Apple Have Filed a Patent For a Keyboard-less Macbook

Have you ever used multiple screens? you know when you’ve just set up that second screen for the first time and you’re trying to figure out how everything works now. Well, why not have that one a laptop but with a little twist, the second screen, is right where your keyboard used to be? Apple may be trying to do just that with one of their latest patents looking at a keyboard-less Macbook.

The patent was only made public on Thursday but was filed all the way back in September 2015 and seems to show what contains an area described as a “force sensitive input structure for an electronic device”, essentially a large touch screen area where your keyboard used to be.

Apple uses the term “zero-travel” to describe the keyless surface that doesn’t have to move when you press it. The surface, however, does include designs for haptic feedback, just like when you type away on your phone and vibrates back at you.

As a bonus, the system would allow you to configure what you need, need a giant touch pad, you’ve got it. Keyboard and number pad? It’s all yours. While this design is no way unique, with the Acer ICONIA 6120 featuring a touch screen where your keyboard is normally giving you all you need to create and upgrade your inputs as your needs arise.

While it may not become a product for a few years, we are seeing more and more devices that look to do away with dedicated input areas and make use of touch or motion controls. Do you think it’s a good movement away from the keyboard or will there always be a place for keyboards on your laptop?

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.

Microsoft Patents A Smart Ring

Microsoft is known for working on cutting edge technology, with the technology used in the Kinect becoming a dream piece that was quickly built and mirrored in other gadgets and systems. The next piece of technology they want you using? How about something to go with your smart phone, a smart ring.

Back in November and December, Microsoft patented the designs for a smart ring, a device that would look and feel like a ring but would give you control of your devices as if it was a mouse. The smart ring would detect your fingers movements, acting almost as if you were using a touchscreen in thin air, and thought the use of a small laser, could even detect the position and movement of the finger. Felt like clicking a table and opening your family photos? Look no further!

With both the fingers movement and pose being tracked the input device could be used for anything from a smartphone to a desktop PC, with the complete control of your system (and sorry for saying this) at your fingertips.

The device is patented as working with several other components, from tablets, TV’s, Kinect’s and even smart glasses and smart watches. You’ve got the display in your glasses so why not touch it in thin air?

Are you excited by this concept? I am, imagine being able to control your computer at work like Iron Man with a flick of the wrist, this would also avoid the large motion and input detecting systems that many AR (augmented reality) headsets are having to mount to give you the full Iron Man experience.

Meet KILLERDRONE! The Chainsaw Drone

Drones are an interesting piece of technology. They’ve only recently taken off (pun intended) and are now swarming over the world with adaptions for every type of activity. You can race your drone in the Drone world GP, they’ll deliver you your food or Amazon orders and are even used to used for underwater exploration. As with all ideas, there are some ideas that just raise more issues and questions than are worth, with the likes of a drone mounting a gun being one of them. The latest drone design to meet this category is the KILLERDRONE! a drone equipped with nothing more than a chainsaw.

That is correct, the KILLERDRONE! (capitals and exclamation mark are included in its name) is a drone equipped with a chainsaw and has taken off in Finland on its first mission… to hunt down and destroy snowmen. Featuring six rotors and a gas-powered chainsaw, the drone was flown into snowmen to prove that it could be used and has even been discussed as use for legitimate work such as cutting down trees.

While using the KILLERDRONE! to cut down trees may be a good idea, the idea that anyone could mount something like a chainsaw to a drone and then watch as it flew around unrestricted is quite scary. The machine was stopped eventually thanks to a party balloon, raising an even bigger question of what happened if someone stopped a drone above a populated area.

Edison’s Blood Tests May Not Be As Accurate As First Reported

When it comes to tests, they normally come at a cost. Not just when it comes to the money but also the process the tests require, with most requiring something from you. Theranos came to the public light earlier in the year saying that its Edison device could carry out over 200 medical tests with a few drops of blood from a finger prick. Now it would seem that leaked documents raise more than a few concerns with the results of the tests not being as accurate as first reported.

