CERN Releases 300TB of LHC Data to the World

Do you remember the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) run by CERN? The device that people feared would create a black hole? In a move that’s rarely done, the organisation has now released terabytes of data onto the web for everyone to use.

The large release is explained by Kati Lassila-Perini, a physicist working on the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, who explained the data release simply by saying “Once we’ve exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly”. That simple, they’ve done what they can with the data and they want to see what others can do, hoping that it can benefit others by “inspiring high school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow”.

If you want to view the data it’s easy enough to get your hands on from here, but CERN has also provided a bunch of tools to help you analyse the data (both raw data from the detectors within the LHC and the datasets they created). Not stopping there they’ve even provided a custom CERN Linux environment ready for use on a virtual machine, alongside scripts and apps that you can find on Github.

While the data is from 2011, that doesn’t stop it being amazing information that normally you could only read in press releases and journals. So who is going to study the universe and particles this weekend?

Microsoft Translator Can Now Translate Text From Images

Isn’t it just annoying when you go away on Holiday or spot something and sit there for five minutes wondering what the text even says? Microsoft is looking to make it a little easier on us with a Translator that won’t just do text but can also translate text from images.

While it was available on the Windows Phone since 2010 and managed to provide quick and accurate translations from just looking at a menu. Now the feature is coming to Android (with iOS getting the feature back in February), giving you the ability to quickly load and understand any of the 21 languages the app supports.

The Android app is getting a few other boosters alongside the new feature, with inline translations giving you the ability to hover over text and translate to any of the 50+ online libraries while an additional 30 libraries bring the offline language count to 43 in total.

While Google’s translate app has had the feature since 2012, the fact that even more apps are getting translators built it, for both text and Skype getting to translate calls via its universal translator, it could be only a matter of time before languages online mean nothing but a setting on your PC.

iTunes Allowance to Shutdown Next Month

iTunes allowance is a service that allowed parents to place money into their child’s iTunes account on a monthly basis. No need to allow them to borrow your card or even for you to type into or access their account, preventing you from hundreds of pounds of charges to your card you never expected. Come next month though and the service will be shut down.

In an announcement, Apple has stated that after April 13th users aren’t able to create new iTunes allowance setups, with all current allowance setups being shut down as of May 25th. If you are one of the many who already has a system in place, don’t worry any unused allowance will remain in the account until it has been used, while Apple is keen to stress that similar effects can be achieved using different schemes they provide.

If you are looking to provide for your family, you can share your purchases through the family sharing feature while if you are looking to take sole control of the system then using the  iTunes gift system would be ideal. With no reasoning behind the removal of the feature, people are left wondering if the new systems will teach the same values about money and the consequences of spending an allowance.

Nintendo’s Miitomo App Has Over 4 Million Users Monthly

Nintendo’s first foray into the realm of smartphone apps, Miitomo created a lot of fuss when it was first released last month. Even so, it managed to garner a surprisingly sizable userbase for a simple app based around Nintendo’s “Mii” characters, with SurveyMonkey estimating that over 4 million users who use the app at least once a month and as many as 1 million who use it daily.

Miitomo itself is an unusual experience, seeming more like a Mii-based social interaction platform than something that would truly be considered a game. The main focus of the app centers around the user-created Mii representation of themselves (or in many cases not), being able to answer questions, communicate with friends and take pictures with the Mii overlaid.

Even though at this early stage of its life, such a large amount of monthly users likely includes the curious who may never use it again, Miitomo is continuing to attract more users. Over the last week alone, Miitomo can be estimated to have had as many as 2.6 million downloads, being a constant fixture in the top downloaded lists on both Apple’s app store and the Google Play Store and having an average of 370,000 downloads every day. The demographic is split slightly towards Apple, with 2/3 of users being on Apple’s iOS and the remainder on Android.

Meanwhile, it may not be the most profitable of Nintendo’s ventures, but Miitomo is estimated to be making them $40,000 per day across both platforms, with the majority of this revenue coming from iOS users. This gives it an ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User) of 3-4 cents, which is respectable for a very casual mobile experience.

Whether Miitomo has the power to stay popular remains to be seen, but in coming weeks the true retention rate of the app could be discovered. Only time will tell whether Miitomo was Nintendo’s 15 minutes of mobile fame or a lasting force on the mobile platform, giving them reason to bring fully fledged Nintendo games to mobile.

