one user.

Others complain of “vertigo” when apps “zoom” in and out - and say that using iOS 7 devices has left them feeling ill for days.

Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system has been downloaded 200 million times - and some users are complaining that the animations make them seasick - or worse.

“Just had a long chat with Apple support,” one disgruntled user said on the Apple forums. “Apparently there is no way to turn off animations.”

Once installed, it is extremely difficult to uninstall from iPads, iPhones and iPods - and iOS 7 comes pre-installed on all new iPhone 5C and 5S models.

Ironically, one of its main “selling points” was its simplified look - the icons on the page are “flatter” and simpler.

“True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation—it’s about bringing order to complexity,” said Apple’s “design guru” Jonathan Ive, who worked with the team which created the software.

Apple does include an option to “reduce motion”, but this applies mainly to the “depth” effects on the main screens - not to the “zoom” effects when users open and close apps.

“"I had severe vertigo the minute I started using my iPad with iOS 7," said one user, quoted by tech site The Verge. “I thought I was going crazy today after I updated my phone and I noticed I was feeling queasy every time I used it. Now I see I am not alone! I just used my phone for about 20 minutes and now I feel like I'm going to vomit. There has to be a way to turn this off!"

Apple has not issued any official statement on the issue.

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NASA map plots where air pollution is most likely to kill you

By | Geekquinox – Wed, 25 Sep, 2013
This new map, released by NASA, plots the effects of fine particulate matter throughout the world, revealing what regions have the highest numbers of premature deaths due to air pollution.
Smoggy days can make life miserable for us, stealing our breath away and making us wish for simpler times. Monitoring programs and public alert systems try to keep us informed about the quality of the air we breath, but studies have shown that breathing in even small amounts of air pollution over long periods of time can shorten our lifespan.
Of all the pollutants in our air, the one that causes us the most difficulty is fine particulate matter — tiny specks of dust, smoke and ash, or minuscule droplets of various chemicals, that are so small that they can get deep into our lungs, damaging sensitive tissues there. An international research team, led by Jason West of the University of North Carolina, studied the worldwide effects of fine particulate matter between 1850 and 2000, and it's the data from their study that went into piecing this map together.
Areas shaded in brown are the worst regions in the world for premature deaths due to air pollution. Blue regions, like the U.S. Southeast, are those where fine particulate levels have actually dropped (apparently due to a reduction in the amount of local burning) over the past 160 years.
[ More Geekquinox: McGill students win $1M prize with idea to feed bugs to the world ]
According to the study, an estimated 2.1 million premature deaths happen every year in the world due to fine particulate matter, with 93 per cent of those caused by the effects of the particulates on our heart and lungs, and the other 7 per cent due to lung cancer. Ground-level ozone, the other main component of smog, has also taken its toll, resulting in an estimated 470,000 premature deaths per year around the globe.
Given that the main source of these two pollutants is fossil fuel burning, even if you don't believe the overwhelming evidence that the use of these fuels is putting us on a road to climate disaster, just the resulting increase in our lifespans is probably a good enough reason to switch to other sources of energy.
(Map courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory)
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why blackberry will be sold for less than $9 a share

Why BlackBerry will be sold for less than $9 per share

Prospective buyers have not exactly been lining up to challenge the $9 per share offer to take smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY) private. The offer, from Fairfax Financial Holdings, which owns 10% of BlackBerry, originally might have been viewed as a stalking horse bid for the phone maker, but it is conceivable that we are looking at what could be a high bid.
Current shareholders certainly appear to think so. Shares are trading at around $8.58 late Tuesday morning, a clear indication that investors doubt that the $9 bid will hold up. Fairfax chairman Prem Watsa was also chairman of BlackBerry’s board until he resigned after the company said it would explore strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company. Watsa is believed to be putting together financing for the offer with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets.
Watsa and his financiers have until November 4 to conduct due diligence, and a lot could happen during these next five weeks. Or, more likely, nothing will happen. No other bids could be forthcoming, the share price could continue to slide, or the financial players could decide to just walk away.
None of that is too difficult to imagine. Especially because there does not appear to be any reason to value BlackBerry at $4.7 billion. The company’s value now lies almost entirely with its intellectual property. The phones are not selling, and the new Z30 touchscreen phone is not going to change that. Buyers will stay away in droves, proving once again the truth expounded by the sage of New York, Yogi Berra: “If people aren’t going to come to the ballpark, you can’t stop them.”
BlackBerry’s shares are trading down about 2.7% to $8.58 before noon, in a 52-week range of $6.25 to $18.32.

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