Posts Tagged Toshiba

Scientists at Toshiba, Cambridge University find cheaper way to ensure internet security

Scientists at Toshiba and Cambridge University have perfected a technique that offers a cheap expensive way to ensure the security of the high-speed fiber optic cables that are the backbone of the modern Internet.

The research, which will be published Tuesday in the science journal Physical Review X, describes a technique for making infinitesimally short time measurements needed to capture pulses of quantum light hidden in streams of billions of photons transmitted each second in data networks.

Scientists used an advanced photodetector to extract weak photons from the torrents of light pulses carried by fiber optic cables, making it possible to safely distribute secret keys necessary to scramble data over distances up to 56 miles.

Such data scrambling systems will most likely be used first for government communications systems for national security. But they will also be valuable for protecting financial data and ultimately all information transmitted over the Internet.

The approach is based on quantum physics, which offers the ability to exchange information in a way that the act of eavesdropping on the communication would be immediately apparent. The achievement requires the ability to reliably measure a remarkably small window of time to capture a pulse of light, in this case lasting just 50 picoseconds – the time it takes light to travel 15 millimeters.

Public key cryptography uses a key that is publicly distributed and a related secret key that is held privately, allowing two people who have never met physically to securely exchange information. But such systems are vulnerable to a number of things.

If it is possible to reliably exchange secret keys, it is possible to use an encryption system known as a one-time pad, one of the most secure forms. Several commercially available quantum key distribution systems exist, but they rely on the necessity of transmitting the quantum key separately from communication data, frequently in a separate optical fiber, according to Andrew J. Shields, one of the authors of the paper and the assistant managing director for Toshiba Research Europe. This adds cost and complexity to the cryptography systems used to protect the high-speed information that flows over fiber optic networks.

Weaving quantum information into conventional networking data will lower the cost and simplify the task of coding and decoding the data, making quantum key distribution systems more attractive for commercial data networks, the authors said.

Modern optical data networking systems increase capacity by transmitting multiple data streams simultaneously in different colors of light. The Toshiba-Cambridge system sends the quantum information over the same fiber, but isolates it in its own frequency.

“We can pick out the quantum photons from the scattered light using their expected arrival time at the detector,” Shields said. “The quantum signals hit the detector at precisely known times – every one nanosecond, while the arrival time of the scattered light is random.”

Despite their ability to carry prodigious amounts of data, fiber-optic cables are also highly insecure. An eavesdropper needs only to bend a cable and expose the fiber, Shields said. It is then possible to capture light that leaks from the cable and convert it into digital ones and zeros.

“The laws of quantum physics tell us that if someone tries to measure those single photons, that measurement disturbs their state and it causes errors in the information carried by the single photon,” he said. “By measuring the error rate in the secret key, we can determine whether there has been any eavesdropping in the fiber and in that way directly test the secrecy of each key.”

Source: The New York Times

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The Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410: A Mini-Review

The Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410 sticks out
like a sore thumb from all other laptops (let alone ultrabooks) because of one
outstanding feature: Its LCD display is in a 21:9 aspect ratio (or 2.39:1 for
you cinephiles out there). What does that mean? Well, we’ll get to that laptop part in a bit, but for
now, here is the requisite specs report of the rest of the laptop components.

This Toshiba Satellite comes with a 1.7 GHz
Intel Core i5 processor, 6 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB hybrid solid state drive,
and an Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics chip. It has 3 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI
port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, a couple of Harman Kardon stereo
speakers, and yes, a 14.4 inch screen at 1792 x 768 pixels. This being an
ultrabook, there is no dedicated GPU or an optical drive. There aren’t any
upgradable Toshiba laptop
replacement parts
available. The selling price is at $999.

The aforementioned Harman Kardon speakers
are actually quite nice, sounding very near in quality to the premium speakers
in higher end Toshiba Satellites. The bass tends to get distorted at higher
volumes, but that’s more or less par for the course with laptop speakers. For
what they are, they’re pretty much near the top of the pack.

 

But let’s talk about the screen, since it’s
pretty much this ultrabook’s selling point. As stated, it’s wide enough to
accommodate an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. This is otherwise known as Cinemascope
in movie parlance; or in laymen’s terms, the widescreen-of-choice for
blockbuster movies. With this Satellite’s integration of such a screen, it
seems to be announcing that it’s made primarily with movie-watching in mind.
But how well does that work out for it, exactly?