Microsoft Releases Roadmap for Windows 10

When Microsoft released Windows 10 there were mixed opinions, with many saying that the unstable and unsupported features it presented meant that upgrading came at a risk. People then raised issues when they found that there were no Windows 10 update notes, a decision they eventually changed. Most recently they’ve come under fire due to the UWP, a system that’s been used in both their current releases and has even raised a developer to question their commitment to gamers. In order to help ease our questions, Microsoft has now released a roadmap showing what has, and what is to come.

In development is the ability to use a Windows or Android phone to store remote credentials to unlock your Windows 10 PC’s and use an app to unlock anything that runs Microsoft’s passport or Windows Hello systems. This will then be expanded with companion devices like the Microsoft Band 2 being used in two-factor authentication to unlock your PC’s.

Enjoy viewing your screen somewhere else? Microsoft is currently working on streaming Continuum-compatible devices to any screen connected to a Windows 10 PC while another feature they list is the ability to stream your entire PC experience to another PC. With Picture in Picture mode and the remote display experience also in the works, a key focus seems to be sharing the Windows 10 experience on a variety of devices.

With nothing achieved or cancelled at the moment, it will be interesting to see how these projects go and which ones come alive in the future. You can check out the roadmap here  to see the long list of potential and upcoming features for yourself.

Reddit Releases Official Smartphone App

Reddit, the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet”, has released its first official app for Android and iOS, and not before time. While reddit-loving mobile users have been well-catered for with a number of solid third-party smartphone apps – including BaconReader, reddit is fun, and Alien Blue, which was adopted by reddit as the de-facto official app since 2014 – waiting 11 years to release your first official app is a little tardy.

“This is the beginning of our journey with you, our app users. For everyone joining us on this ride,” writes Alex Le, reddit’s new Vice President of of Consumer Products, in a reddit announcement, “you can expect a lot of updates and new features that we’ll be rolling out to mobile first. Our first feature releases are getting prepared now and we’ll be updating at least once a month. Of course, if you already have an app you like, you’re free to continue enjoying it. We will continue to support our free public api.”

“Please give our new apps a spin and post love notes, feature requests, roasts, etc., to this thread. We’d love to hear what you think and will be incorporating feedback,” he added. “I will personally read each top comment (using the Speed Read button in our iPhone app!).”

Existing reddit users that download and log into Reddit for Android or Reddit for iPhone receive three free months of reddit Gold.

The Waterfront – Panasonics 4K Seat For Airplanes

Going to take a long flight in the near future? You may want to hope that Panasonic is the ones providing you with the in-flight entertainment though after they revealed the Waterfront, a 4k experience to keep you happy on the plane.

Concealed within a private seating area, not only are you welcomed to your own private refuge but the technologies there to make your flight as enjoyable as being at home. The lighting around your area is controlled by an app you can place on your phone, giving you control over the lighting in the front pocket and water bottle independently.

If that wasn’t enough from the app then you can take full control of the 24-inch 4K TV that sits in front of you for the duration of the flight. With video and music playback, with all the sound provided through a set of headphones placed neatly beside your head, the app can only be used to control your adjustable seats and a “do not disturb” function (complete with wake up time alert for the cabin crew) , the app continues to give you options when you’re enjoying your flight.

With a wireless charging area for your phone, power ports, and an HDMI input to let you play your own movies, you can even video chat with the built-in camera. Once you’ve got everything to your liking, you can save the settings and keep them for your next flight, the app even gives you a notification about where to pick up your bags. While it’s not set for release till 2019, you could soon enjoy the freedom and comfort of a 4K screen on your long distance flights.

Orbweb.me Now Also Supported on All Thecus Linux NAS’

It has been a little over half a year since Thecus introduced the support for Orbweb.me on their WSS-based NAS’. That was so successful that the support now has been extended to all of Thecus’ Linux-based NAS’ too. Whether you run the older Thecus OS 5.0 or the recently released Thecus OS 7.0, you can now have easy access to your NAS and everything that’s connected to it from anywhere.

Some might say, I already have access to it all from everywhere, that’s the point of a NAS. But the ease of which you have access to it, how easy it is to use, and the security behind it isn’t always the same. The Orbweb.me application brings a new remote access experience to Thecus Linux NAS from any web browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox as well as mobile devices powered by iOS and Android.

Orbweb.me is a P2P (Peer To Peer) module that allows users to easily view, stream and manage files in their NAS anytime and anywhere. Best of all, you don’t need to know your IP address and it works well over shared connections too.

