Tuesday, July 31, 2012

$4 Ethernet Port (USB Ethernet Adapter) for MacBook Air with Mountain Lion or Lion

Recently I have tried to have a USB Ethernet port for my MacBook Air which is the latest 2012 model.

Apple MD223LL/A 1.7 GHz 11.6" 64GB MacBook Air (New 2012 Model)
I bought a Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter. However since there is only one Thunderbolt which is usually used for DVI/VGA video port to a monitor, the thunderbolt Ethernet adapter is not very useful. Currently there are some USB Ethernet adapters good for MacBook Air, such as Apple USB Ethernet Adapter, and ASIX AX88178 and AX88772B/772A/760/772 chip sets based ones. I bought a RD9700 which should have ASIX chip inside from eBay at US $3.84! It comes with a CD which has a driver good for the latest Mac OS Lion 10.7, even the latest Mountain Lion.

The installation is similar to the "ASIX AX88178 and AX88772B/772A/760/772 Mac OS X Drivers Installation Guide". When the driver USBCDCNET.pkg in "MAC DRIVER\x86_64" is installed, the adapter should be unplugged. After installation and system restart, the network UI of "System Preferences" shows "USB 2 Ethernet Adapter" and Ethernet is connected when the adapter is plugged. The speed is 10/100Mbps since it is USB 2.0 based.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q2 2012

According to IDC, Smartphone market grew at 42.1 percent year-over-year in second quarter of 2012. Vendors shipped 153.9 million smartphones in 2Q12 compared to 108.3 million units in 2Q11.
Samsung is the leading smartphone vendor. With Samsung releasing its Galaxy S III, and buyers still waiting for the next iPhone, Samsung widened its lead in total smartphone shipments over Apple, nearly double of those of iPhone, while Apple posted an expected sequential decline last quarter.

For Nokia, demand for Symbian and MeeGo units declined. Lumia sales have remained steady. HTC's performance in the Asia/Pacific region allowed it to climb back up the rank order. ZTE climbed into the smartphone Top 5 for the first time due to strength in its home market, as well as growth internationally, including in the U.S. where it is shipping under both its own and carrier brands.

According to ABI, RIM saw its smartphone shipments down 14 percent sequentially, but it still had 7.8 millions shipment in 2Q12. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Samsung Announces Wi-Fi Flip-Screen Camera

Samsung MV900Samsung MV800
Samsung MV900                                         Samsung MV800

Samsung's MV800 featured a flipping screen that was perfect for self portraits, but it couldn't compete with a smartphone in one area: instant upload to Facebook. The new MV900 addresses that—it includes Wi-Fi, so you can send shots directly to your favorite social-networking site directly from the camera, or beam them to your smartphone via a direct connection if a Wi-Fi hotspot isn't available.

The 16-megapixel camera's 3.3-inch display flips all the way to face the front for self shots. It's an AMOLED display and is touch sensitive, so you can interact with menus and scroll through shots with your fingers. The 5x zoom lens covers a 25-125mm f/2.5-6.3 (35mm equivalent) field of view, and has a fairly fast aperture at its widest setting for better photos in dim environments. Video is recorded in 1080p format, and the MV900 supports microSD memory.

Aside from Wi-Fi, the MV900 also supports gesture-based control, much like the Xbox Kinect. You can wave your arms at the camera to zoom its lens in or out. Performing the gesture that fires the shutter activates a self-timer, so you'll have time to pose before the photo is taken. It also supports the same type of portrait effects as the MV800, so you can add a frame, perform funhouse distortions on faces, or add wigs to your subjects before sharing photos online. The camera is set to ship in late August and will sell for $399.

This comes hot on the heels of Samsung's announcement of the EX2F enthusiast compact. That 12-megapixel camera, which also supports Wi-Fi, offers more advanced features like a 1/1.7-inch CMOS image sensor, Raw shooting support, and a fast 24-80mm f/1.4-2.7 lens that, even at its longest zoom, captures more light than traditional compacts. When you couple this with the maximum extended ISO of 12800, you have a camera that should be able to snap photos in even difficult lighting.