The latest revelation comes as federal regulators release a redacted version of an inspection report that covers 121-pages showing some discrepancies with that the company reported and what they actually had achieved. In 2015, the Edison was used to test for testosterone levels and resulted in failure 87 percent of the time when it came to quality control. A similar test to detect prostate cancer failed 22 percent of the time and tests for the hormone prolactin failed 47 percent of the time.

Even internal standards set by the company failed to be met time and time again, with a test for Vitamin D in any given blood sample requiring to be within 20 percent of the results given by the traditionally used machine. On none different and randomly selected blood samples the difference ranged anywhere from 21 percent to a whopping 130 percent difference in Vitamin D levels.

The report doesn’t just argue with the results, it also argues with how the tests were conducted. With test results differing from standard lab devices and even unqualified employees running some of the tests, people have begun to raise more than a few questions regarding the Edison and even the companies viability, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stating that while Theranos have got a plan in place, they were unsatisfied with the plan and would impose sanctions that include fines and retraction of the companies approval to test human samples.

ASUS Agrees to Regular Security Audits

ASUS are a well-known brand for technology, creating everything from laptops to gaming mice. One thing people may not realise is that ASUS are also a maker of wireless technology, something that has unfortunately gotten them into trouble in the past.

ASUS, a Taiwanese manufacturer of hardware, once stated that their devices could “protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking and virus attacks”. This is something you should never say, for anything, especially computer security. As a result of this, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) found several flaws in their routers security, some of which were described as critical.

Using the security flaws, it would have been possible that people could gain unauthorised access to the web based control panels, granting you access to information regarding the wireless network and the possibility to even install viruses or malware directly to the router.

This history of bad security should change now though with ASUS agreeing to the FTC’s condition that it subject itself to biannually security audits of its software, while also notifying its users when the latest update is available. It will also cost them in the future if they decide to make another “promise” which turns out to be false, with each violation costing them a staggering $16,000.

Apple Watch Summons Tesla Model S

Automated cars are all good and fancy, like the Google car, but there are some times when you just want to grab the wheel and drive. So why not enjoy the best of both worlds? If you are lucky enough to own a Tesla Model S you can, and now thanks to an app developer you can even do it from an apple watch.

Allen Wong created the app for the apple watch allowing you to see information about your Tesla car. With charging speed, position and temperature amongst the things you could see, keeping track of your car wasn’t difficult, but with its latest update (released Wednesday) you even have access to the new “summon” feature.

The summon feature enables Tesla owners to do just that to their car, ordering it to come to you. In the video below, you can see Mark Schey use the feature to start the car while simultaneously open the garage door. After the door is fully opened the car reverses out before closing the garage door, leaving your car in your driveway as you step out the front door.

With the ability to help save precious minutes on a busy morning the summon feature can be seen as both practical and a gimmick, transferring that from a keyfob to a different piece of technology like an Apple Watch raises questions about if it’s needed and if it could be misused by other people.

SilverStone Releases ES01 Remote PC Switch Kit

Have you ever wished to turn your computer on and off from afar, much in the same way that you do when you unlock your car with your remote key? Well you can’t have been the only one as SilverStone just released the ES01 that is just that. The SilverStone ES01 is a remote switch for your PC that allows you to turn it on and off from a distance of up to 20 meters.

The SilverStone ES01 is a 2.4GHz wireless computer power and reset remote switch and that in itself says most. The receiver is in the form of a PCI-Express card and SilverStone included both a normal and a low-profile expansion cover. While the PCI-Express bus is the normal connector these days, in the past it was the previous PCI slot that dominated the machines. SilverStone also released a normal PCI version, so make sure you get the right one for your system. This in return means that you should be able to use this card and remote control for pretty much any system you wish, new or old and small or big.

The included Y-cable for the power and reset buttons make sure that you don’t have to rely solely on this remote control and can continue to use your normal case buttons as you did before you installed this card.

As previously mentioned, the SilverSTone ES01 has a range of up to 20 meters and the interference should be minimal on this band, but objects that are in the way will effect the range. The ES01 has an Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) of 2.76 dBm and the remote runs on a nomral CR2025 button battery.