First things first: If it’s a
film-viewing-designed laptop, why hasn’t Toshiba seen fit to include a Blu-ray
optical drive? A good question indeed, and one which may boggle the mind at
first; but when explained, will actually make sense.

Movies encoded onto Blu-rays are
non-anamorphic, meaning that they don’t stretch to fill a whole screen with
images, but that’s because they don’t really need to. To understand this, let’s
dial it back for a bit, back to when televisions at home were still in the
almost-square, 4:3 aspect ratio.

                          

When DVDs began emerging as a viable
mass-market product, not a few people became somewhat adept at the aesthetical
appreciation of movies. This appreciation included a clamouring for movies to
be seen at home in their native aspect ratios. That is, if a movie was shot in
widescreen, then it should be seen at home in widescreen as well.

Problem was, TVs back then were in 4:3. To
solve this, home video manufacturers began releasing widescreen movies with
black bars at the top and bottom to retain the widescreen aspect.

This was working for a while there, but
then widescreen HDTVs suddenly began appearing in homes. Because widescreen
home videos were non-anamorphic (not stretchable) and simply had horizontal
black bars, this made them appear rather small on widescreen TVs, with black bars
not just horizontally but also at the sides of the image. To solve this, home
video manufacturers then began making widescreen movies anamorphic.

However, this only applied to 16:9
widescreen movies, since HDTVs were also at 16:9. For 21:9 films, horizontal
black bars were still a necessity; the same reasoning as when all widescreen
films were made to fit on 4:3 TV screens.

What I’m trying to say here is that, even
though this Satellite model has a 21:9 screen seemingly fit for 21:9 movies,
Blu-rays encode these films non-anamorphically. Therefore, 21:9 films will
still retain the horizontal bars, along with vertical bars, in the same way
that non-anamorphic 16:9 films were on 16:9 HDTVs. This in turn means that
Blu-ray playback is not exactly ideal for this laptop, eliminating the need for
a Blu-ray drive.

I do hope you got all that.

That said, it shouldn’t be too long before
21:9 screens become the new standard, just as 16:9 is now. Also, some 21:9
movies and trailers made available on the net have the horizontal bars removed.
If you happen to find one, view it on the Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410 to get a
taste of what the future might bring.

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‎TechInUs Review: Toshiba Excite 10

Toshiba announces Excite 10, 7.7 and 13 tablets, Thrive slates on their way out
Toshiba Excite 10 ICS tablet goes on sale, prices start at $450 for 16GB model
Toshiba AT200 review

In the tablet market, big as it is, one notion generally holds true: thinner equals better. Toshiba, for example, surely tried to equate a svelte silhouette with a premium product in its super-slim Excite 10 LE. And indeed, its 1.18-pound body and solid Honeycomb experience add up to tablet that puts Toshiba’s earlier Thrives to shame. That $530 model is definitely priced like a high-end tablet, but it’s accompanied by a new, lower-priced Toshiba slate, the Excite 10.

For $450, you get a tablet with a tad more meat on its bones, but that increase in weight and thickness comes with some more powerful specs: a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAM — not to mention Ice Cream Sandwich. While you can probably guess which of these slates makes a stronger contender (hint: the one without the “LE”), figuring out the Toshiba Excite 10’s place in the grand hierarchy of tablets takes a little more exploration. Luckily, that’s what we’re here for, so join us past the break as we do our best to get through the review without a single “excite” pun.

Hardware

If you’ve ever had your hands on — let alone glimpsed — the Toshiba Thrive 10, the first thing that will strike you about the Excite 10 tablet is the slimmer silhouette. While the Thrive measures 0.6 inches (15.24mm) thick, the Excite is whittled down to 0.35 inches (8.89mm). Similarly, Toshiba has cut down on weight: the Excite 10 weighs 1.32 pounds (21.12 ounces) compared to 1.6 (25.6 ounces) for the Thrive 10. This, of course, makes it much more comfortable to hold for extended periods of time.

Toshiba clearly went back to the drawing board to improve upon the chintzy build quality of its Thrive slates. In addition to slimming down the design, the company opted for more premium materials. The Excite 10 ditches the Thrive’s rubberized cover for a classier aluminum backing. It doesn’t sacrifice a good grip, thanks to a dimpled texture. While the slate is comfortable to hold, it bears mentioning that the design doesn’t feel very sturdy — if you press on the back, you’ll notice a bit of flex.