The EX2F supports 1080p30 video recording, and can use an external mic via its accessory port. Its articulating 3-inch display uses AMOLED technology, and you can opt to use an optional EVF—the camera is compatible with all Samsung NX accessories—for eye-level shooting. The camera is set to ship in early August and will retail for $499.

See more at Jim Fisher's "Samsung Announces MV900 Flip-Screen Camera".

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Samsung buys chipmaker CSR's handset technology

CSR developed Bluetooth, WiFi and location technology which was cutting edge. Its customers have included Samsung, RIM, and Nokia, and even the first generation of iPhone, but it was losing ground in smartphones to bigger rivals who were combining more functions in a single platform. 

"There is a big war going on between the giants of the semiconductor industry like Qualcomm, Intel and Samsung LSI to deliver the complete solution into smartphones," CSR's chief executive Joep van Beurden said in an interview on Tuesday.

"Our team and technology - location and connectivity - is in its own right an extremely important part of that platform, but it is even more important if it completes your product offering and that is exactly what Samsung is doing."

Samsung tops the mobile apps processor market in terms of revenue, controlling 72 percent in the first quarter, followed by Texas Instruments with 12 percent and Qualcomm with 9 percent, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

Samsung said the deal would add more capability to its platforms featuring the application processors that power the world's most popular smartphones and tablets - Apple's iPhone, iPad and its own Galaxy products.

"By leveraging CSR's R&D capability, Samsung will strengthen its application processor platform and solidify its position as a leading semiconductor solutions provider," said Stephen Woo, Samsung's president of System LSI Business, Device Solutions.

Brian Park, semiconductor analyst at Tong Yang Securities, said that up to now Samsung's growth in the mobile sector was driven by its strength in memory chips.

"With this development, Samsung has set up a foundation to bolster its non-memory capabilities," he said. "Access to CSR's patents could also serve as a buffer in future patent disputes."

Samsung and Apple are waging legal battles in about 10 countries, accusing each other of patent infringement as they vie for supremacy in the mobile device market.

CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said Samsung's move came hot on the heels of the acquisition of Nanoradio, a Swedish WiFi chip set company, on June 1.

"It underlines Samsung's commitment to strengthening its vertical advantage by extending silicon capability most notably in WiFi and GPS," he said.

As well as buying CSR's technology and handset team, which numbers 310 employees, Samsung will also invest $34.4 million in a 4.9 percent stake in CSR at a price of 223 pence a share.

According to Joep van Beurden, CSR will keep the existing products and revenues, and could now focus its attention on areas where it was already winning, like voice, music, automotive and imaging.

See more at Paul Sandle and Hyunjoo Jin's "Samsung buys chipmaker CSR's handset technology".

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Echo Nest Raises $17 Million for Musical Big Data

The Echo Nestwhich maintains databases used by companies like Spotify, Vevo and Nokia, has received investors' $17 million. People like saying “big data” right now, and Echo Nest describes itself as “the leading music big data company.” What that really means is that it has a giant pile of information that music companies use to create recommendation engines and other features for their services. Echo Nest is positioning itself to sell services to companies that don’t specialize in music, too. It argues that its database could help “a wide range of applications” with tasks like “social discovery,” because it turns out that musical taste and preferences may help predict people’s taste and preferences for other stuff.

As a test case, the company has run the numbers on correlating musical taste and political affiliation. You may not be surprised to learn that country fans lean Republican and Rihanna fans like Democrats, but there’s more interesting stuff in a blog post.

Romney with Kid Rock
Mitt Romney with Kid Rock

See more in Peter Kafka's "Echo Nest Raises $17 Million for Musical Big Data".

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NVidia Custom Video Timing, Modeline, and EDID

NVidia Custom Video Timing

With NVIDIA Control Panel, users can specify custom resolutions which allow end users to the ultimate flexibility to add virtually any resolution and refresh for their display. The following screen capture image shows the setting UI.

When timing standard is set to manual, a custom video timing can be specified.