The new SilverStone ES01 (SST-ES01-PCIe / SST-ES01-PCI) will be available around the world during this week and can be yours for a suggested end-user price of $14.96 USD

Nest Being Turned Off By Glitch From 2015

Nest is a name that flies around these days, settling in homes all over the world. The little piece of hardware is designed to allow you remote and smart control of your heating, from detecting when you’re nearly home, to turning the temperature down while at work, the device is there to make your life easier and you feel more in control. That was until people were hit by a glitch from 2015 that resulted in Nest being turned off!

People stormed online, like they often do these days when things go wrong, saying they were waking up in the dead of a night to a cold house. Finding that it is a known problem, but there was no fix in place for it yet.

Matt Rogers, the founder and vice president of engineering at Nest, stated that the bug came from a software update in December. “We had a bug that was introduced in the software update that didn’t show up for about two weeks”, in his statement apologizing for the issue. While Nest state that the issue has been fixed for 99.5% of their customers, the fix that is recommended features everything from turning it off and back on again to charging it for several hours.

While only a small problem for some, Nest is often seen as an option for those who are unable to move around a lot, such as the elderly, letting their friends and family check in and ensure that their heating is at a suitable level during the cold winters. A small problem for some can be a serious matters for others, and I’m certain that Nest will be looking into how this software update caused this problem.

Obama Orders Study Into Smart Gun Technology

Smart guns are nothing new, they are the concept of using technology to not enhance guns but to make them easier to track and ensure they are used by the correct people for the correct reason. It would seem though that President Barak Obama hopes that smart gun technology can be used to stem gun violence in the U.S.

In a memorandum, the departments of Defence, Justice and Homeland security were told to look into smart gun technology. Obama is rumoured to be using his authority to push forward extra gun control measures in his last year, within the statement he stated that “developing and promoting technology that would help prevent these tragedies is an urgent priority”.

Smart guns would allow guns to be outfitted with radio frequency trackers, or even fingerprint scanners, which would allow lost or stolen weapons to be traced more easily and then require authorisation to use the weapon in the way of a fingerprint scan respectively. Alternatives include having a small watch device on your wrist, with the gun only discharging when the watch and the weapon are within a certain range, thereby limiting the number of people that can pick up and use the weapons with ease.

With 90 days to report their findings on the study, the concept has already come under fire from the national rifle association with a spokeswoman Jennifer Baker saying that “there is nothing in this set of proposals that would improve public safety“.

With these requirements and the idea to licence anyone selling firearms, not just in store but also at events or online, the idea of limiting or tracking firearms more effectively seems to be at the core of the new proposals.

It will be interesting to see the results of the studies and the subsequent comments from the NRA and government authorities regarding Smart weapons as upgrading anything with technology is often seen with sceptical eyes from everyone.

Image courtesy of the Verge.

Amazon Fire Can Talk to Your Home and Listen to You

It would seem Amazon keep expanding on their technology, from the Kindle to the Echo, they produce more and more technologies that we now feel we need, that we never even considered before. The next one has a simple and nice name, Alexa, and she’s looking forward to helping you get your house straight.

Alexa is available on Amazon Fire devices running version 5 (and Fire TV Sticks running Fire OS 5.0.3) and higher. Alexa is a system designed to allow you to voice control your connected home systems.

From playing your prime music stations to playing your music collection, even your audible books. You can even re-order items, so remember that pet food and supplements you order? Why not re-order more in a single sentence?

You can even use Alexa to create your shopping lists, check your calendar or toggle your home devices.

Imagine sitting down to watch a movie and realising the lights are a little too bright, one sentence later the lights have dimmed to that of a cinema and with another sentence, your movie begins and you enjoy your popcorn in comfort having never left your seat.