Orbweb4.0 offers several features including webcam monitoring with timeline view and snapshot. All these features further increase Thecus NAS functionality. The Orbweb.me application is also available to download for any windows PC in its basic version, but because of the partnership between Thecus and Orbweb, Thecus NAS include a subscription for the Orbweb.me Ultimate Version that otherwise require an annual $69.99 subscription fee.

Thecus NAS uses an arsenal of security protocols and features to maintain user´s data safety. To prevent data from coming under attack when data is being transferred, Orbweb.me uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure all data traffic.

$1.4m TSA App Built in 10 Minutes

It was recently revealed that the contract to create US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) randomizer app – which decides which pre-check line travellers should join prior to a flight with a giant left or right arrow on an iPad screen – cost an absurd $1.4 million.

$1.4m for this:

In an effort to expose the inordinate cost of the randomizer, Android coder Chris Pacia created his own version of the app. In 10 minutes, at an estimated labour cost of around $10:

The cost of the app was revealed via a freedom of information (FOI) request made by coder Kevin Burke. He sent the TSA the following e-mail:

“I request that a copy of documents concerning the following subject matter be provided to me:

The RFP (Request for Proposal) issued by the TSA for designing and implementing the “TSA Randomizer” iPad application, described here and currently in use by TSA agents at security checkpoints at many airports, including Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport.

Details of any submitted bids from contractors or internal government agencies to design and construct the “TSA Randomizer” iPad app.

The final signed contract between the TSA and a contractor to implement the “TSA Randomizer” iPad app.”

In return, the TSA sent him a two documents: a covering letter, and another letter which showed a payment of $336,413.59 to IBM, the developer of the app. Further investigation, though, revealed a number of other documents, already in the public domain, which revealed the cost be closer to $1.4m.

Over one million dollars for 10 minutes work. I’m in the wrong job.

Visual Studio Will Now Include Xamarin

Microsoft recently brought out Xamarin, software based on letting people create programs using C# and .NET operating systems which can then be ported to both iOS and Android. This meant that using the Microsoft based languages you could develop software for a variety of phones. It’s now been revealed that if you are interested in using the software, all you will need is Visual Studio.

With this announcement you can enjoy Xamarin for free as part of Visual studio, and not just any Visual studio but every single version of the development software. With Visual studio offering a free community edition you could soon find the development tools available as part of the free suite of tools, with no restrictions either.

With the original releases of Xamarin featuring a restriction on the free version of the software, limiting just how large the software you created could be before requiring a paid license. Enterprise-orientated features of Xamarin will be restricted to Visual Studio Enterprise subscription users.

If you were looking at using it for OS X or iOS development you’ll need to have access to an OS X machine. In another step for Microsoft, the Xamarin SDK will be made open source and released on Github for all to see and use, including the Xamarin Forms library for creating quick and easy user interfaces.

iOS Mobile Device Management Protocol Can be Abused to Load Malware

 

Apple has worked hard to make it difficult to allow users to unwittingly install unauthorized and malicious apps onto their devices. Despite this, there is still one way in that attackers are still able to exploit: the mobile device management protocol. Researchers from Check Point Software Technologies will be demonstrating the hack as part of a presentation at the Black Hat Asia security conference on Friday.

The technique to inject malware onto iOS devices involves taking advantage of the communication between MDM products and iOS devices being vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks and can be performed with minimal user interaction. MDM products are used by companies to configure, control and secure the devices of employees remotely, as well as providing access to private app stores for easy internal app deployment. Of course, this attack relies on the target device being registered to an MDM server in order for there to be a connection to hijack.

Initially, a user would have to be tricked into installing a malicious configuration profile on their device, which could be easy to slip in with a number of the profiles that corporate users are used to installing such as VPN, Wi-Fi, email and other important settings. The malicious profile would then install a root certificate to route the device’s internet connection through a proxy. This can be used to route all traffic through a server under the attacker’s control and engage the man-in-the-middle attack. From there, the attacker is free to push malicious apps to the device using a stolen enterprise certificate or a malware app could be disguised as an app the user expects. A user must still accept the choice to install the app, but even if it is refused, the attacker is free to push the request repeatedly, essentially locking the device up until the install is accepted.

Check Point have named this vulnerability Sidestepper, due to the fact that it effectively side-steps the new restrictions for enterprise app deployments in iOS9. Misuse of enterprise certificates is nothing new either, with Check Point finding that in one Fortune 100 company, over 300 sideloaded apps signed with over 150 enterprise certificates existed. So while MDM technologies may be great for businesses, users must be just as much on their guard against attacks targeting those deployments as any other app or profile they may install.