 

The Excite 10 has the right idea when it comes to ports. The left side of the slate houses a headphone jack, micro-HDMI connection, micro-USB 2.0 and a full-size SD card slot that lets you add up to 128GB of external storage (and theoretically more). The left side sports the power button, a lever for locking screen orientation and a volume rocker, while the top has the 2-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear-facing shooter.

Moving on to the display, we have a 10.1-inch Corning Gorilla Glass panel with a 1280 x 800 resolution. At 149ppi, that pixel density isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but the screen at least delivers good viewing angles and accurate colors. One pitfall, though, is that the display exhibits some backlight bleeding. This is most noticeable when you’re viewing darker screens, and while it doesn’t make it impossible to enjoy movies and YouTube clips on the tablet, it does separate the Excite 10 from higher-end slates.

 

Software

The Excite 10 runs Ice Cream Sandwich (build 4.0.3, to be exact), and as with past tablets, Toshiba didn’t tamper with Google’s interface. Yep, it’s pretty much stock Android here, and that’s not a bad thing. Ice Cream Sandwich’s streamlined interface shines on the 1280 x 800 display, and the tablet isn’t bogged down by obtrusive bloatware.

Toshiba pre-loaded the full host of Google apps — including Calendar, Gmail, Play Market, Search, Voice and YouTube– along with its own branded utilities. There’s Media Player for playing music and watching videos, File Manager for keeping tabs on your media and News Place for, well, catching up on the headlines. The third-party apps are for the most part useful; you get Adobe Reader, Netflix, Quickoffice and the Zinio e-magazine reader. Sure, there are five games, including Backgammon and Solitaire, pre-installed, but these are pretty inoffensive.

Camera

Like most tablets, the Excite 10 is no point-and-shoot camera replacement, and the 5-megapixel shooter won’t deliver any frame-worthy shots. In fact, the camera is downright bad — images look fuzzy and lack detail, and zooming in only makes matters worse. Expect the washed-out colors that come standard on mid-range tablets’ cameras. No vivid reds and blues here; pics we snapped on the street looked dull and overexposed. Moreover, images show pixelation and, even when we pinpointed our focus spot, not very sharp.

 

The Excite 10 is capable of capturing 1080p video, though the muted hues and lack of image stabilization don’t add up to great HD footage. Still, video is pretty fluid — especially if you’re not moving it around too much — and the tablet does a good job at capturing ambient sound.
Configuration options and the competition

For $450, you can get an Excite 10 tablet with 16GB of storage. Stepping up to 32GB will cost you $530, while the top-of-the-line 64GB version goes for $650. It’s not the most expensive tablet out there — ergo, it falls short of the new iPad — but it’s priced along the lines of the Acer Iconia Tab A510 ($450) and the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 ($379). The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 may be $50 cheaper, but that slate trailed behind other similarly priced options when we ran it through our benchmark tests.

Taking a closer look at those competitors, we have a strong contender in the Iconia Tab A510. Like the Excite 10, that slate starts at $450 and runs a Tegra 3 processor, and it offers excellent performance and long battery life (10:23 hours) in a slightly heftier package than the Excite 10 (1.5 pounds versus 1.3). Then there’s the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 ($379), which offers solid performance of its own and stellar longevity when you add in the keyboard dock. And though the Android purists among you can skip past this sentence, it’s worth mentioning that the iPad 2 is now priced more competitively than the Excite 10 ($400 versus $450).
Wrap-up

Toshiba hasn’t exactly positioned the Excite 10 as a high-end tablet, and its $450 starting price is par for the course for a mid-range product. We’d choose the Excite 10 over the $530 Excite 10 LE in a heartbeat, as it offers much better performance and Ice Cream Sandwich in a package that’s only slightly bulkier. And compared to Toshiba’s earlier Thrive tablets, not to mention most other competitors, the Excite 10 has an attractive, streamlined design.

As it becomes easier to find a good sub-$500 slate, it’s also becoming more common to see quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processors on the spec list. That’s all good news for you, dear readers, and the Toshiba Excite 10 has many of the makings of a great Android tablet. The thin and comfortable design, full-size SD card slot, clean build of Ice Cream Sandwich and Tegra 3 power all add up to a good user experience, but shortcomings like backlight bleeding and occasional performance glitches hold this tablet back from earning a glowing endorsement. While $450 is not chump change, the Excite 10 might be worth it if you have your heart set on a 10-incher running Android. However, for the same price, you can get Android tablets from Acer and ASUS that provide longer battery life and equal — if not better — performance.

 

 

 

 

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