Remodeling the kitchen! Opt for U shaped this time

You would try as much as you can to add that little hitch to your home in many ways, but experimenting in the kitchen and disturbing something that you are already using for cooking can be killed at some point. It is only due to this reason that it is often advised to get your kitchen designed in such a way that it seems perfect for your eyes as well as to your cooking needs. If you are one of those who has to have a huge storage space in the kitchen this option of a U shaped kitchen will be perfect for you. Designed in such a way that each and every corner of the space is utilized to its maximum, this design can be chosen for any amount of space that is available. Often it is said that the U shaped kitchen is a dream of every cook. The design is such that it has a varied range of elongated cabinets. This helps in storing everything in the right way and also ensuring that the place looks completely elegant.aaaaThere are ample numbers of U shaped kitchen designs that you can take a look at over the internet. Since the websites selling and designing furniture online are quite many, you can get a lot of inspirations and ideas so that it helps you in explaining your requirements to the designers and also in understanding the pointers that they talk about when trying to explain you a particular kitchen design. There are many design and material options that you can choose from. When you take a look at the online kitchen furniture and design galleries, you will see that people these days try to use the bright colors and scrutinized designs. For instance, be it the design that uses everything in stainless steel or something that is made of teak wood and well polished edges.

If you talk about the kitchen designs that were prevalent a few years back, things did not look oriented and elegant. But now, no matter how small the place is you can surely get a parallel kitchen design customized accordingly and then designed to cater the needs without worrying about the space available. In the u shaped kitchen, one area can purely use to place your cooking equipments like coffee maker, microwave oven, etc. and the other can be used for placing the stove. The third side can be used as a dining place as well. Since the design has been thought in such a way that there are ample number of drawers and cabinets everywhere, things get placed in a systematic manner thus ensuring that outer areas look completely clean and sorted.

So now that you are planning to get your kitchen remodeled, consider the online options and then make a purchase with the designs available online or get them customized as per the budgets and needs you have in mind. These options come as something that completely saves you money and give your kitchen a complete makeover.

Just Cause 3’s Minimum Specifications Are High

Open-world action game Just Cause 3 is out next week. Developer Avalanche Studios have put up the minimum and recommended PC configurations to play the game.

Minimum Specifications:

  • OS: Vista SP2, Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K, 3.3 GHz | AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3 GHz
  • Memory: 6GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 (2GB) | AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2GB)

Recommended Specifications:

  • OS: Vista SP2, Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3GB) | AMD R9 290 (4GB)

In terms of hard drive space, you’ll need around 38.5GB free to download the game, which on install needs 54GB. If it’s anything like most of the high profile PC game releases we’ve seen this year, we aren’t expecting a whole lot of the game to come on disc – an affliction Batman: Arkham Knight, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Mortal Kombat X suffered from.

As for the specifications themselves, we find them to be on the higher side, especially in terms of CPU requirements compared to other open-world games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V, and The Witcher 3. Whether it demands such a steep entry barrier on the platform that it’s the cheapest on is questionable.

However, Avalanche has been on point with its previous PC efforts such as Mad Max which scaled brilliantly on most machines. We’ll have to wait till December 1, the game’s release day to find out if the same holds true for Just Cause 3.

Mobile Subscribers in India to Cross 500 Million by Year-End

India is set to have more than half a billion (500 million) unique mobile subscribers by the end of the year, thanks to affordable devices, easy tariff and digital literacy drives, a study by GSMA said on Thursday.

The report, “The Mobile Economy: India 2015”, said that 13 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers lived in India. The subscriber growth was forecast to outperform the regional and global averages over the coming years.

India was positioning itself as the world’s second-largest mobile market after China.

“India is a unique mobile market and one where the mobile ecosystem is playing a hugely influential role in transforming the lives of its citizens, and driving economic growth,” said Alex Sinclair, acting director general and chief technology officer at the GSMA.

