Terrorists Used Burner Phones Not Encryption To Evade Detection

In light of the recent discussions regarding privacy vs security, such as those being discussed by Apple and the FBI in congress, the discussion often comes back to the encryption and whether groups or government agencies should be able to break it when it comes to security. It could perhaps be damaging to groups like the FBI to learn that it wasn’t encryption that stopped the people responsible for the terrorist attacks in Paris from being detected earlier on but it was instead burner phones.

Burner phones is a term used to describe phones that are used only briefly before being disposed or burned. The concept being that the longer you hold onto a device the easier it is to track and monitor your actions with it. Several phones linked to the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks only activated their phones the day before, or even minutes before the events occurred.

Currently, all the burner phones involved had sent no online chat messages or emails, throwing more doubt over if terrorists use methods which federal agencies are often targeting and claim they need access to monitor and track.

With little to no evidence that encryption played any part in their communications, recent calls to unlock encryption communication because of these events could struggle to hold the sway they did before while traditional methods of burner phones and “dead drops” (where you leave a package or message at a specific location for picking up at a later date) could require more old-fashioned work to catch early on.

This Emoji Keyboard Will Set You Back $100!

Emojis have quickly become the latest method for many people to communicate online and express emotion. Previously, people opted for text-based solutions which resembled a number of human responses. Up to this point, Emojis required a mobile touch interface to implement various icons during conversations on social media. This makes sense given most conversations rely on text and contains an emoji at the end to express emotion. EmojiWorks decided to create a traditional wireless keyboard which utilizes a emoji modifier.

Once the emoji key is pressed, the letters transform into emojis and allows for quick typing. I’m not entirely sure how useful this is, but it might be suitable for someone out there. In terms of pricing, the basic 47-emoji model will cost $80, the 94-emoji Plus has a retail price of $90 and the flagship 120-emoji Pro is set to cost $100.

There’s no current shipping date, but the manufacturer has taken pre-orders which will ship “no sooner than December 1st”. I’m almost speechless about this invention and I’m clearly not the target demographic. Perhaps, certain people use emojis quite often, and feel the need to end every sentence with at least one or two. Although, I’m not one to judge, and if it’s useful to someone, then it has a place in the current market.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 41 Containing Integrated IM Functionality

Mozilla has officially unveiled the latest version of Firefox which incorporates an intriguing messaging service called, ‘Hello Beta’. According to Mozilla, this is the world’s first communication tool embedded into a browser which allows users to send and receive messages during a video call. The company said about this latest venture:

“Firefox Hello Beta, developed with our partner Telefónica, is the global communications system built directly into a browser and it will now let you send and receive instant messages when you’re in a video call in Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux.”

While this might be true, I’m fairly certain other browsers have implemented something similar a long time ago. Also, many users might feel that this could make Firefox take up more system resources and become rather bloated. It’s certainly an interesting addition, but I highly doubt many people are going to use it for an extended period. There has been some confusion regarding this announcement and to clarify, this only works during video calls.

Ideally, I’d love to see Firefox adopt a simple layout without unnecessary features and optimizing RAM usage to make for the most efficient browser out there.

Which browser do you use?

Firefox 41 for Windows, Mac, Linux is now available for download and we’ve included a direct hyperlink for your convenience.

Skype Plagued by Network Connectivity Issues

The Skype client is currently experiencing a whole range of connection issues and sporadically showing contacts as offline. Skype has released a statement surrounding the network hiccups and clarified:

“We have detected an issue that is affecting Skype in a number of ways.

If you’re signed in to Skype, you will not be able to change your status and your contacts will all show as offline even if they are online. As a result, you won’t be able to start Skype calls to them..

A small number of messages to group chats are not being delivered, but in most cases you can still instant message your contacts..

If you aren’t signed in to Skype, you may be experiencing difficulty when attempting to sign in. Any changes to your Skype account such as your Credit balance or your profile details might take a little while to be displayed..

You may also have difficulty loading web pages on the Skype Community. For that reason, please check back here for future updates..

We’re doing everything we can to fix this issue and hope to have another update for you soon. Thank you for your patience as we work to get this incident resolved.”