Jakarta Taxi Drivers Are Protesting Against Uber

Recent years have seen the rise of apps that sometimes disturb common practices, things that have been going on for many years already. One of the things disturbed has been Taxi’s with many apps offering similar services, often for cheaper fares. Taxi Drivers in Jakarta have had enough and are now protesting against Uber and similar apps.

Taxi drivers in Jakarta are saying that apps such as Uber and grab have impacted their business, resulting in reduced salaries. The impact they say is because unlike Taxi companies, the apps are not affected by the costs and regulations that Taxi companies have to pay.

The protests have been less than calm though with reports of violence erupting. One man stated that he saw a passenger being threatened with rocks when a taxi driver accepted a passenger and footage has shown taxi drivers being threatened and attacked for not taking part in the strikes.

No matter what their opinions on the matter, attacking other taxi drivers does nothing but harms their reputation, arguments and relationships with fellow workers as they fight for the “good of the group”. The protesters have taken to blocking roads outside many government buildings, including the ministry of communication and parliament, resulting in heavy delays in the capital.

With apps like Uber offering features that taxi’s simply can’t, such as the new Family ride service, are taxi’s able to keep up with the apps or are they sticking to a model which technology has made dated? Do you use Uber or are you a Taxi person? Which is better in your opinion and why use one when the other is available? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below

Driver Blames Demon in His Uber App for Killing Spree

An Uber driver, charged with the murder of six people, and wounding of two others on 20th February, has claimed that he was forced to commit the crimes by a “devil figure” in his Uber app, which was controlling his “mind and body.” In a series of documents released by the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Office (obtained courtesy of the Detroit Free Press), Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old former Uber driver from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, told police after his arrest that a symbol resembling the head of a demon popped up on his app – which he used to conduct his business as an Uber driver – and “that’s when the problems started.”

“I asked Dalton what made him get his gun tonight and he said the Uber app made him,” the police report reads. “Dalton described the devil figure as a horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body.”

Dalton claimed that when his Uber app turned from “red to black that is when he started having problems.” When the app returned to red, he “got his presence back.”

According to the accused’s wife, Carole Dalton, though, tells a different story. According to her, Dalton had been in an argument with a rival driver, who had supposedly shot at him. “[H]e was nearly run off the road last week by this same vehicle, which he believed was owned by an angry taxi driver, upset that Jason was now driving for Uber and taking away his business,” she told investigators.

 

Ride-Sharing to be Expanded in Google Maps

With the rise of businesses like Uber, ride-sharing seems to be the one of the major ways to get around, combining the convenience of a taxi with the ease of use provided by an app. Google added Uber integration to Maps a few years ago in select locations. Now, Google will be expanding the selection of ride-sharing services available via the Google Maps app to include five new partners from around the world, as well as adding a brand new tab for ride-sharing when plotting a journey alongside the standard ways of getting around such as car, taking public transportation, walking, or bicycling.

As well as the existing Uber integration, Google’s new partners will include 99Taxis in Brazil, Ola Cabs in India, Hailo in the UK and Spain, mytaxi in Germany and Spain, and Gett in the UK.

This is good news for both Uber and their rival firms, as they will be able to compete against each other from the level playing field of the same menu in Google apps. This will allow potential customers to choose the best service for them based on price and time-of-arrival, which will hopefully develop competition in order to get the best service for customers. Additionally, Maps will also allow users to distinguish between UberX, UberXL, and UberBlack services for an even greater service breakdown.

This integration of a number of ride services seems to be part of a move by Google to provide the definitive hub for transportation information. It is also a whole new battlefield for ride-sharing firms, who will no doubt seek more prominence on Google’s platform and it could be reasonable to see even more companies being available on Google Maps worldwide should the feature catch on.

Hum On! App Turns Your Humming Into Music

People love to hum, whether it’s along to music or just a tune you’ve got stuck in your head, it is an easy way to express yourself even if you have no musical talent or skill. Now, Samsung’s C-Lab have developed a way for you to both hum and make music with Hum On! a new app that records your vocal noises and attempts to turn them into music.

Using the app is simple, just hit a record button and hum away. When you are done, the app will convert your vocalization into musical notation and let you play it back like a MIDI file. If you aren’t happy with the result, the app will let you adjust the notes after the recording and even change the genre of the song played back with choices such as “rock”, “orchestra” and “R&B”.