GSMA is the global body of GSM telecom players.

“The market is now rapidly migrating to mobile broadband technology, which is providing a platform for India to transform into a digitally empowered society and connect many millions of unconnected citizens to the internet over the coming years,” Sinclair added.

“Continuous availability of spectrum has played a big role in India. India is an extremely competitive market,” Alasdair Grant, head of Asia, GSMA, told IANS.

The report said India had 453 million unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2014. This is forecast to cross the 500 million mark by the end of this year.

Another 250 million subscribers would be added by 2020 to reach 734 million, accounting for almost half of all the subscriber growth expected in the Asia Pacific region in this period.

“This strong growth is linked to India’s relatively low mobile subscriber penetration rate, which stood at 36 percent of the population at the end of 2014, compared to 50 percent global average. The subscriber penetration rate in India is forecast to reach 54 percent by 2020 as many millions more are connected by mobile,” the report added.

The report stated that India’s mobile industry was also a key driver of economic growth and job creation.

The industry made a contribution of Rs. 7.7 lakh crore ($116 billion) to the Indian economy in 2014, equivalent to 6.1 percent of India’s GDP.

“This contribution is forecast to almost double to Rs. 14 lakh crore by 2020, which would represent 8.2 percent of projected GDP by that point. The industry directly and indirectly supported 4 million in jobs in the Indian economy in 2014, a figure predicted to rise to 5 million by 2020,” it said.

The report also mentioned that the Indian government’s Digital India drive was playing a major role in digital inclusion.

“The number of individuals accessing the internet over mobile devices has grown from less than 100 million subscribers in 2010 to nearly 300 million at the end of 2014,” the report said.

Smartphones May Have Role in Rise of US Traffic Deaths

The number of deaths from traffic accidents in the United States jumped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, suggesting smartphones and other driving distractions could be making America’s roadways more dangerous, officials said on Tuesday.

Preliminary government statistics, released during a Thanksgiving holiday week known for heavy traffic congestion, showed deaths rising to 16,225 in the January-June period at a rate more than double an increase in overall driving spawned by falling gasoline prices and a growing economy.

“The increase in smartphones in our hands is so significant, there’s no question that has to play some role. But we don’t have enough information yet to determine how big a role,” said Mark Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s auto safety watchdog.

The jump in 2015 fatalities follows a decline in annual traffic deaths to 32,675 last year, for a record low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles travelled, according to NHTSA statistics. The 2014 data included 21,022 passenger vehicle deaths, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1975.

The increase in the first half of 2015 was the biggest six-month jump in traffic deaths reported since 1977, according to statistics. But officials cautioned that semi-annual results can be subject to major revisions and noted that a comparable 7.9 percent increase in early 2012 led to a 4 percent rise for that year as a whole.

Officials said it was too early to identify contributing factors. But Rosekind told reporters that officials are looking at likely causes including distracted driving and the possibility lower gas prices have encouraged more driving among “risky drivers” such as teen-agers.

Rosekind also criticized an absence of effective state laws that prohibit hand-held smartphones by drivers or require the use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

The auto safety agency expects to unveil a program next year to target $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,317 crores) in federal safety grants at human factors that are responsible for 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes

US Retailers Hunt for Attacks After Warning on Stealthy Malware

fuji_laptop_cyber_ndtv.jpg

US retailers are hunting for evidence of new breaches leading into the holiday shopping season after a cyber intelligence firm privately warned them about payment-card-stealing malware that it said evades almost all security software.

“This is by far the most sophisticated point-of-sale malware seen to date,” said Maria Noboa, lead technical analyst for privately held iSight Partners, which uncovered the malware and was due to release a technical report about it on Tuesday.

The firm had shared information about the malware, dubbed ModPOS, with clients in October, and briefed dozens of companies, including retailers, hospitality companies and payment-card processors, about its dangers.