At £79.99 for the TV box or £34.99 for the Fire TV Stick, you could soon be streaming all your favourite videos and streaming services without ever having to leave your chair. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Judge Says Stingrays “Are Simply Too Powerful” Without Rules

Stingrays have become one of the most contested ways of digital surveillance since they became public knowledge last year. The devices act like mobile phone towers, simulating their actions while allowing them to intercept and identify the devices connecting to them. The problem many have seen with this device is that they are not selective, they do not target a specific person or phone because the technology does not work like that, this means that when one goes up all mobile devices in the area send their information to the tower. This provides the tower with their location but can also be used to intercept calls and text messages sent by any devices in the nearby area. A judge in Illinois has made a stand and said that unless his three requirements are met, he will not authorise the use of a stingray.

The first requirement is that the stingrays require a warrant to be used, a claim that has been highly contested and was originally an issue given that some law enforcement agencies have used the device hundreds of times without any government oversight.

The second requirement is that the data collected (which is not relevant or approved by the warrant) is “immediately destroyed” and this action is proven to the court.

The third requirement is that the devices cannot be used in areas where a large number of mobile phones will be active, such as at a public sporting event or large gathering.

These steps could be the first sign of a powerful device being controlled and monitored rather than deployed without thought of the freedom and privacy of others around it.

No Encryption-Backdoor For Obama Administration

More and more we are being informed about digital security issues that affect us. From leaders like David Cameron stating he would remove encryption within the UK and even the head of MI5 joining Camerons crusade to remove end-to-end encryption within the UK. Recently we even learnt (courtesy of Edward Snowden yet again) that Microsoft may have even actively helped governments bypass encryption. With all this scary news, it’s about time we had some positive news regarding encryption right? Que FBI director James Comey.

At a congressional panel, James Comey stepped forward and stated that the Obama administration would not ask congress for legislation requiring a backdoor into encryption protected systems. Starting from the beginning, what is an ‘encryption backdoor’?.

Earlier this year it was suggested by several government officials and even company leaders, that in order to avoid practices such as illegally intercepting and gaining access to systems to read your private and confidential details they could instead be given a key. This would give them legal access to the systems, and discussions about this led to the idea of a split key. A key where no one company or government agency would have access to the whole key, therefore requiring the permissions of all the government groups in order to use it.

This is the first time a public spokesmen has come out with any official line going against the idea of encryption backdoors. The question now is will companies and agencies stop asking for them?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

VIA Introduces ARTiGO A600 Smart Automation Control System

Smart homes and general smart automation of all sorts of things is one of the wonderful things about the time we currently live in. All the things we (nerds and geeks) have dreamt of building for years is finally possible. VIA has now introduced a new control system that again could help make it a lot easier and smarter, the VIA ARTiGO A600 Smart Automation Control System.

The ultra-compact and fanless smart automation control system is specifically designed for enterprise IoT and M2M applications that require reliable low-power computing and extensive I/O support. The ARTiGO A600 comes with four integrated 3-pole Phoenix RS-485 COM ports with full 3.75KV isolation, a COM connector for an RS-232 port, and a DIO port for 8-bit GPIO to provide dependable connections to automated equipment and machinery.

Other I/O features include two Mini USB 2.0 ports, one Mini HDMI port, one 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, and one miniPCIe slot. The whole unit only measures 12.5cm x 12.5cm x 3cm and you can even add an optional Wi-Fi module through the onboard USB pin headers.

Inside the ARTiGO A600, you’ll find an 800MHz VIA Cortex-A9 SoC, an onboard Micro SD card slot, 4GB eMMC Flash memory, and 1GB DDR3 SDRAM.

“Smart automation control systems will play a pivotal role in boosting manufacturing productivity and enabling the development of innovative new product customization and personalization services,” said Richard Brown, Vice-President of International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “By delivering extensive I/O connectivity in a highly-affordable low-power solution, the VIA ARTiGO A600 lowers the barriers to entry for enterprises planning to transform their operations by implementing the next generation of intelligent distributed manufacturing systems.”

Features:

  • Ultra-compact fanless smart automation control system
  • High-performance 800MHz VIA Cortex-A9 SoC
  • Four 3-pole Phoenix RS-485 ports with full 3.75KV isolation
  • Optional Wi-Fi support
  • Customized Linux BSP services

Thailand Wants To Set Up Its Own Great Firewall

Hadrians Wall, The Great Wall of China. These things have one thing in common, they were built to stop people accessing a certain area. In this day and age we can travel easily enough, but our data has even greater freedom to travel, with the ability to navigate from one side of the world to the other in the blink of an eye. This is quite a scary concept and certain countries are afraid of this, so the ‘great firewall’s were created. Every piece of communication that comes into a country or wants to leave it has to pass through this central point. China is famous for using it to monitor and control what people are able to see, even forcing people to use specific sites or reject people from seeing certain results on search engines. Thailand is the latest to announce plans for their own great firewall.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o cha, with his cabinet, has requested the help of the National Police, Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Communications to set up a single internet gateway, which would in effect funnel all communication in and out of Thailand through a single government controlled point.

This doesn’t come as a surprise as they requested earlier in the month any laws that may need changing or being created in order to make this step as legal as possible.

While a great tool for checking for anything illegal or dangerous, people are always afraid of steps like this and the control and possibility of the government misusing all that information. How would you feel if your government created their own ‘great firewall’?

Thank you CNet for the information.

Image courtesy of VPNAnswers.

Star Wars BB-8 Drone Now Avaliable For Purchase

Star Wars has been a big franchise for many years now, and with the recent trailer announcing the new few movies fans have been up in arms about two aspects from the trailer. Firstly the cross guard light saber, a fun little addition with a dark red blade that, if you slipped, would have you losing a finger or two. The second feature everyone wanted to know about was the droid. The droids were always a big thing in Star Wars (“These are not the droids you’re looking for”), with C3p0 and R2D2 making appearances in all the films, with cute lovable beeps and the addition (in a Doctor Who flying Dalek like fashion) that adding jet boosters to a wheel based droid is not cheating. The latest droid went a step further, containing a single ball with a tiny R2D2 semi circle type head atop. Well, now you can buy one.

Available as of Friday, the BB-8 Drone can be purchased from Best Buy, Apple retail stores and Sphero’s own website (don’t worry the device is compatible with both Android and Apple devices). Coming in at $149.99 (£98.28 approximately) the droid is anything but cheap, but after being created by Sphero, a company known for their ball based drones, you can guarantee that you’ll have hours of fun running the thing around your house.

With hours of fun and a nice piece of Star Wars meromelia added to your house, what Star Wars fan wouldn’t want one?

Thank you The Verge for the information and the image.

North Dakota Police Will Utilize Weaponised Drones

Drones used to be a thing of the future, small robotic creatures that would fly around and swarm the skies. They would be included in Hollywood blockbusters such as Terminator and even the ones where they help us survive such as in Transformers. With devices that can seek and destroy from ground level to your forty story apartment, they were quickly developed and created for everyday tasks. Now with thanks to a lobbyist from Dakota the first drones with weaponry might soon see deployment.

With recent years, fears over drones carrying weapons are known to have caused a ruckus in many circles, with people like Steven Hawking requesting that drones avoid automation in order to reduce the threat from them. The Rick Becker’s bill would have seen that all drones in Dakota could not be equipped with weaponry, but an amendment by Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association, has banned the drones from carrying anything deemed a lethal weapon. This means that less lethal tactics such as pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons and even Tasers could soon see deployment at the bottom of a drone.

The initial bill was created to force police to obtain a warrant before using a drone to collect evidence while also banning weaponising the free flying devices. With this sudden escalation, all eyes will be on the Dakota police and how they choose to deploy drones with anything other than a camera.

Thank you The Daily Beast for the information.

Image courtesy of Gary Friedman (Los Angeles Times).

This Happens When You Mix Real Life With FPS Games and Take It to Chatroulette

We all love our video games, whatever type they might be. They are fun to play while they relax or challenge us. But what happens if you take that game into real life? The UK-based production team RealmPictures must have asked themselves the same question as that is just what they did.

The team created a live action first-person shooter in their garden and invited unsuspecting people online to take control. The best platform to do so is Chatroulette and the result is amazing. The team works by the slogan: “We make all sorts of things, but our passion is for narrative fiction and cinematic storytelling. They took that and created one of the most awesome things I’ve seen in recent times.

Whether this is a clever marketing gag to get the company name out thanks to a viral video or they just thought it was an amazing idea to do this. The result is amazing and I highly recommend to watch as unsuspecting video chatters get to control the character in this Zombie invasion game. They have to find weapons and hidden objects in order to make it through the first level.

I really don’t want to spoil too much of the video by telling you what happens, it is something that just has to be seen yourself. So enjoy these 9 minutes of real-life first person shooter video.

Surf’s Up At a Giant Artificial Wave Park In Wales

Well this is something, ever wanted to Surf within a park which produces enormous artificial waves? you’re in luck as a new adventure attraction has opened within the Conwy Valley in North Wales. Surf Snowdonia is a one-of-a-kind in-land surf facility that claims to produce the “longest man-made surfable waves on the planet.”

It has been a good 10 years in the making and holds the title of being the first Wavegarden surfing lagoon to be opened to the public. The facility has arrived with an estimated £12 million price tag and measures 300 x 120 m (984 x 394 ft) to put this into perspective; it’s roughly the same size of six full length football pitches.

So how does this gigantic park operate? In order to create the waves, the owners have implemented a snow plow-like machine, or “wavefoil,” which moves back and forth along an underwater track which is running the length of the lagoon. As the wavefoil moves, it generates a barrelling wave on each side of the central divider. The speed and size of waves which are able to be produced are controlled by a computer and can reach heights of 0.7 m (28 in), 1.2 m (47 in) and 2 m (79 in)

It certainly looks impressive if you’re into this form of sporting activity, the tech behind such a feat has allowed the park to offer visitors a unique experience which is different to many other theme parks. Surf Snowdonia is also built on the site of a former aluminium factory, its construction saw the removal over 100 years-worth of heavy industrial waste.

If you would like to see it in action, then by all means watch the adrenalin fuelled video below.

Thank You surfsnowdonia and Gizmag for providing us with this information.

FDA Says Stop Using These IV Drips – You Could Be Hacked

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for checking and maintaining people’s safety in regards to (surprise surprise) the food and drugs they are given. This time they’ve had to go a step further and “encourage” hospitals to replace a piece of tech from their supply lists and floors before it gets hacked.

Hospira’s Symbiq Infusion System (pictured in the centre above) is being recommended for immediate removal from hospitals all over due to a vulnerability in its ability to be controlled remotely. A third party can gain access to the device and control the dosages remotely which are then administrated by computerised pumps.

This discovery was made by the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT for short). First reported on July 21st with a further alert made by the FDA on the 31st July. While they are open to being hacking, there has yet to be a reported instance of it happening.

The hack is done by connecting to the hospital network, allowing Symbiq systems to be remotely controlled. While the unit isn’t sold anymore by Hospira, it is still available from several third-party sellers.

This is the first adventure for the FDA in regards to discussing cybersecurity and the technology that is used to regulate and control food and medicine.

Thank you Yahoo News for the information.

Image courtesy of Biz Journals.

US Wont Regulate Hacking Software – For Now

We all know about hackers. They’ve been in the news a lot in the last few years, from the Xbox and Sony Christmas Day hacks to the large databases of customer details being hacked on a nearly monthly basis. One hack was actually targeted on a hacking group, the Hacking Team and ended up with 400GB of their data being taken. This included everything from their hacking tools and the information required to use them to target companies and everyday users. After this, a small piece of legislation was developed and marketed to the US government, a piece of legislation which is now possibly going to be scrapped following concerns from pretty much everybody in the IT security industry.

The Department of Commerce first put the legislation forward and stated that the development and testing of exploits, zero-day and intrusion type software should not only be limited and controlled but also made illegal in some aspects. Say hello to the outcry from professionals who not only deal with writing but also stopping software like this from being used for malicious means, who even stated that not only would it limit and criminalise the research into nasty software, but also mean that all those nasty bugs and exploits that you don’t want people using, would be pushed onto the black market.

While the department of commerce stated that “a second iteration of this regulation will be promulgated”, it’s clear that while they may not be able to get away with vague descriptions and tight control on security software, they will still attempt to get some form of control pushed regarding what they call “weaponised software”.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of the Art of Add.

Google Wants to Bring Order to Drone Airspace

Drones are becoming more popular than ever, but flying them around now poses a bit of a risk. This is why Google wants to bring order to low altitude airspace, namely the airspace below 500ft, so its Wing drones may be able to fly safely and avoid collisions.

Google proposed that all people operating a drone should send their location info back to the airspace access and collision avoidance. In doing so, air traffic control authorities then could pass on the information to private airspace service providers. This is how Dave Vos, head of the Wing project at Google, said it sees the future of drone control.

Vos said that private airspace control companies, which he calls ASPs, can manage these low airspace requests from anyone willing to fly drones around. In his vision, ASPs should be given a brief flight plan of drones who request take-off, which are evaluated based on other drone flight paths. The ASPs can then determine if flight path changes need to be made to avoid collision, or even deny requests based on how congested the traffic is in the area.

At this point, low altitude airspace is mostly left unregulated, so everyone with a drone or any other sort of flying contraption can make use of them. However, with Google, Amazon and other big companies starting to take an interest in drones and how they can use them in their daily business activities, low altitude airspace needs some sort of traffic management system.

But this also means that most people who want to fly their drone in parks or above their house will most likely be denied to do so once regulations are in place. So how comfortable are you with this decision? Do you think that a low altitude airspace management system is needed? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Sony’s PlayStation 4 Finally Gets an Official Media Remote Controller

PlayStation 4 users might be disappointed that they cannot control their media on the console as they did on their PlayStation 3. Sony did not announce a media remote controller for their latest console, but things might be looking up for PS4 users.

It looks like DPD, a video game accessory company, has made an officially licensed PlayStation 4 media remote. The remote has cropped up on Amazon and GameStop and it really looks promising for those who want to control their media content on the PS4 like they do with their TV.

PDP’s remote is said to connect to the console via Bluetooth, but it can do more than just that. It even has a feature that allows it to be connected to up to four devices via Bluetooth. So you can connect four devices, including your console, and have them be controlled by just one remote. However, the good news does not stop here.

In addition to the Bluetooth feature, PDP’s remote control even has infrared technology and is able to control your TV, set-top box, and audio receiver. Also, I know that Best Buy released a similar product, the Insignia, but the remote is not officially licensed like DPD’s version. Besides, the Insignia seems to cost $19,99 and once DPD’s remote gets launched this fall, it’s said that it will come with a $30 price tag. So is it worth the extra $10? What do you think?

Thank you GameSpot for providing us with this information

UK Privacy and Apps Under Threat

Let me just jump on my soapbox for a minute with regards to this subject, according to reports, the newly elected Conservative Government wants to again reintroduce the Snoopers Charter, sorry, I mean the new fangled “Investigatory Powers Bill” which if enacted would allow the government and security services for example M15 access to everyone’s communications.

To add insult to injury the plans would also make end to end encrypted apps for example Snapchat and WhatsApp technically illegal, unless a backdoor is installed or communications are handed over. All in the name of terrorism and extremists, now I am not being flippant and I am aware that groups such as IS exist, but I do not believe everyone’s communications should be spied upon.

This bill if passed would also require all ISP (Internet Service Providers) to retain all information on every citizens browsing habits, sites which are looked at and information which is sent, with the aim of making this information available to the security services.

So what do the tech experts believe? They have stated that these laws are draconian, anti free speech and would put the whole Internet at risk from hackers. Who would be able to crack any backdoor laid before them by the powers that be. Opposition includes Tim Cook who is the boss of Apple who said citizens should be entitled to a private life; academics from MIT and the UK have both dismissed these proposals as a disaster.

So what can we do about it? The only thing as citizens we can do, make our voices heard, I believe there should be a limit to what governments can collect, innocent people should not be spied upon in their own homes, I do think we need to track for example suspected terrorists movements, but I think in order to be under surveillance, you need evidence and a court of law to approve this, not simply cart blanch can we have your data and monitor everyone.

The mantra for governments is quite clear, “let us spy on you or you can only use certain communication tools approved by the state”. I think it would be impossible to ravage the internet of encryption, but I do think this bill is designed and will be able to collect more information on everyone.

I have started a petition on this over at change.org if you are interested in checking It out, link is below, will it work?  Hell I will be damned if I am going to lie down quietly and let the state turn into a whole new animal which polices everyone, which notion is brought to you by the good folks in China, North Korea and Russia among many.

Petition at Change.org

Thanks to BBC News, Huffington post  (who plan to encrypt their website further) and Facebook trends

Image Courtesy of automation

 

 

BBC creates mind-control TV headset

The BBC, in collaboration with tech company This Place, has developed a way people can select programmes using a cheap, brainwave-reading headset. They released the new technology on the 18th on the BBC news website.The headset works with an experimental version of the BBC’s iPlayer on-demand platform at the moment, but I suspect that it will become available rather soon.

Users can turn on and operate the app by concentrating or relaxing their minds.

The technology behind the system has been around for over a year now, but still in early stages. Hopefully, this system will be much more stable and be functional.

“It’s an internal prototype designed to give our programme makers, technologists and other users an idea of how this technology might be used in future,” said Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC’s Digital division.

In the first trial, 10 BBC staff tried out the app and were able to launch iPlayer and start viewing a programme via the headset, he said.

“It was much easier for some than it was for others, but they all managed to get it to work,” said Mr Saihan.

There are already other brainwave detectors and controllers out there, such as the Emotiv which is currently retailing at $499. BBC haven’t stated when this will be available for purchase or how much it will cost.

Thank you to the BBC for providing us with this information.

Drive Your Land Rover From Your Phone

Remote control cars are a thing of joy. Watching them speeding along your path only to struggle when it gets to the grass. We have started to relive that joy with self-driving cars, all the effort removed so you only have to focus on what you want to listen to on your way to work. Land Rover, however, want to combine the two, they want you to be able to drive your full-size car with your phone.

During a demonstration , the car was driven by a smartphone located within ten metres of the actual vehicle. With control over steering, brakes and the accelerometer. While the limit for driving the vehicle by smartphone is just 4MPH, with the system cutting out when it detects the smartphone getting either too far or too close to vehicle.

The app is marketed as being useful for when you’re driving the car across difficult terrain such as across streams and where the roads are made difficult by snow or rain.

While it is limited by how far you can be from your car, and obviously how close you are (just to be safe), being able to drive any life size vehicle by remote is like a dream come true. How long before racing on TV is just done by somebody sitting in the pits with a PlayStation controller?

https://youtu.be/QjJ2wKCMq5w

Thank you MACNN for the information.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch.

Sprite – The Drone That Fits in Your Pocket

In this day and age drones are in the news almost every day, from their use in the military to their use delivering your parcels. Drones are going to become a part of the future, and more and more low-end models are becoming available for use by everyday homeowners. So how about one you can put in your rucksack for capturing those beautiful landscape shots during your walks?

Using either its autopilot or an android app (you can even use a conventional flight controller, but you will have to pay for the R/C transmitter), you can control where the Sprite goes, from orbiting objects or points or interests to following you and focusing while you go up that hill in the countryside.

Designed to be rugged and tightly packed, the Sprite favours several features which may make it more attractive to the bugging rural landscape photographer. The low noise and 2 axis stabilised 1080P camera with a waterproof sealed case means even if you’re taking pictures of your local pond or the seaside if it comes down your safe in knowing that your pictures are going to fine when you swim out to grab them.

With a durable frame the Sprite is designed to land wherever you need it to, being able to quickly retract the blades in less than 0.5 second, your emergency landings will be okay be it in the field or on the mountainside.

With an amazing array of features, I would be interested in seeing how well the Sprite works, but with a price tag of $799 (£515 approximately) its something that I fear is not available to everyone immediately. However if you are interested in it check out their Kickstarter here.