According to the wikipedia, the front porch is a brief (about 1.5 microsecond) period inserted between the end of each transmitted line of picture and the leading edge of the next line sync pulse. Its purpose was to allow voltage levels to stabilise in older televisions, preventing interference between picture lines. The front porch is the first component of the horizontal blanking interval which also contains the horizontal sync pulse and the back porch.

The back porch is the portion of each scan line between the end (rising edge) of the horizontal sync pulse and the start of active video. It is used to restore the black level (300 mV.) reference in analog video. In signal processing terms, it compensates for the fall time and settling time following the sync pulse.

Therefore the horizontal blanking width is the summation of front porch, sync width and back porch. If want to find the back porch from Nvidia custom resolution setting in the above figure, the back porch = Total pixels - Active pixels - Front porch - Sync width. 


A modeline is a configuration line in xorg.conf or the XFree86 configuration file (XF86Config) that provides information to the X server about a connected computer monitor or television and how to drive it at a specified display resolution. 

Modeline "String Description" 


  • Horizontal resolution  H1=Horizontal Front Active
  • Horizontal sync start  H2=H1+Horizontal Front Porch
  • Horizontal sync end   H3=H2+Horizontal Sync Width
  • Horizontal total         H4=H3+Horizontal Back Porch 
  • Vertical  resolution    V1=Vertical Front Active 
  • Vertical sync start     V2=V1+Vertical Front Porch  
  • Vertical sync end      V3=V2+Vertical Sync Width  
  • Vertical total            V4=V3+Vertical Back Porch                                 
  • HP=Horizontal Sync Polarity [-hsync/+hsync]                                 
  • VP=Vertical Sync Polarity [-vsync/+vsync]

So a modeline settings can be calculated from a Nvidia custom resolution setting.


(Extended display identification data) is a data structure provided by a digital display to describe its capabilities to a video source (e.g. graphics card or set-top box).

The detail description of EDID can be obtained from a modeline. For example, a modeline,

Modeline "1024x768" 54.500 1024 1048 1184 1344 768 771 777 806 -hsync -vsync

Resulted EDID settings are

Validating Mode "1280x768":
  1024 x 768 @ 50 Hz
  Mode Source: EDID
    Pixel Clock      : 54.50 MHz
    HRes, HBlankSize : 1024, 320
    HSyncOffset, HSyncSize : 24, 136
    VRes, VBlankSize : 768, 38
    VSyncOffset, VSyncSize : 3, 6
    H/V Polarity     : -/-
  Mode is valid.

M&A activity grows 3% across mobile/online space

By Dan Meyer @ rcrwireless.com

M&A activity grows 3% across mobile/online space
Merger and acquisition activity during the first half of the year across the mobile and online space increased 3% compared with the final half of 2011, with total M&A transaction values surging 20% over the same time frame, according to a new report from Berkery Noyes.

Total transactions increased from 939 reported during the final three months of 2011 to 970 reported transactions during the first half of this year, while transaction values increased from $28.38 billion in 2011 to $34.12 billion this year.

The firm noted that SAP America’s $4.4 billion acquisition of Ariba led the segment in total value during the first six months of 2012 and that the SaaS/ASP space registered 250 transactions during the first half of 2012.

In commenting on the SAP/Ariba deal, Ovum noted the deal furthered SAP’s push into cloud services. “This is a logical step for SAP as it needs to accelerate its move into the cloud,” noted Carter Lusher, chief IT analyst at Ovum. “This acquisition is consistent with SAP’s overall M&A strategy and complements the SuccessFactors acquisition in December – providing greater depth of products, executives, and tech talent for the cloud. For Ariba, it’s unlikely the talent, technology and product will be cut. Instead, I expect SAP will invest heavily in Ariba’s R&D. While there is no immediate impact on SAP’s competitors, there could be a need for concern should SAP successfully accelerates its move into the cloud.”

The e-commerce segment posted the largest volume increase, growing 21% from 169 reported transactions during the final half of 2011 to 205 transactions so far this year.


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