Retailers began hunting for the malware in the approach to this week’s unofficial launch of the holiday shopping season, the busiest time of the year for most merchants, according to the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC), an industry group set up this year to fight hackers.

Retailers have been fending off increasingly sophisticated payment-card theft schemes for more than a decade. The biggest breaches to date include a notorious 2013 holiday-shopping-season attack onTarget Corp and a major breach at Home Depot Inc, each of which compromised tens of millions of payment card numbers.

ISight declined to say how it uncovered the ModPOS threat or name any targeted retailers.

Some retailers have found digital evidence that linked threat indicators they had previously seen to ModPOS, though that does not necessarily mean they were victims of breaches, said Wendy Nather, director of research for R-CISC.

“I couldn’t tell you who is most likely to be compromised by this,” Nather said. “But if it were harmless, we wouldn’t even be talking about it.”

Her group, which was set up this year, has approximately 50 members including Gap Inc, J.C. Penney Co, Lowe’s Co and Walgreens.

ISight said it first identified the malware late last year, but only came to understand its sophistication in recent months after breaking encryption that hid how the malware works.

ModPOS includes modules for “scraping” payment-card numbers from the memory of point-of-sale systems, logging keystrokes of computer users and transmitting stolen data, according to iSight.

India’s 4G Smartphone Shipments Jumped 21.4 Percent in Q3 2015

Smartphone shipments in India jumped 21.4 percent in the July-September quarter to 28.3 million units, buoyed by a three-fold jump in demand for 4G-enabled devices, according to a research firm IDC.

Smartphone shipments stood at 23.3 million units in the same period a year ago. The shipments increased over six percent from 26.5 million units in the April-June 2015 quarter.

“The growth in the smartphone market was helped by rising demand for affordable 4G smartphones,” IDC Senior Market Analyst Client devices Karthik J said in a statement.

In the third quarter, 4G-enabled devices witnessed almost three-fold increase in shipments over the previous quarter and one out of three smartphones shipped was 4G-enabled, IDC said.

“E-tailers such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon continue to drive shipments of the Chinese vendors, who have been aggressively trying to capture the 4G smartphone market in India,” Karthik said.

Samsung emerged as the biggest 4G player in India with its popular sub-$150 (roughly Rs. 10,000) LTE models such as Galaxy Grand Prime and Galaxy J2, IDC said.

Samsung was the largest player with 24 percent share of the smartphone market, followed byMicromax (16.7 percent), Intex (10.8 percent), Lenovo Group (Lenovo and Motorola) (9.5 percent) andLava (4.7 percent).

“Almost one out of every two smartphones sold, had 5-inch plus displays. Most of the popular models in the market today support 4G, have a large screen, and are attractively priced at less than $200 (roughly Rs. 13,300),” IDC Market Analyst Client Devices Jaipal Singh said.

The total handset market (feature and smartphones) grew about 2 percent to 73.8 million units in the third quarter of 2015 from 72.4 million units in the year-ago period.

Samsung led the market with 21.6 percent share. Domestic handset firm Intex toppled Micromax (11.6 percent) to become the second largest player with 11.8 percent. Lava and Karbonn followed in the list with 9 percent and 6.6 percent share, respectively.

“Our core focus has always been on our consumers and meeting their requirements. We have consolidated our market position through enhancing our product portfolio with innovative devices and by expanding retail presence across the country,” Intex Technologies Business Head-Mobiles, Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, said.

Feature phone shipments decreased to 45.6 million this year from 49.1 million in the July-September quarter of 2014. IDC said smartphones are expected to outstrip the share of feature phones in 2016 in the Indian market as low prices and better value continues to drive migration in the coming years.

“We expect smartphones to maintain a healthy double-digit growth over the next few years… 4G-enabled devices are expected to be at the forefront, with the entire ecosystem preparing for this shift in the near future,” IDC Research Manager Kiran Kumar said.