I’ve personally tried to access the Skype service for around 3 hours to no avail but still able to send messages despite appearing as offline. Therefore, it’s possible to communicate with others through text but this could greatly depend on a number of factors, including your location. I would also recommend using the web interface which doesn’t seem to exhibit any network flaws at this time. Whatever the case, the Skype client is suffering quite badly and angered a great deal of its users.

Facebook Reaches Over a Billion Users in One Day

Facebook has reached another unbelievable milestone and recorded over one billion users within a single day. The announcement was made via Mark Zuckerbeg’s official Facebook account and the data indicates 1 in 7 people throughout the world used Facebook on Monday. It’s impossible to quantify how momentous this achievement is and it’s clear that social media has become an integral part of daily life.

In theory, the statistics could be incorrect as it’s possible for individuals to access multiple accounts. Therefore, did 1 in 7 real people actually use Facebook in one day? Honestly, I can believe it and know of many people who are addicted to Facebook. Instead of waking up in the morning and cleaning their teeth, they check Facebook and reply to any notifications.

To celebrate this event, many advocates of Facebook have been sharing inspirational stories about meeting long-lost relatives, and how Facebook changed their lives. Over the years, some critics expected Facebook’s popularity to curtail as people became disinterested with the monotony of posting life-events online. However, the opposite has occurred, and many social media services including Facebook and Twitter are as influential as ever. In the future, it’s perfectly feasible for Facebook to reach 10 billion people accessing the site in a day as the current numbers could be greatly reduced by the older generation not using computers.

Do you use Facebook on a daily basis?

Facebook Research Reveals “LOL” is in Decline

Facebook has conducted a research paper on the communication behaviour of its users and language used to express laughter. The data was collected during the last week of May and analyzed any prominent string of characters matching laughter. Interestingly, “haha” was the most popular response with 51.4%, followed by an Emoji which users said 33.7% during the testing period. The term, “lol” has almost become obsolete and only attributes for 1.9% of discussions. This is quite surprising because “lol” was once the automatic response to convey laughter and I thought it was still used by a large demographic.It seems “lol” is predominately used by people in their late 20s who grew up with this terminology. The age chart includes figures for the median (dashed line), 25th and 75th percentiles. In direct contrast, Emojis are extremely popular with the under 25s and a new means to communicate online. Although, the research doesn’t specifically state how e-language type doesn’t always relate to comedy. Often, these terms are used as a verbal filler to continue a conversation or put the other participant at ease. From a linguistic standpoint, this is why so many people use wordings like “haha” after mundane sentences to denote a sense of familiarity.       As someone who grew up with virtually everyone using “lol”, this proves how language dramatically changes over time. While it makes me feel rather old, I will stick to my style of communication, as habits are very difficult to change.

Do you use any of these terms online?

Sony Pictures Animation to Produce Emoji Film

Sony Pictures Animation has successfully outbid two major Hollywood studios to win the commercial rights to produce an animated movie based on Emojis. According to Deadline, the project will be written by Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis with the latter also opting for a director’s role. Sony believes they can capture the silly, social essence of Emoji icons and make a family-friendly comedy. I’m not entirely sure how this is possible considering each Emoji represents an emotion. Surely for each character to have any emotional resonance, they have to change into another Emoji.

Despite being a completely absurd concept, it could become a runaway success as Emojis are more ingrained into popular culture. Personally, I’ve seen children sporting Emoji soft toys so there’s no reason why the film shouldn’t be a financially prudent endeavor. It does seem bizarre though and I’m guessing a lot of people will think this is an idiotic move. However, I never saw the appeal of other cult hits such as the Angry Bird franchise. Similarly, Flappy Bird, an absolutely terrible game became a surprise success and made the developer an obscene amount of money.

I do wonder the age bracket for people using Emojis on a regular basis. It’s probably much older than we think because emotions are deemed as verbal fillers and integrated into modern communication. How often do you use emotions or Emojis?

Thank you Deadline for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

US, UK, New Zealand and France – Who’s Spying On Who?

Over the past few years, people have been told more and more about countries which have been part of or are actively spying on one another. The biggest revelation coming when it was revealed by Edward Snowden the extent at which the American government was spying not only on foreign entities but also on their own citizens. If the latest reports are correct it would seem France has joined the list of countries spying on foreign entities.

In a report from the L’Observateur, it claims that the french agency DGSE tapped several undersea fiber cables in an attempt to gain access to the information transmitted via them. This action was conducted and completed with cooperation from both the telecom supplier Alcatel-lucent and the operator Orange.

The received information was then shared with GCHQ, the British security agency responsible for digital and online security. If these reports are confirmed it could be a little trouble with GCHQ, given that they also received information from the American’s PRISM program. The PRISM program is reported to have recorded the conversations and communications of several high-ranking French officials including the President himself but also tried to access and gather all information relating to French companies which were valued over $200 million. PRISM then shared the information with the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

It seems that everyone is shocked when they find out  that someone spied on them, but then it all changes when it turns out they were spying on that country at the same time. I’ve lost track of who’s spying on who and sharing that information with what country.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Reuters.

AT&T Faces Fine For Throttling Data

Internet speed is a finite thing, with users and the websites they access growing at a staggering rate, companies, and governments are having to find more and more ways to increase users satisfaction when trying to load that page at the end of a busy work day. America has even voted recently to enforce Net Neutrality, a concept many believe the internet was founded on, in which users can’t be offered faster services for paying extra (e.g. if you want to stream this movie you have to pay otherwise you’ll only get this speed) and that users can’t have their experiences reduced if they don’t accept the extra charges.

In a recent action AT&T patented fast lane technology for file sharing, however, this was only the start of the story for AT&T. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has stated they will be fining AT&T a huge $100 million fine. The reason stated is that they have been “severely” slowing down users while not telling those users about the caps placed on their speed.

Back in 2007 AT&T started offering unlimited data plans to its customers, a move it retracted in 2010. Within the next year it was discovered that AT&T had placed a “Maximum Bit Rate” on its customers, meaning that if you sent a certain amount of data before your next bill you would have a cap placed on your connection. The limitation was said to be so bad that users would not be able to access the internet on most occasions and that most app’s which used a connection would be unable to work effectively.

With the new laws in place to help protect users from fast lanes and purposeful slowing down of their connections, hopefully the largest fine in FCC’s history will help deter companies from trying to shake those few extra dollars from people.

Thank you Engadget for the information.

Bill Nye’s Solar Sail Back In Touch After Reboot

We’ve all had the problem, something’s gone wrong and all of a sudden you panic! In my case, it’s normally something goes wrong with the wireless and you rush around checking your computer and your router making sure they are both working fine and you can connect to the internet again. In this case, though the two pieces of machinery were a little further apart when Bill Nye’s Solar Sail spacecraft started communicating again with the engineers back on earth.

The LightSail craft, our initial article on the launch here, had stopped sending information back to Earth after what is believed to be a software glitch. After attempting to remotely reboot the spacecraft failed they had only one chance left, a natural reboot, where the LightSail would reboot itself.

The LightSail successfully managed to reboot itself and call home, the company behind the project, Planetary Group, are confident that once their software has been patched and they are ready they will begin deploying the LightSails sails and continue testing the crafts space travelling capabilities.

Being able to travel without the use of fuel would make space travel not only more sustainable but could lighten up the spaceships we use considerably. This, however, goes as a reminder that no matter how safe you think are you, it always helps to have a backup, be it an automatic reboot for your multi-million dollar spaceship or your latest essay for school it helps to be prepared.

Thank you The Verge for the information.

Image courtesy of ISSS.

Volvo Cars Will Be Able to Talk to Each Other in the near Future

Have you ever thought that cars can talk to one another? If not, prepare to be amazed. Volvo apparently is working on a new technology which allows their cars to “talk to each other” in real-time, delivering warnings to drivers about black ice conditions or disabled vehicles on the road.

It seems the technology is currently being tested in Sweden, where the cars are said to be gathering data from their wheels in order to detect and determine if they are encountering black ice. Once the black ice is detected, the car transmits a GPS location to a Volvo server, which in turn sends the data to other vehicles nearby.

Drivers of those cars see a small warning icon on the dashboard to alert of the black ice ahead. The icon gets bigger as the car approaches the dangerous area, said Erik Israelsson, project leader for safety at Volvo, during a demonstration at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It is said that the system is also implemented to activate the car’s hazard lights, sending an alert to nearby cars when they are activated to notify other drivers of potential hazard lying on the road ahead.

Technology such as this one seems to be a keyword in the industry, having scientists working on even more complex systems. However, compared to others, Volvo’s vehicle-to-vehicle system is said to be coming out as soon as next year, having it be implemented in the successor model of XC90 SUV.

Thank you Computer World for providing us with this information

Microsoft Sends First Invites for Skype for Web Beta

A beta version of Skype for Web, a clientless iteration of Microsoft’s messaging service for use as a web application within your internet browser, has been released. Since all video call, voice call, and instant messaging functionality is available in-browser, there is no need to download and install the Skype client, though a plugin is required. A limited number of beta invites have been sent out to existing users, with Microsoft hoping to expand user access over the next few months.

Skype for Web beta is compatible with Internet Explorer 10, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox on PC, and Safari 6 and above on Mac, though Microsoft warns of excessive battery consumption on Apple systems and longer ring times for calls.

Source: electronista

Twisted Lasers Beam Data Across Vienna

In an interesting example of wireless data transmission, researchers in Vienna delivered digital data over 2 miles via twisted laser beams.

Using a technique known as “orbital angular momentum” (OAM) the scientists twisted a green laser beam into 16 patterns, successfully delivering data through what they call “turbulent air”. Each of the pulses delivered in the beam correlated to pixels from images which were then put back together and displayed at the other end.

The images were only greyscale and it wasn’t exactly a speedy transmission, but the researchers believe this method of data transmission could prove useful in the future, most notably in sending data many miles into space.

Source: Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Specs Leaked – $923 Retail Price

Ok, I almost spat out my drink when I saw the rumored price of this phone, $923 (£547) is a ridiculous amount of money to be spending on a phone, bare in mind though contract users, you usually pay more than this by the time your contract ends. The monstrous beast in question is Samsung’s new phone in it’s Galaxy range, the Alpha.

Not much is known about the handset itself other than a few specifications. It’s packing a beefy octa-core Exynos processor which means anything running on this phone will be smooth and quick. It comes with 32Gb of internal storage and a rather nice 12mp rear facing camera and it’ll be running Android 4.2.2 Kitkat, as you’d expect.

The phones screen is rumored to have Samsungs own Super AMOLED screen at a resolution of 1280×720 with a ppi pixel density of 320. So expect nice colours and contrasts with this new handset. other features of the Alpha include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and more. The phone is thought to be officially announced on August 15th this year, so not long to wait until be can confirm what will be powering this beast.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Facebook Messenger Sparks Anger in Low-End Smartphone Users

Facebook’s aim is to be a social network, dedicated to maintaining friendships, creating new ones, share experiences and most importantly, chatting with friends. However, the social networks appears to do exactly the opposite and spark a large number of enemies who hate its current strategy.

The social network giant appears to have made another attempt at ‘forcing’ users to install its Facebook Messenger, the standalone app that you now need to chat with your friends. Previously, the Facebook mobile app incorporated all its features, including the chat feature.

The new app however rips the chat feature and users are required to have both the Facebook and Facebook Messenger app installed in order to enjoy the full experience on their mobile devices.

By separating the two, Facebook apparently made quite a lot of its users frustrated of having to depend on two apps instead of just one. Older smartphone users are especially infuriated by the social network’s decision due to the fact that they simply do not have the processing power of using them both simultaneously. A user commenting on this strategy shares her (paranoid) way around it all:

“If you root your phone so that Facebook is not in the bloatware, then don’t download either one. I use it straight from the website browser and delete my cache, history, data when I log out. The heavy battery use of the apps following me around like big brother and the slowdown of my phone was enough to justify this option.” she said.

Another user seems to skip using the Facebook app altogether, refusing to install it due to its ‘intrusive’ permissions required just to get the app on the smartphone:

“I guess I’ll be taking numbers and sending more text messages. I’m not downloading Messenger and I sure as hell refuse to upgrade Facebook. Haven’t upgraded the app since October. The permissions required are beyond intrusive and are absolutely unnecessary.”

Others are just moving to other means of communications and simpler apps that provide these features, stating that developers are just releasing apps based on their usage preference and not the actual consumer:

“Sometimes it seems that the people creating these apps assume that everyone uses them in the way they do; that everyone has the latest devices with lots of storage space. With FourSquare/Swarm I honestly can’t see the point for me; I don’t give a toss where people are right now, because I’m not a 20-something valley geek who hangs out at just a few places with all my mates, which seems to be the point of the new app.”

All users’ frustrations seem to make sense, since the Facebook app itself uses around 150 MB storage space. Installing another one for the same service is simply too much for some users owning lower-end smartphones and even the features do not justify the space it requires in order to get the full Facebook experience on your smartphone.

Thank you TechRadar for providing us with this information

NSA Revealed to have Collected Docs from Innocent Individuals, not Valid Targets

It appears that a huge report from The Washington Post has uncovered a large number of communications and documents collected by the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

The report is stated to have revealed that 9 out of 10 users from the collected documents are not the people targeted by the agency. However, personal emails, instant messages, photos and personal documents from these people are said to still remain in the NSA database, even though they have been marked as irrelevant to the agency.

It is said that a large number of ‘victims’ are US citizens or residents, having The Washington Post analyse the files, also known as FISA documents, collected by the NSA between 2009 and 2012 under programs such as PRISM or Upstream.

The collected documents are said to have been delivered by Edward Snowden, having it be previously debated with NSA officials that Snowden in fact did not have access to such private communications. The agency did however ‘minimize’ collected information, having email addresses for example obscured, as the law states.

The Post is said to have found over 65,000 ‘minimised’ documents, but the most interesting part is around 900 of them were not obscured. This meant that sensitive information made it through censorship. More shocking is the way security analysts handled communications from foreign individuals. The Post stated that e-mails simply written in a foreign language were reason enough to believe that a person was not an American, having them opened to a degree warrantless surveillance under US law. In addition to the latter, everyone in the friends’ list of a so-called ‘foreigner’ was also deemed to be a non-American individual.

While the privacy concerns mentioned above are very real, information gathered did however lead to some suspected terrorists. The information however is kept private so as not to interfere with current investigations. Nevertheless, the real question which everybody should be asking themselves is whether or not all the surveillance attempts and non-relevant information gathered, on top of law infringing actions, is really worth it.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Linux Heading to Open Source Cars, Releasing Automotive Grande Linux Distribution

Open source operating system Linux has apparently shifter its focus towards a new sphere, leaving the real of desktops, notebooks, and even smartphones, having targeting the automobile market. A new Linux distribution by the name of Automotive Grande Linux has reportedly been released this week, being dedicated towards cars in an attempt to bring a new open source solution to the technologically advanced era we live in.

It is said that AGL, in collaboration with and sponsored by the Linux Foundation, brings together a host of partners from the automotive industry, communications, computing hardware, academia, as well as other sectors. The first release has been stated to have launched on June the 30th, having to bring a solution for a wide range of products, from cars, to laptops, TVs and even smartphones. The distribution is said to be based on Tizen IVI and is available for free here.

The first AGL release is said to have support for a limited series of features, specifically designed for deployment in cars and other vehicles. The features consist of Home Screens, Dashboards, Google Maps, HVACs, Media Playback, News Readers in the shape of an app carousel, Audio Controls, Bluetooth Phone support and even Smart Device Link Integration. Participants in the AGL project and the Linux Foundation hope that this initiative will help future ‘connected’ cars run on open source software in order to deliver the next generation of entertainment, navigation and other similar tools for use inside vehicles.

“Openness and collaboration are key to accelerating the development of a common, standard automotive platform so the industry can more quickly achieve its vision of delivering the connected car,” said Dan Cauchy, General Manager of Automotive, The Linux Foundation.

The GM also added that the Linux Foundation expects AGL development to continue steadily after its first release, having to introduce “a number of additional capabilities and features in subsequent releases.”

Thank you The Var Guy for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Linux Foundation

Apple’s Software Update Breaks Due To Expired SSL Certificate

Apple had been experiencing problems with their certificates this weekend. More specifically, the Software Update certificate required in order to communicate with Apple’s Software Update servers had apparently expired.

The expiry issue led to countless users being greeted with a message emphasising that “An Error has occurred. The certificate for this server is invalid. You might be connecting to a server that is pretending to be ‘swscan.apple.com’ which could put you confidential information at risk.” A graphical representation of the error can be viewed below:

The error has been spotted by a group of readers over at MacRumor, stating that they were greeted with the above mentioned error message when attempting to perform a software update on their macintosh computers. Also, the ‘swscan.apple.com’ address appears to be one of the several servers used by Apple to relay software updates.

The problem consisted of the certificate being valid from May 23rd 2012 up until May 24th 2014 and most probably Apple forgot to issue a renewal request for the certificate in question at a reasonable time, thus leading to the error described.

Furthermore, reports show that the same issue could have been the top culprit for the NSURLErrorDomain error -1012, which apparently had a similar connection problem with Apple’s Software Update servers.

Nonetheless, users who experience one of the two issues should contact Apple Support in order to clarify the situation and resolve it as quickly as possible, since constant updates are required to maintain and keep a computer safe from unwanted software.

Thank you MacRumor for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of MacRumor

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp For $16 Billion In Cash and Shares

Recent news point to Facebook engaging into an agreement to purchase the popular mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, for $16 billion in cash and stocks. The Verge states that a SEC document filed recently confirms the purchase agreement.

The same plan of action was filed with the pruchase of Instagram as well, that being the ability of WhatsApp operating as an independent messaging application and not integrated into Facebook’s Messenger, stating that the purchase will accelerate Facebook’s aim to bring socializing and connectivity all around the world.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” said Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community.” he added.

Statistics report showing around 450 million people accessing the WhatsApp application each month, having 70 percent of the total amount of users active each day. The changes will also bring WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum to Facebook’s board of directors. Koum also assured users that the deal will not affect the app’s usability by adding advertising principles, as “there would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product”.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

LUXA2 Groovy Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

Introduction


LUXA2 is a name that not many have been introduced to. The current market for mobile accessories has been flooded with brands that are trying to make a name for themselves, but for the last several years LUXA2 has been in a constant pursuit of feature-rich products with modern aesthetic appeal at affordable prices for everyone to set themselves apart. Apple centric accessories has been the company’s forte, but at CES this past month LUXA2 has shown that they have narrowed down their wide array of products that had included iPhone/iPad cases and misc device accessories to a more focused product stack that is nothing short of impressive.

LUXA2 has split their products into three categories: Portable Battery Packs, Audio Solutions, and Mobile Device Holders. Today we are going to look at the first of their entries into the audio solutions market; the Groovy Wireless Bluetooth Speaker.

Out of the box you are provided with a very easy to read user guide, 3.5mm analog cable, micro USB charge cable, two interchangeable leather straps (in both black and tan), and an attractive black leather carrying pouch.

Dog Translator Gets Funding

No More Woof from the Swedish Lab Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery or NSID, is working on a translator for dogs and has just received the $10,000 in funding it was seeking on Indiegogo and has also received an extra $5,000 with two months still to go. The invention will use a EEG or electroencephalography headset, which is lightweight and can be used to measure brain activity and translate the mental states the EEG read there. The company although still in it’s early stages of development and testing claims to all ready be able to translate certain canine mental states, such as suspicion of a stranger, i’m tired and i’m excited.

Although still in the early stages NSID released a statement on their Indiegogo page saying;

“To be completely honest, the first version will be quiet rudimentary. But hey, the first computer was pretty crap too.”

First and foremost NSID says that “this device will be 110 percent animal friendly and no animals have or will ever be harmed in our experiments into this device”. Apparently all dog thoughts will appear in audio form via a almost gramophone like trumpet attached to the headset. However there has been no word on what the speech will sound like, could we be hearing the same voice as Doug the dog in the hit animated movie Up? One can hope so. We will bring you more information on this fantastic invention when it becomes available.

Could the device’s audio sound like Doug from Up? I for one hope so.

Thanks to The Sydney Morning Herald for the information provided

Images courtesy of DesignBoom and ObeyTheMuse

NASA’s “PhoneSat” Made From Galaxy Nexus S Parts Is A Success

NASA’s newest tiny, cheap “PhoneSat”, a super cheap satellite made out of off-the-shelf Android hardware, has dialed home from orbit, leading to the project success. The 2.2-pound satellite was built using a heavily-modified Samsung Nexus S and uses a two-way S-band radio so that engineers can command it remotely. It’s part of NASA’s effort to explore cheaper satellite technology.

“The smartphone provides many of the functions the satellite needs to operate, such as computation, memory, ready-made interfaces for communications, navigation and power, all assembled in a rugged package before launch,” NASA stated in a press release.

The PhoneSat 2.4 was launched two weeks ago and cost the space agency just $7,500. It will test a system for changing the satellite’s orientation in space as well as measure how well off-the-shelf components perform over the course of a year. And this is not all, the first batch of PhoneSats launched in April and the next version is scheduled for February.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

BBM for Android and iPhone Arrives On The Store

BlackBerry’s BBM messenger service finally arrives on Apple’s AppStore and Android’s Google Play, but nothing is as simple as it seems. BBM fans who signed up on the official site will be able to use the application immediately, but unfortunately those who haven’t can download the app to “hold your spot in line,” and will get an e-mail when they can start using the service.

BlackBerry said 6 million people signed up for information on BBM.com. “If you didn’t sign up in advance, don’t worry — we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible,” the blog said.

BBM was supposed to launch last month, but was pulled after a leaked copy was distributed and performed terribly in the wild. BlackBerry said the unintended launch caused issues that the company needed to resolve.

The fervent demand for the app is a counterpoint to the common thinking that BlackBerry isn’t long for this world. While sales of its newer BlackBerry 10 devices are in retreat and the company has whittled its focus down to the big businesses and governments, BBM persists as a popular messaging platform.

BBM continues to be a popular platform around the world, particularly in emerging markets where cheap, older BlackBerrys are still in demand.

Still, the delayed service for many casual users interested in BBM may turn off some users who had abandoned BlackBerry to go to Apple or Android, but were interested in reconnecting with BBM friends.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BlackBerry.

 

Mobile phone provider ‘Three’ will not charge extra to upgrade to 4G

Three is set to provide access to fast data network during this year. The company assured that any customer with a smartphone such as the iPhone 5, Lumia 920 or Xperia Z will qualify for the free upgrade.

According to Ernest Doku of price comparison website uswitch.com, he said that the move could really force other networks to reconsider their 4G deals. As of now, Provider EE were the first to provide 4G access but it also received complaints about its pricing to customers as the existing users had to pay £5 more for the same amount of data that was allotted to them in their 3G contracts. The company did reduce its entry price from £36 to £31 but only for their new customers.

But Ernest added,”That being said, there’s nothing stopping Three from putting tariff prices up across the board ahead of a 4G rollout, so it’s still a waiting game before we find out the true cost of super-fast mobile data in the UK.”

Via: BBC

RIM rebranded itself as BlackBerry

Canadian based company RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins announced that the company will no longer use the name Research in Motion and therefore be re-branded as Blackberry.

Heins stated that they wanted to re-invent the company and wanted to represent this by using their product’s brand name. He added,”One brand. One promise. Our customers use a BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry.”

RIM/Blackberry also changed their stock symbols too. Currently on NASDAQ it shows BBRY and BB on TSX. RIM started Blackberry in 1999 for business executives but then it quickly secured the market for secure corporation and government email. But in time, competition rose and BlackBerry has been going further behind, leaving as little as 3.4% global share in the forth quarter, a dramatic drop in comparison to 20% of market share the company had three years ago. The stock value of the company was down to 90% in 2008.

There were also a rumour of Lenovo in talks with RIM for a buyout, but Lenovo quickly clarified that they did not have such talks with the Research in Motion.

Source: The Verge | Live Mint

eTeknix: On the go – Part 1

Here at eTeknix, we are constantly on the go, whether we’re attending a PR event for a new product, or attending a LAN gaming event. We are forever having to lug our equipment around with us, from iPads to laptops, and even our MP3 players for when we want to listen to tunes whilst in the car or on a plane.

Today we will be writing some mini reviews for several products that would be great for travelling, whether they are just to protect our gear, aid in transporting it, or improving the products further still. For this article we have had the pleasure of being sent several items from numerous brands. The products that we have in store for our readers today are the:

  • Pong iPhone 4/4S case
  • Overboard Waterproof iPad case
  • be.ez LE reporter Air 13 Kingfisher

As you can tell from the list of products we have in, most are orientated towards Apple products (as we do like our iPhones and iPads here at eTeknix), however the latter product can all be used with non-Apple products as you’ll see later. Whilst we know the majority of our readers enjoy the more PC hardware reviews, we thought we’d give you a slight insight into our jobs as tech journalists and increase our portfolio of product reviews to include the ever popular mobile market.