The app works by analysing the pitch and duration of the user’s voice and employs machine learning techniques to calculate suitable accompaniments for the vocal sounds using methods likened to a musician applying melody and chords.

“For hundreds of years, music has only been created by a select few, but that will no longer be the case,” said David Choi, Creative Leader of the project. “With Hum On!, we aim to provide a platform where anyone can turn their inspiration into great music.”

Currently the Hum On! app is in a very early beta phase, with the version of the app being on show at SXSW being very basic, lacking even some of the features that are becoming commonplace in modern apps such as the ability to easily share data with other apps and devices. It is unclear if and when Hum On! will be available to the public, but it should be an entertaining addition to many smartphones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj1r9YJ6INA

Windows 10 May Be Removing Programs Without Telling You

Windows 10 is designed to be the next step for Microsoft’s operating system, with internet functions built-in alongside apps and new gaming technologies designed to help users make the choice to move that little bit easier. With Windows 10 now a recommended update you would expect that some users would be hopeful of the new operating system, something that may not be the case if it keeps removing programs from your system without telling you.

So the major benefit of the internet is that you can quickly update your system, no longer do you have to wait weeks for the latest security patch or game update as you can quickly update anything you need or download something entirely new within hours or even minutes. It may come as a surprise then with groups like LifeHacker noticing that some programs they have on their system seem to be removed after doing an update. In this case, they found the system information tool Speccy had been removed, giving you only an empty file icon and a question of why?

The current theory is that it is removing outdated apps and drivers when it does an update, a good theory but still one that should worry people. Hopefully, this is not an intentional feature, otherwise, users could soon find their programs and software removed from the system, finding out only days later when they need them the most.

I’ve yet to upgrade to Windows 10 personally, and with “features” like this, I can’t say I will be anytime soon.

Microsoft’s Unified Gaming Platform Hits More Trouble

Microsoft has long been keen on repairing what can only be described as a damaged relationship with the PC gaming community. After a slew of initial releases, Microsoft’s game for Windows Live has soured many experiences of games the company is directly involved, made worse by the lack of features (and sometimes playability at all) when the service was taken down. Windows 10 looks to save them from this past but the initial signs all point to trouble.

One of the key selling points of Windows 10 is DirectX12, a new system designed to make games run not only faster but smoother with all the benefits of the latest generation of software. With “apps” being downloaded through the Windows 10 App store, sometimes with exclusive releases of big games like Gears Of Wars: Ultimate Edition, the limitations on these releases suddenly becomes frightening for PC gamers.

According to recent reports from Guru3D, when testing the latest Ashes of the Singularity beta disabling the vsync setting wouldn’t actually disable the feature. This is because of the technology used to display games in Windows 10, the windows display driver model 2.0.

You may not notice the problem though as programs downloaded from the store don’t expose an executable file, something that a lot of software uses to help mold their experience. Ever use Steam’s big picture mode or Fraps? They both use executable files from your programs to run, meaning using them with Windows 10 games may be more difficult than expected.

Microsoft has said how much they want to bring PC gamers back to trusting their development and platforms. With items like this happening and the quiet (and disastrous) release of Gears Of War Ultimate Edition on their store, they may be harming rather than helping their reputation with the gaming community.

Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition Releases Without A Word

The Gears Of War franchise has been known as a game for Xbox users for years, with them enjoying releases of the second and third game while PC users were stuck enjoying the small amount of content they gained in the first game. Finally, the series returns with a bang on the PC, okay maybe not a bang but more like a silent whisper as the Ultimate Edition releases without a word from anybody.

If you are a fan of the series you’ll be able to enjoy the remaster of the original trilogy on PC as of today. Already released on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 users you can enjoy the new game as long as your PC feels brave enough to face its requirements. Surprisingly, the last we heard about the games release was the specification for your systems and rumours about an early 2016 release date.

Perhaps a reason for the release’s rather silent release and low price mark at just £22.79 is the lack of recommendations from users who are reporting difficulty with the games and bad performance on every hardware configuration imaginable. Typically a split between your graphics card manufacturers, both AMD and Nvidia users are reporting issues with the game and a user running an R9 Fury suffering from a frame rate of fewer than 10 frames per second almost consistently.

Given the bad performance, it’s no surprise that it is a known problem to Microsoft that you can’t even download the game anymore and with recommendations to download it again “in a few days”. Given it’s their first DX12 game and made by Microsoft for what is now their franchise, the few days could be a stall to try patch up the problems people have encountered before another Arkham Knight scenario happens.

Instagram Blocks App That Lets You Be Other Users

In a very brief burst of popularity, the app that allowed anyone to view the Instagram feeds of any public user has had its access to the Instagram API removed. In only 8 days since its launch, Being had already accumulated 400,000 users, with 11,000 people downloading the app during the last day that it was available. The app had even managed to be placed on the featured page of their App Store, which may have been the downfall of the app. Whether the app’s loss of access to the Instagram API was intentional on the part of either the app developer or Instagram themselves is yet to be confirmed.

The purpose of Being was to enable people to see Instagram as another person would, be it friends, family or even celebrities. Being functioned by collecting information on who the person you were to become followed and using this to reconstruct their feed on the app like they were viewing Instagram themselves. This allowed users almost a window into the lives of any other users, able to see all of the feeds they follow, from entire lists of friends to their interests.

While nothing that Being does is illegal, it is easy to see why the app may have been shut down, as while all of this information could likely be collected manually by one dedicated enough, it could be seen as infringing their privacy, even though all of the data was public. If Instagram willingly pulled the plug on the app, they are yet to release a comment.

Baidu Apps Leak Sensitive Information Online

People love their apps, from playing a quick game to doing your shopping while on the move or at work we all have them. Apps are designed to make your life easier, but sometimes things come along that make them more complicated. Apps are just like every other piece of software and with them come security risks, with companies like VTech finding out how bad a hack can be for their reputation and customers. Net giant Baidu has recently found this out as well as  security researchers claim that Baidu Apps leak sensitive information online.

The research conducted by security experts, Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto state that millions of people could have been affected by everything from their search terms and visited sites to the unique ID numbers of their devices online. The risk comes from a software development kit that people can use to make apps for Android phones and even programs for your windows PC’s. Citizen Lab reported their findings to Baidu back in November and report that some of the bugs have been fixed, with poor encryption still putting people’s data at risk.

With digital security being a big issue these days and large companies being found short on both their knowledge in the area and their responses to threats, Baidu have at least started to fix the problems and Citizen Lab have proven that with a little help we can get somewhere closer to being able to protect our information.

Oral-B Genius: A Toothbrush With Apps

We love technology, sometimes a little too much. The internet of things exposes a whole new way to look at the world, with cameras being viewable from all over the world and “smart houses” causing major problems with each glitch. So what could become “smart” next? How about your toothbrush?

Welcome the Oral-B Genius, a new toothbrush that not only helps you clean your teeth but also points out all those bad habits you might have when it comes to brushing your teeth. The recommendation is that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes a day, at least twice. Some people aren’t as patient as that and either rushes through it or miss out on the morning or evening brush every couple of days. The SmartSeries by Oral-B looks to help people increase their brush time by making it an experience they want to do, letting you see the news or your daily calendar on your phone while you brush.

Not only does the toothbrush connect to your phone to give you all the news and weather but the inbuilt pressure senses give you a warning when you push that little bit too hard on your teeth. The latest model, the Genius, contains all this and more. The added feature is the use of the “Position Detection Technology” that lets the app know where in your mouth you are brushing, telling you where you are overfocusing and where in your mouth you need to spend more time.

If this wasn’t enough for you the phone has to calculate your teeth’s position. The solution they found was to use the smartphone’s camera to identify your face and then calculate your teeth based on the image and your brushing data.

Didn’t feel bad about occasionally skipping brushing your teeth? I wonder how long it is before the app’s updated with a guilt feature, anything that reminds us just how bad we are for not caring enough about our teeth.

You Can Help Detect Earthquakes With Your Smartphone!

There is an app for everything these days, from ordering an Uber taxi to messaging through Whatsapp types of services. You can remote control drones, monitor your exercise and even play board games on the little device you keep in your pocket. So why not get an app that can be used to help others without causing you any trouble, such as one to detect earthquakes with your smartphone?

Typically Seismologists study earthquakes, from the warnings weeks before the initial earthquake to the ones that appear out of nowhere. Detecting earthquakes is difficult, requiring expensive pieces of equipment called seismometers around potential hotspots of activity. A group led by University Of California-Berkeley’s have described an android app, that you can even download right now, that will help turn your mobile phone into a seismometer, enabling you to help report and evaluate earthquakes and their impacts.

Using the phone’s built-in accelerometers, the app is able to detect a magnitude 5 earthquake from as far away as 10 kilometers from the center of an earthquake, with the range increasing with the magnitude of the earthquake.

The app’s major breakthrough is breaking through the noise and motion that your smartphone would normally go through, from sitting on a bus or in a car to fighting with your phone while it’s in your pocket. They do this by sending data to a central system, and if you and nearby users are all reporting the same movement they will sound an alarm giving people precious moments to act.

ASUSTOR NAS Adds Comprehensive Search App QuikFynd

ASUSTOR’s latest NAS feature could be one of the most useful features yet to be added, but it does come with a few things that you should pay attention to before you get too excited. The new feature is called QuikFynd and while it sounds like a frying pan from IKEA, it is an awesome search feature for your NAS.

The first thing that might come between you and the usage of QuikFynd is that it is limited to the x86 based models. This is however a logic limitation as it is a feature that requires some proper performance in order to deliver a workable experience. Also, most ASUSTOR NAS are X86 based, so users of ASUSTOR 2, 3, 6, 31, 50, 51,61, 62, 70 series devices combined with the latest ADM 2.5.2 version and onwards can now find the comprehensive search app QuikFynd in their App Central.

“With data become digitized in exponential amounts, businesses and individual users alike, all face the problematic task of accurately searching for items from amongst thousands of files and terabytes of data. QuikFynd provides a convenient search solution, allowing users to quickly search for target files stored on their NAS according to content, file name or tags.”

After installation, users can open the dedicated interface from the ADM desktop and begin searching or use one of the mobile apps that also should be available now. You have the full privacy of your files as everything is stored on your own server at home.

There is one more thing with ASUSTOR’s QuikFynd that you should pay attention to. There are two different versions of this feature, a Lite version that is free or a Pro version that you’ll need to pay for. Both versions offer search by names and meta-data tags, streaming over local networks, search history, recent items, access from a browser, and access from mobile apps. The Pro version also allows for full-text search, location details from GPS tags, search text within images, stream to remote devices, and result-highlighting.

ASUSTOR is letting you try the Pro version for 3-months without costs, but after that, you’ll have to pay either $20 for a year’s subscription or $60 for a lifetime subscription to the QuikFynd Pro features. As previously mentioned, the apps can be found through your App Central within the ADM and you can find all the details and subscribe on the official website.

ASUSTOR Releases Photo Gallery 2.0 Beta

ASUSTOR released a new version, although it’s only a beta version for now, of their Photo Gallery NAS feature. The new version brings a lot of new features as well optimizations and speedups on existing function. The new Photo Gallery 2.0 Beta is available now and it is compatible with all ASUSTOR NAS devices running ADM version 2.5.2BDF1 and onwards.

The new Photo Gallery 2.0 Beta offers multi-level folder structures, increased thumbnail processing speeds, and more sorting functions than before. New features also include auto rotation to correct orientation of uploaded images, a concealable side navigation bar that shows album folder structures, and an intuitive search function. Customizable browsing quality based on the device and network environment was also added in order to give you the best experience. Those are all great things that I’m sure will be welcome among the ASUSTOR NAS users.

This latest version of Photo Gallery is using a new database technology that makes most of these functions possible, such as the multiple levels of folders as well as the greatly increasing thumbnail processing speeds that will give you a much smoother browsing experience.

We take more and more digital photos every day and the larger the collection grows, the harder it gets to sort and manage them. We want this to get as easy as possible and the new Photo Gallery 2.0 Beta version offers some new improvements here. You can now switch between Album and Browse modes when viewing photos. Users can also customize the browsing interface according to their preferences where customizable items include language, hide and show the number of comments, show the total number of photos on a page, image aspect ratio, and the ability to prioritize image quality or speed according to the usage environment or device. Another new feature is the ability to auto-rotate photos based on the information stored in the image file. This can save many hours of work manually rotating all your panorama shots, for example.

“In our modern technological age, the total output of digital photos is growing significantly every day. The ability to manage all these photos has become a key issue for many individuals,” said Vincent Tseng, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “Photo Gallery allows users to save time and effort while helping them to centrally manage all of their photos. Users will be able to effortlessly browse and share all of their favorite photos with friends and family around the globe.”

The new Photo Gallery 2.0 Beta is available directly from the Beta Apps section in your ASUSTOR App Central and it is also available as a direct download for devices that don’t have an active internet connection. There’s also a new Android app, AiFoto 2.0 beta, available to work with the new Photo Gallery 2.0 Beta. A new iOS version will also be available soon.

Key features for the Photo Gallery 2.0 beta version

  • “Album” and “Browse” viewing modes: “Album” mode, organizes all the photos from the various subfolders of an album into a single level for convenient browsing while “Browse” mode allows users to browse through photos in detail according to the album and subfolder infrastructure.
  • Multi-level folder structure support: In “Browse” mode users can create multiple levels of subfolders. And for second level folders can assign permissions, providing flexibility for permissions management.
  • Concealable side navigation bar: Provides album thumbnails and total photo count for each album.
  • User preferences: Individual users can decide whether to show the total number of comments and whether or not to have the side bar automatically open to the location of the current album being viewed. Users can also change the interface language and configure image quality according to browsing device, optimizing the browsing experience.
  • Intuitive sorting: Ability to sort images in ascending or descending order according to file name or time taken.
  • Adjustable browsing: Supports photo wall, 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9 image ratios for display along with an ability to scale down images to a minimum of 0.60 times. The number of photos shown per page can also be configured (50, 100, 250, 500, 1000).
  • Automatic image rotation to correct orientation, saving time and energy.
  • Comprehensive search function: Can use keywords to search within specified albums and folders. Can also specify search criteria such as file name, album name, file description, comments, commenter, time taken, time uploaded and tags.
  • One-click sharing to social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Plurk, email)
  • Intuitive drag and drop management: In “Browse” mode, supports directly dragging and dropping photos to move them.
  • Can configure album cover and tags (for a single photo or batch of photos).
  • Slideshow viewing mode
  • Provides comment function for users to interact with each other.
  • Supports a wide range of image formats: RAW, PNG, JPEG, TIFF, GIF
  • Supports video playback

WhatsApp Now Absolutely Free

WhatsApp has announced that its messaging app will now be available for free, dropping its previous yearly subscription fee, and adds that it will not be introducing third-party ads in order to make up the deficit.

“[W]e’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees,” the blog announcement reads. “For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

The service denies that it will carry ads to compensate for the loss of subscription fees, saying instead that it will start supporting official communications between users and businesses.

“Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads,” the blog post continues. “The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you wantto hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”

While the blog post does not state so, it is likely that WhatsApp will charge businesses for putting them in touch with its users, thereby retaining its revenue stream.

Google Translates Russia as “Mordor”

Google Translate is an extremely useful albeit slightly confusing tool at times, the freedom to translate any foreign web page or language with a degree of accuracy has been widely used by a huge array of consumers and companies alike.  However, there are instances when Google translates something completely different as in this case whereby the Russian Federation had been accidentally translated as “Mordor”

Reports confirm that Google has patched a bug within the “translation from Ukrainian to Russian service”.  Below is a screenshot to illustrate this rather awkward yet slightly apt re-imagining of the translation, the company stated this error was introduced automatically and, therefore, did not come from user input.

The search giant also stated that its software was able to operate by analyzing patterns within hundreds of millions of documents, this sounds impressive but the translations are not always perfect when you consider both the complexity and also the context of language which can vary depending on the circumstances.

It is interesting to note that “Mordor” is defined as a “fictional universe of Middle-earth and was the region occupied and controlled by Sauron,” when you consider the fairly recent activity by Russia in Crimea, it makes the translation all the more relevant.

Image courtesy of  the dailymail

A Runner Celebrates Star Wars With Running Maps

The new Star Wars movie has become the fastest movie to pass the $1 billion mark in global box office sales which marks just how popular the franchise is and how many fans it has around the world. A lot of those fans have been celebrating the new movie in all sort of ways from baking their favourite character to cosplay and theme nights as well as much more. One fan who also happens to be a vivid runner chose to celebrate the new Star Wars movie by running maps that in return would show various Star Wars motives such as the Storm Trooper, Darth Vader, or a Walker.

Gene Lu from Portland, US used his fitness tracking app to record the routes he took before posting the results on social media where it gathered quite a bit of feedback. Darth Vader and the Walker are probably the easiest to recognize, but the Storm Trooper isn’t bad either.

Creating images with running apps and the streets at your disposal isn’t anything new and last year we even saw someone propose to their loved one by writing “Will you marry me” on the virtual streets with their fitness tracking app. Users who want to experiment with this phenomenon and post their own creations online should keep what start and stop locations they pick and what times they post it online in mind. You wouldn’t want to tell the burglar when you are out and even tell him where on the route you are located.

Are you one of the millions that already saw the new Star Wars movie and if so, did you celebrate this new entry into the popular franchise in any particular way? Let us know in the comments and photos are naturally also more than welcome if you dressed up as your favourite Star Wars character.