US Retailers Give Shoppers New Reasons to Use Smartphones in Stores

At some Macy’s outlets this holiday season, shoppers who download the retailer’s app will be able to use their smartphones to guide them through the store to products they’re seeking.

At JCPenney, customers will be able to take a snapshot of, for example, boots worn by a person passing by and quickly find out if the store has similar ones in stock. And Staples is testing an app that will allow sales clerks to let customers know how the store’s prices match up against Amazon and other rivals.

Hoping to claw back market share from online rivals – and tired of watching customers use their phones to find better deals than those offered in stores – brick and mortar retailers are trying to give shoppers different reasons to use their phones while doing holiday shopping.

The new apps will allow customers to easily order out-of-stock items for home delivery, to check store prices and even to summon a clerk.

But the retailers’ efforts will face two significant challenges in the looming holiday season: getting customers to embrace the new technology, which is still sometimes glitchy and dependent on in-store systems, and getting them to trust that stores can match the Web’s prices and convenience.

Retail purchases by mobile phone have increased by 34 percent in the last year, according to IBM, which estimates that more than 40 percent of the online traffic and about 20 percent of sales this Thanksgiving weekend will come from smartphones.

A Reuters/ Ipsos poll of more than 3,000 respondents this month found that about half of those surveyed said they would use their mobile phones while shopping in stores this holiday season, for such things as making price comparisons, taking photos or researching products. Last year, only about 42% of respondents said they would use their phones while shopping.

Companies that don’t make mobile work are playing a “very dangerous” game, said Jay Henderson, head of IBM’s cloud-based marketing platform. “Retailers that can’t deliver a more personalized experience on mobile devices will start losing customers to businesses that can,” he said.

In addition to its pilot program guiding customers to products within stores, and a photo program similar to JCPenney’s, Macy’s has taken inspiration from dating app Tinder, recommending products to customers online who swipe one way to like an item and the other to reject it.

JCPenney’s app can be used to scan barcodes to pull up product information or order out of stock items, and it saves digital coupons – two increasingly common offerings in retailer apps.

“We look at using phones in stores as an enhancement to shopping,” said Kate Coultas, a representative with JCPenney which is heavily focused on mobile this year.

Service with a tap
Stores are trying to make customer service easier, too.

Best Buy’s app now lets shoppers call, text or email a representative while in stores.

Target Corp is testing an in-store “digital service ambassador” in 25 Los Angeles stores to help customers use Target apps.

Ulta Beauty is testing an app that will allow clerks to access customer information and point them to products they might like.

Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global e-commerce at Staples, said his company knows that it must satisfy the desires of its customers to find low prices. The company, like many others, will match online and in-store prices of competitors, including Amazon, Best Buy and Office Depot.

Customers “have a phone that is basically a super computer, and they will find it somewhere else” for less if they can, he said.

Companies offering web apps and in-store technologies will also have to grapple with keeping the new apps and systems working and up to date. That means ensuring that Wi-Fi in stores works, and that terminals function.

Recent visits to a Staples store in New York City found that a kiosk set up to allow people to order online wasn’t functioning, and at a JCPenney store in the city, the Wi-Fi didn’t work. Both companies said the problems encountered were unusual and that they have backup systems in place.

“Poorly executed plans can be worse than no mobile strategy at all,” said Perry Kramer, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “The dangers are losing those customers for the rest of the year or for a long time.”

Microsoft Announces Dates of Xbox Digital Black Friday Deals for India

Earlier this week, we reported that Microsoft is gearing up for a digital Black Friday sale on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games in the US, with dates for India to be announced shortly.

The company has now confirmed that India’s Xbox One digital Black Friday Deals will go live from Friday.

“India will get the Black Friday sale starting tomorrow on Xbox Live. Initially open to Xbox Live Gold members only and starting coming Tuesday open to all,” a Microsoft representative explained to Gadgets 360.

A cursory glance at the US Xbox site indicated that these are the same timings as when digital Black Friday discounts are available for US customers as well. It also gave us an idea of what to expect in terms of discounts.

“Xbox Live Gold members get early access to Xbox One and Xbox 360 digital game deals starting November 20, 2015, with up to 40-60 percent off select titles, including a deeper discount of up to 10 percent,” the text on the US Xbox One website reads.

As for what games to expect? A short teaser video on the site (embedded above) showed off heavy hitters like Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham Knight, Gears of War, and The Witcher 3.

Although getting games cheap is always better for consumers, keep in mind that most Xbox One games are around a 30 to 40GB download. For some, with slow Internet speeds or small data caps, it could work out to be a whole lot more expensive than ordering a physical copy from websites like Amazon or walking down to a store and buying an Xbox One game on a disc.

Google Maps Now Available Offline in India With Turn-by-Turn Navigation

Google India on Wednesday announced that its Maps app will be available offline with features such as voice-based turn-by-turn navigation while in offline mode.

At Google I/O 2015, the company had revealed plans to bring offline search to its Maps app and had stressed it was aimed mainly for “emerging markets” where Internet connection was spotty, and data charges were expensive, as navigation via GPS was independent of mobile networks.

The launch of offline Maps in India comes just days after Google officially introduced the feature on Android. While offline Maps were available previously on the app, features including offline navigation and search features are some of the additions. Another notable feature is the information about specific locations such as hours of operation, contact information, as well as ratings which will also be accessible offline.

For using an offline map, users will need to download the map of an area on the device, and it will continue to work when there’s no connectivity. Once an area has been saved for offline access, users can also enable turn-by-turn driving directions as well as search for specific destinations even when there is no Internet connection.

google_maps_offline_io2015.jpgThe company explains that when a connection is found, Maps will switch to online automatically and will allow users to access the full version of the app such as live traffic conditions for the current route. It’s worth noting that Google Maps will only download offline areas on the device when on a Wi-Fi connection.

Announcing the offline features for Maps, Sanket Gupta, Program Manager, Google Maps, in a blogpost said that the latest version of Maps on Android, which is now available to download, comes with new offline features. He added that the offline features will soon arrive for iOS users in India. Adding further, Gupta said that the company will be adding more offline features in the future.

Huawei P9 Max Leaked Benchmark Results Reveal Kirin 950 SoC

The Huawei P9 Max, the Chinese telecommunications giant’s rumoured large-screen smartphone, has appeared on AnTuTu benchmarks, giving us partial information on the specifications. The benchmark results also reveal the inclusion of company’s recently launched Kirin 950 SoC processor.

The phablet device, which went through AnTuTu benchmarks by the P9 50S moniker, would be sporting a 6.2-inch screen size with 1600×2560 pixel resolution display. The pixel density would be 486ppi. The results also show the inclusion of Huawei’s home-made octa-core Kirin 950 processor along with Mali-T880 MP4 GPU and 4GB RAM. Notably, the Kirin 950 SoC was unveiled by Huawei last week in an event in Beijing. The chipset features four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

huaewi_p9_max_antutu_gizmochina.jpgThe AnTuTu benchmark results shared by GizmoChina also shows the Huawei P9 Max to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and house 64GB of inbuilt storage. It scored 73,759 in the benchmarks, while the 3D graphics score was 16,822. However, both were not as impressive as that of Meizu Pro 5, which scored 76,244 and 23,393. It is worth mentioning that the Meizu handset under-the-hood carries the octa-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor with Mali T-760 MP8 GPU. There are no launch date and price details for the Huawei P9 Max phablet yet.

Talking about phablets, Huawei would soon be launching its Mate 8 phablet as well. The company in ateaser last week suggested the launch date of the device as November 26. The phablet is also said to house the company’s Kirin 950 processor. An earlier leaked roadmap of the company tipped that the Mate 8 may feature a 6-inch QHD display, Kirin 950 SoC, and a 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS.