Airline Passengers Phone Catches Fire Mid-Flight

If you are reading this on your phone you may want to put it down on the table and read it from afar. Phones are known for having the odd quirk of behaviour here and there but when it comes to catching fire, that’s probably their scariest behaviour. Sadly one person found this out the hard way when her phone caught fire mid-flight.

Anna Crail is a college sophomore who was on an Alaska Air flight to enjoy her spring break. To pass the time on the plane she decided to watch a film on her iPhone 6, a move which seemed to cause trouble when it started to shoot flames.

Talking to KOMO-TV Anna described the events:

“All of the sudden there was like 8-inch flames coming out of my phone, and I flipped it off onto the ground and it got under someone’s seat, and the flames were just getting higher and a bunch of people stood up”

An Alaska Air spokesman told ABC news that the fire was “quickly extinguished” and that there was no injuries or damage to the plane which continued on its way.

Both Alaska Air and the FAA are looking into the incident alongside Apple who have said they are getting in touch with the family and the airline regarding the matter.

Individual Uses Lighter While Refuelling Car And Sets Fire To It.

Indeed, thought this was self-explanatory but there you go, The Russian Independent Television is reporting as of late today (January 5th, 2016) that an Individual has accidentally set fire to their car while using a lighter near the fuel pump nozzle while routinely filling the vehicle up.

Below are the images of the incident, there not particularly graphic, but they do show a fire breaking out near a person and they are shocking, therefore, I thought I would pre-warn just in case.

As you can see, the fire is breaking out near the car, the individual had apparently held their lighter with the aim of seeing clearly what they were doing while filling up the car. The person then pulled the refuelling gun out of the car once they had spotted the fire.

Unfortunately this made it worse as fuel splashed out onto the pavement and also onto the car, it is unclear as to the outcome of this incident as of writing.

I did not think in today’s modern world I would need to say this, but please, no one try this at home, gasoline is highly flammable and diesel is a highly combustible liquid that can be extremely dangerous. Always take precautions and never treat it with anything other than respect and caution. 

Tesla Supercharger Catches Fire

Tesla cars are well-known sites all around the world now with the Model S being known as a rather amazing piece of technology. The electric sports car contains a ludicrous mode which can accelerate 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, a rather impressive sight. The S model, however, is getting some bad attention in Norway when it went to top up.

Tesla’s electric cars are known for being the first step into reliable and everyday usable cars, however, a particular owner got a surprise during a routine action in Norway. After pulling up the a supercharger station, and inserting its plug for the lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle caught fire. The owner was not at the car when the incident happens so no one was harmed, but as you can see from the image above, the car was not so lucky.

While people are quick to argue and debate over what could have caused this user one Reddit user, bjornnyland, was quick to point out that this was a temporary station which actually delivered 13kW more than a standard station, which typically deliver 105 kW. After stating that he had used the charging point several times and that it had stopped on more than one occasion, he was quick to state that it may or may not have had something to do with the fire.

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.

Japanese Man Accidentally Burns Down House During Live Stream

These days there are streams of all kinds, showing off different games and all kinds of other things. Sometimes though, expected things happen during the stream, with swatting having become more common recently. However, it’s not every day that someone burns their house down live for the internet, something a Japanese game streamer accidentally did.

Streaming on Nico Nico Douga, a popular Japanese streaming site, the man stopped gaming for a while to show off his smoking skills. Unfortunately for him, his various mistakes with his match lighter ended up creating a fire around the tool. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he threw his lit match into a wastebasket which subsequently ignited spectacularly. By the time he had dealt with the match lighter, the trash bag had been consumed with flames.

Tossing the burning inferno into a corner, he attempts to put out the fire by piling on cardboard, a pretty bad idea given cardboard is a great fire starter. As the fire grew, his escalating attempts to combat the blaze with a futon and buckets of water proved too little too late. In the end, 30% of his home had burned down and both he and 3 relatives including his parents suffered minor injuries.

Even the help of his viewers did not avail him. Nico Nico allows viewers to send a voice message when they donate to the stream. Unfortunately for the streamer, he didn’t react to the warnings from his viewers about the growing blaze in the trash bag till it was too late, did not heed the advice to smother the flames with a futon (he only fanned it), failed to properly remove the trash bag to a better location in the first place.

This incident goes to show that lighting an open flame in a room full of combustibles is a bad idea. That is especially true if you have no proper plan to put out any flames or proper safety equipment like a fire extinguisher. Hopefully, this will serve as a reminder about the dangers of fire, especially if you’re unprepared to deal with it. Luckily no one was seriously injured this time around.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_orOT3Prwg&feature=iv&src_vid=82UsZ44AxIA&annotation_id=annotation_1840551877

Amazon Set To Release New Tablets In October

Amazon is known for a lot of things, ranging from their online store and their music stores to their Prime membership offering access to Movies and next day delivery on a range of their offered products. In recent years, their hardware has also taken the market by storm, with people buying up the Kindle and then their Kindle Fire which offered a tablet with Ebook bonuses. Now they seem to be expanding their market with a whole slew of new products.

Four new tablets are set for release in October, titled the Fire HD8, the Fire HD10, The Fire and the Fire Kids edition. Not surprisingly the Fire HD8 and HD10 will feature 8-inch and 10.1-inch screens respectively with metal backing and Gorilla glass to survive those unfortunate drops. The Fire HD8 packs 8GB while the HD10 will come with 16GB, but both are capable of being expanded with a microSD card of up to 128 GB. Priced at $150 and $230 they are not the most expensive devices on the market.

The Fire, however, has drawn the most attention, with a slower 1.3GHZ processor and 1GB of RAM the device is shown off by a 7-inch screen but comes in at only $50. Following the Fire is the $99 Fire Kids edition. A version of the Fire the Kid edition comes with a case and a 2 year no worry guarantee. This guarantee offers parents the option to send back their device, even if the kids got angry and threw it against the wall, for free.

Supporting the new devices are a slew of new features, such as the Fire OS5 which will come and show off several new features. With a variety of programs to support it, such as a year of “FreeTime Unlimited” service with the new Fire Kids edition. This offers a selection of books, shows and games that have been checked by child advocacy group Common Sense Media to make sure that your kids are only on what’s suitable for them.

An interesting new piece of software is titled “On Deck”, designed to help solve that problem when your about to get on a plane or out and about and have forgotten to download that TV series or movie you wanted to watch. On deck aims to solve this by downloading movies and shows automatically when the tablets are plugged in, deleting the content when you try to download something and run into store troubles. It should be noted that On Deck can be disabled.

With all these new features, who is tempted to buy a brand new Fire Tablet?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information and the image.

Amazon Scraps In Flames Fire Phone

Amazon attempted to enter a marketplace which is saturated by established Smartphone makers which include juggernauts Apple and Samsung. The Fire phone was launched onto the market with its fair share of pomp and circumstance around 15 months ago, its hope was to piggyback onto the name of Amazon with the aim of enticing consumers with an alternative. Turns out this idea has ended in flames as Amazon has announced that it “has no plans” to replenish a product which is currently “Out Of Stock”

This follows a recent report which stated that there have been lay-offs at the US companies Silicon Valley research-and-development lab after the phone failed to resonate with consumers. So where did it all go wrong? Part of the reason was a lack of features which really failed to capture the imagination of consumers. The primary selling point of the Fire phone was the “Dynamic Perspective” camera which was able to track the movements of the user with the aim of offering an illusion of 3D. The problem lies with the trend of consumers which have been disinterested with this type of tech. This has been seen for example with broadcaster Sky and their failed 3D channel experiment and also lacklustre sales of television sets which offer the 3D experience.

In October 2014, the company revealed it had suffered a $170m (£110.5m) write-down which was attributed to below expectation sales for the gadget. Unless you wow consumers with an amazing product which offers a completely new experience to consumers, this product was always destined to self destruct. As a spectator it will be interesting to note the direction which Amazon decides to go after such a failure, I do envisage Amazon will think twice before attempting to challenge a market which has seen substantial growth from innovative companies which offers tech that is cutting edge.

Thank you bbc for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of macobserver

$75,000 Reward In Hunt For Drone Users

Drones are amazing devices, being able to fly a device throughout your garden and beyond, taking pictures that are breathtaking and near impossible for any one person to manage. The problems begin when users begin to do stupid things and end up endangering lives with the devices. Such as those who are now the focus of a hunt with a possible reward offering around $75,000 to the one who helps catch them.

Drones have caused a few problems in recent months, drone users have almost been responsible for 14 near misses with commercial planes between March 2014 and March 2015. With a jail sentence of 5 years for even endangering the planes, the CAA really want to drive home that it is unacceptable to use drones near airplanes. Across the pond in California, San Bernardino county to be precise, a reward of $75k has been offered to anyone who can help track down drone pilots who are flying their drones over the forest fires in the country recently.

The first incident involved a drone flying too close to a flight path, resulting in a $10,000 detour for three planes carrying flame retardant, not only costing a lot of money but also hampering the US Forest Services attempts to control and prevent the forest fire from spreading. The drone in question was flying above the legal limit of 400 feet and was also in the no-fly zone commonly put forward when dealing with wildfires.

The second fire resulted in firefighting helicopters being forced to land with as many as five drones present in the area of the fire, the subsequent fire then spread to the highway where at least 20 cars were destroyed by the flames. Luckily the passengers had managed to escape on foot prior to the fire reaching them. This was only a few days after they were forced to suspend a tanker arriving after a drone was spotted in the area around another wildfire.

With three possible culprits an offer of $25,000 has been put forward for the apprehension of the drone pilots, in what can only be considered as serious action against those who would endanger lives and property for a quick photo opportunity.

With lives being endangered on a nearly weekly rate, drone users need to be more careful and considerate or face serious repercussions for their actions.

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of the BBC.

This Is Why Strapping a Wi-Fi Connection to a Sniper Rifle Is a Bad Idea

We have come to a point where we embed a lot of technology to weapons, sometimes even too much technology. This is the case of TrackingPoint, a company that makes such smart weapons. One sniper rifle the company produces is so advanced that it would make anyone a pro-marksman when fired. But, as expected for something this advanced, the gun can be hacked.

A group of hackers found a way to hack the sniper rifle via Wi-Fi. Yes, the gun actually has a Wi-Fi antenna that lets you connect and stream its view to other devices. However, the Wi-Fi is off by default. Turning it on, the hackers proved that adjusting some variables can alter the target, so you might be aiming for something, but eventually hitting an entirely different target in the end.

The hack is also very advanced in a way, being able to tap into the ‘root’ permissions of the gun. This means that a hacker can be granted full access to the gun and even lock the user out of it. However, one truly relieving thing is that the gun cannot be fired remotely, requiring manual trigger fire at all times. Hackers can still remove the safety mechanism, so this is still a bit worrying.

From the looks of it, hacking the gun proves to be a challenge. First of all, the Wi-Fi needs to be on, but since most people use sniper rifles in the wilderness and not in their back yard, the likeliness of it being on is next to zero. Even so, the hacker needs to be next to the gun, so as previously mentioned, hiding in a bush with a laptop is also not practical. It might sound next to impossible to hack it, but the hackers tell that malware can be installed on it, so an attacker can somehow hack it at some point and have it targeting or altering stuff at a certain time and place.

All this makes you wonder, doesn’t it? We previously mentioned about machine guns that can target and decide when to shoot and those most likely have Wi-Fi connectivity as well. Once we get to that point where autonomous guns and military machines become more popular, what would happen if someone were to ‘accidentally’ place a malware on one of their networks? Scary, isn’t it? What are your thoughts? Let us know!

Thank you WIRED for providing us with this information

Man Claims Nintendo Wii Burned Down his RV

A Colorado Springs resident has suffered a devastating fire caused by his Nintendo Wii. Trevor Pellegrin had turned off his Wii and headed out only to return when neighbours called him about the fire. Firefighters have largely rules out all other sources of ignition and believe the Wii was the source of the fire.

Pellegrin had used the Wii earlier in the week for Netflix but had turned it off afterwards. Unlike some cases where electronics were covered up and overheated, that did not seem to be the case here. It is also uncertain if the ignition source came from within the Wii itself or was the power adapter. Shoddy power adapters can be the source of fires as they can fail to properly regulate power. Being in a RV could also have been a contributing issue as the power going into the console might not be the cleanest.

If the source was from the Wii or its power supply even when the console is off, it does raise concerns about the safety of always-on devices. Many electronics these days actually aren’t off when the user turns them “off”. This can lead to issues where the user then might not follow all the safety procedures as they believe the device to be unpowered. However, it’s important to note that consoles haven’t been much of a source of fires recently, as the lithium-ion batteries in mobile devices are more prone to fires.

Image Courtesy of 11News

Amazon Prime Instant Video Finally Supports Android Tablets

In a move that has seemingly taken forever we now have the ability to watch Amazon Prime instant video on non-Fire and iOS tablets. Now Prime members can easily watch favorite shows on a mobile screen that you don’t have to squint to see.

To get started watching Prime instant video on your tablet you will need to install the Amazon app to be able to install from the Amazon Appstore. Then you can download the Prime Instant Video app and get started watching your favorites this weekend.

What’s new in version 2.0.45.1010:

Now watch Amazon Instant Video on your Android phones and tablets. Android tablet customers can search and browse for videos on Amazon.com in their web browser and tap Watch Now to have the Prime Instant Video app begin playing the video.

Source: Android Police

Students Come up with New Fire Extinguisher That Puts out Fire Using Sound

Fire extinguishers can be found in any buildings nowadays in case of a fire outburst. The concept of the fire extinguisher hasn’t changed much over the years, but it still does the trick. However, what if someone could come up with another way to put out fires? They just did.

A couple of students from George Mason University are said to have created a fire extinguisher that uses sound to put out flames. While this sounds extremely revolutionary, it unfortunately is not. DARPA is said to have been the first with a similar concept unveiled back in 2012, but the two students, Viet Tran and Seth Robertson, have managed to take the concept and make it portable, something that DARPA has failed to achieve in the past.

The students managed to make the sound-based fire extinguisher work by having the device emit a certain frequency, also named the “Goldilocks zone” that exists at 30-60 Hz, that basically kept oxygen away from the flame long enough to put them out.

Having worked out the design, they moved on in figuring out how to make this theoretical concept into an actual portable design. The students apparently used a sound frequency generator, a small amplifier, and a collimator made out of cardboard with a hole at the end that helps focus the waves in a direction. The result consisted of a device that has no problems putting out a small fire.

With their new design, Tran and Robertson plan to revolutionise firefighting in homes and in the office. However, there is a long way to go before we see these fire extinguishers replacing traditional ones. The students now plan to do more testing and figure out how to make the concept work with different fire types.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Watch a Laser Cannon Shoot Down a Drone

The US Navy has a big new toy – the USS Ponce with its massive laser cannon.

This giant cannon can shoot objects from great distance, moving at speed and with incredible accuracy. In one of their tests in the video bellow, they fire at an object aboard a boat, alongside a dummy that comes away completely unscathed thanks to the laser’s precise shot.

Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, said:

“We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality. Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations.”

Source: Gizmodo

Washington Post Free for Kindle Fire Users

Amazon has announced that it will be making the Washington Post newspaper available for free to Kindle Fire users.

The app will be bundled with with an update and will allow users of the tablet 6 months of free unlimited access usually reserved to subscribers of the newspaper. The news isn’t particularly surprising, as Jeff Bezos, the co-founder and CEO of Amazon, now owns the Washington Post, after acquiring it last year. Users will receive a tablet-friendly app, similar to other newspaper-based apps. Two additions of the paper will be pushed to the app at 5.00am and 5.00pm US Eastern Time.

As The Next Web points out, it appears that Amazon has made efforts to avoid the controversy Apple encountered in September when they ‘forced’ a free U2 album upon everyone – the Washington Post app can be deleted if you don’t want it.

Source: The Next Web

Amazon Stuck With $83m Worth of Fire Phones

 

If you’ve got a spare $83 million in your back pocket and not much to do with it, Amazon may just become your new best friend! We’ve recently become aware that the online retail giant Amazon has a cool $83 million worth of their Fire phones that aren’t moving through the consumer market. Alongside an announcement of a $544 million loss this quarter, with the Fire phone being largely to blame, Amazon’s original investment of $170 million into the Fire phone isn’t looking too hot.

Part of the blame is said to be with the branding of the technology. Amazon originally set out into the lower end of the consumer market with their competitively priced Kindle Fire tablet – coming in at only $99 on release. However, for the Fire they decided a different route. Firstly you can choose to get the phone through an AT&T contract for $200, or purchase it outright for $700. What’s the catch? No matter which avenue you travel down – you’re carrier-locked to AT&T.

There were problems selling on release, seeing AT&T move the phone down to $0.99 on-contract with no massive improvement in sell-through results. Looking into customer reviews on the Amazon official page you can see some of the disinterest and general ‘internet hate’ surrounding the Fire. Users have provided Amazon’s investment with a scornful 2-star rating with the majority of ratings being a 1-star blowout – amounting to 1,912 total.

All things considered, what has made this phone such a flop? The lack of Google. Although running Android OS, the Fire contains no Google support – meaning no Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps or Google Music. Say anything you want about the ‘Google overlords’ or current popular ‘Illuminati’ culture. Life sucks without these applications on Android.

There’s a large possibility you’ll be finding the Fire in a ‘bargain bin’ fairly soon. Don’t get us wrong, coming in with a 5.5″ screen, 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon CPU and 2GB of ram – this phone is no chump when it comes to technical specifications – there’s just quite a few other implications that didn’t allow for success.

I’ll certainly be looking to pick one up myself as a secondary phone if and when it hits clearance pricing.

We’ll leave you now with a painful user review, quite possibly written in the same context once upon a time to a lover of old – this novel is titled “I wanted to love you“.

Image courtesy of Amazon

Amazon’s Fire Phone Finally Arrives in Europe

Our american readers have been able to get the Amazon Fire Phone for a while now but the rest of have had to wait. That wait is now over and it’s finally coming to Europe as well, at least to the U.K. and Germany for now. While the U.S. launch failed to generate any solid figures and sales are estimated around 35.000 units, the e-commerce giant is hoping to challenge the rivals of Apple, HTC, Samsung and Sony on the European market.

The Fire phone will launch on September 30th and cost 0.99 cents on a two year contract. In the U.S. the Fire phone is limited to AT&T’s customers and it will have similar carrier exclusives here. In the U.K. it will be O2 that carries it and in Germany it will be Deutsche Telekom. It will be available to purchase both in the respective retail stores, their online shops as well as on Amazon’s own website.

Early reviews of the smartphone were very mixed, and overall it didn’t get many good ones. The ideas for design and features were praised, but said to be unfinished and confusing. Something I’m sure to change. It’s already an improved and updated version we’ll get on the European market.

One of the thing many people don’t like about Amazon’s smart devices is the use of their own Android version and App store, without access to the usual Play store from Google. The Amazon store has grown to 240.000 apps by now, but that’s still only about a fifth of the 1.3 million apps the Play store has. While it isn’t always about the pure amount of apps, but also about having the right one, it comes down to the personal usage if it can deliver to your needs.

“We don’t focus on the total number of apps, it’s about having the right apps, the apps that customers really want,” said Cameron Janes. “Since we launched the Fire phone in the US, we’ve seen the volume of app submissions to the Amazon app store double.”

As a bonus on top of the cheap price, users will get unlimited Amazon cloud storage for backups and 32 GB storage in their phone. The screen has been praised high with it’s dynamic perspective that gives it a 3D look. This is achieved with four front facing cameras that track your heads position relative to the phone.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w95kwXy_MOY[/youtube]

The battery life has been improved upon as well and said to give around 10-15% more duration now. The Amazon OS will get an update to it’s speech recognition software upon launch to handle the different British accents it’ll have to deal with now.

Amazon hopes to target the users who already are living in the Amazon e-world with their Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle eBook readers. To sweeten the deal a free year of Amazon Prime subscription will be added.

Thank you TheGuardian for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Amazon.

HP Recalls over 6 Million AC Power Cords

Hewlett-Packard is recalling about 6 million notebook and laptop AC power because of possible overheating, which again can pose a burn and fire risk. HP has received 29 reports of power cords overheating and melting or charring, resulting in two claims of minor burns and 13 claims of minor property damage.

The Hewlett-Packard LS-15 AC power cords were distributed with HP and Compaq notebook and mini notebook computers as well as AC adapter-powered accessories including docking stations. The power cords are black and have an “LS-15” molded on the AC adapter end of the cord and were manufactured in China.

The notebook and mini-notebook computers and accessories were sold with the AC power cords at computer and electronics stores, authorized dealers and online at www.hp.com from September 2010 to June 2012. Consumers are advised to immediately stop using and unplug the recalled power cords and contact Hewlett-Packard to order a free replacement. There is no risk in continuing to use any other parts.

Hewlett-Packard can be reached by phone during business hours or online at www.hp.com and then click “Recalls” at the bottom of the page.

Thank you laptopmag for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of HP.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Almost Sets Sleeping Girl Alight

Most people charge their phone overnight, right? This unfortunate story might make you reconsider.

Ariel Trolfree, a 13-year old North Texas girl, got a rude awakening last week when the Samsung Galaxy S4 she plugged in to charge just before falling asleep woke her up by emitting an unusual odor. Unfortunately for her, at first she couldn’t figure out exactly what the issue was and started searching around the house for a burning smell. She eventually found that the S4 she had wedged under her pillow had not only burned up her pillow, but been transformed into a blob of melted plastic and electronics.

FOX4 reported on the issue, talking to the victims father:

“The whole phone melted. The plastic, the glass. You can’t even really tell that it was a phone.”

It is suspected that the device, whilst charging, overheated which caused the battery to swell and start a small fire. Samsung does however provide a warning in their customer guide which points out that covering a charging device with bedding or other material is unacceptable as it restricts airflow and can cause such issues. They also pointed out that Ariels phone was using an aftermarket battery and not an official Samsung product.

Nevertheless, Samsung are said to be providing Ariel with a new phone, pillow and bedding – along with asking for the faulty device back for quality control and testing. Their rep has stated that Samsung takes all battery fire related issues very seriously.

Image courtesy of FOX4

Asian ‘Super Ants’ Are Invading the UK

The Telegraph reports a new hazard for all our beloved technology, and it is not an new fancy virus or piece of sophisticated mal-ware. No it’s ants, yes you read right. The Asian ‘super ant’ that is better known as fire ant has taken up a solid residency in the UK.

They were already discovered back in 2009 where a colony of 35 thousand was found near Gloucestershire. As ants are, they haven’t been lazy. They have since multiplied and spread out in all directions. Recently a colony invaded a house in Hendon, north west London and they’ve also been spotted in Buckinghamshire.

The whole problem is that the ants are attracted to electricity, making the modern home the go-to place number one for these tiny creatures.

“The problems with them are they seem to get attracted to electricity and they can take up residence in plug sockets and power sources, creating a fire hazard.” said Jo Hodgkins, a wildlife and countryside adviser at the National Trust.

They have no problem with the climate in Britain and established themselves well. They are pretty tough small creatures and it would be no surprise if the have gone a lot further.

I guess this gives the term firewall a whole new meaning.

Thank you The Telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of AntWeb.org.

Breaking News: Amazon Reveals First Smartphone – the Fire Phone

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed Amazons first ever smartphone today at a private event in Seattle. It’s called the Fire Phone, sticking with the name from other devices in the Amazon family, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and HDX and the Fire TV Set-top box.

The phone is exclusive to AT&T (Guess we’ll be waiting a while to get it in the UK), and will cost $199 (£117) with a two-year contract for a 32GB device and $299 (£176) for a 64GB device. The phone on its own (No contract) will cost $650 (£383), which is common for high-end smartphones. Amazon’s product page indicates that it’s available for pre-order now, and will begin shipping to buyers on July 25. For a “limited time,” a full year of Amazon Prime membership is included with purchase.

The phone is packing some decent hardware. It comes with a 4.7-inch IPS display with 590 nits maximum brightness and a “HD” resolution, which usually means 720p but it could be higher, the exact resolution has not been confirmed yet. Amazon says the phone has been “optimized for one-handed use.” The phone has a rubberized frame, a glass back, anodized aluminum buttons and Gorilla Glass 3 which will protect the screen from scratches and knocks etc.

The phone’s most-hyped capability, of course, is its motion-tracking screen—four cameras on the front of the device track your head as you move it around, along with infrared lights to make sure the feature works even in dark rooms. You can move and tilt the phone to shift the contents of the display (images, maps, and so on), subtly creating a glasses-free 3D effect that doesn’t rely on the user keeping their head or eyes in a particular position. The phone will also let you flip through images and scroll through Web pages by slightly tilting the device, rather than relying solely on finger input. A third-party SDK is available so that developers can add this “dynamic perspective” feature to their own apps.

Moving on to the inside of the phone, it’s packing a quad-core 2.2GHz SoC with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM, which means we’ll see either a Snapdragon 800 or 801 chip. It’s also got a 13MP camera with a f/2.0 five element lens and optical image stabilization. It also has a dedicated shutter button like the one found on Windows phones that will automatically open the camera app and take pictures for you.

Amazon haven’t left it at CPUs and GPUs though, they have also focused on sound with the Fire Phone. The phone is coming with dual stereo speakers (not sure if they are front or rear facing) and include “tangle-free” earbuds that, like the name suggests, won’t tangle up.

With this being an Amazon phone, users who are also ‘Prime’ members will be able to access a whole load of Amazon features such as Amazon MP3, the Kindle bookstore and Prime Instant Video. Third-party apps such as Netflix and HBO Go will also be available to users, giving them even more access to content. The “Mayday” feature, found on the Kindle Fire HDX tablets, is also coming to the Fire Phone. This will offer 24-hours-a-day-seven-days-a-week tech support to customers who need it.

Bezos also demoed a new feature called “Firefly” that can identify songs being played in a room, episodes of various TV shows, and art. Firefly can also recognize phone numbers, e-mail addresses, barcodes and QR codes, and other items, importing them into the phone and making it easier to contact people, without needing to do a lot of extraneous typing. These images are taken by the camera, sent to Amazon’s cloud, and sent back to the phone to save the phone’s processor and its battery life. Amazon has created a third-party SDK that developers can use to come up with their own uses for Firefly.

This phone looks like it’s got everything people need, it will be interesting to see how well it does in the global market and whether or not  it can compete with other major phone developers.

UPDATE: 

It has a 1280×720 resolution, giving it a density of 315PPI

The phone is  8.9mm (0.35 inches) thick and weighs 160 grams (5.64 ounces).

 It uses a 2,400mAh battery that Amazon says will deliver up to 11 hours of video playback, and it includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The Fire OS 3.5.0 operating system is a newer version of the Android-derived OS that powers the Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

Thank you to Arstechnica for supplying us with this information.

Images courtesy of Arstechnica.

George R.R. Martin wants to kill YOU in the Game of Thrones

From what I hear, Game of Thrones is meant to be quite an invigorating series that is the brainchild of George R.R. Martin; personally though I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it at all as I’m not into these sort of programmes. Our resident gaming and TV series addict, Pete, however would be able to tell you tons of information on the subject – but lets brush around that for now.

As the series creator, Martin is certainly well-known around the world (I guess this may have something to do with this series?) and whilst he is regarded to be a cold-hearted writer, there is a softer side to this real-life character – especially when it comes to saving wolves and helping out his local population in Santa Fé.

So how goes a TV series and a persons charitable side come together? To give support to both of Martin’s close to heart charities, he has set up a campaign through Prizeo, where fans of the TV series – and everyone else for that matter – can send in their donations to help out the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot.

To spur his massive following into giving donations to both of these fantastic non-profit making organisations, backers can donate as little as $10 right up to a whopping $20,000 and based on the level that is donated, a number of rewards are on offer. Now unlike some charitable campaigns you won’t be seeing a cuddly toy or a picture sent out to you each week for the rest of the year; instead you will have to chance to own Martin’s own worn hat or even breakfast with him. Taking the opportunities up to another level, those who donate a little more could get tickets to the premier of Season 5 and a signed cookbook dedicated to the Game of Thrones.

Where the cream of the crop opportunity lies however is to those who donate that jaw dropping amount of $20,000, no you won’t see a hat or breakfast, nor will you get a book. What you will get is the chance to get yourself written into the next novel, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, where your fate will be met and you will die in a typically horrific manner. I hear this happens quite a lot – but hey donating large amounts of money to charity to help out those who are not so fortunate in life is worth dying for if you ask me – even if it is only in words.

Here is Martin’s message to the word:

Hi everyone,

It’s George R.R. Martin, and I’m here to raise money for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot of Santa Fé.

If you make a small donation to my campaign, you will automatically be entered to win an incredible experience. You and a friend will be flown out (from wherever you are in the world) to meet me in Santa Fé, where we’ll share a helicopter ride to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.

In addition to touring the Sanctuary together, we’ll also have plenty of time to discuss the show, A Song of Ice and Fire, direwolves – and if there’s anything you have ever wanted to ask me, here’s your chance!

Thank you for supporting my campaign. I look forward to meeting one of you!

– George R.R. Martin

Even if you don’t pledge $20k or get the hat, breakfast, tickets or the cookbook, don’t worry as EVERYONE that pledges will be in with a change of winning a trip to Santa Fé, where you can hang out with a group of wolves which take their name from the novels – the Westeros Pack. That in itself is worth the pledge.

Even if you don’t get any of the above goodies, or the trip to see the wolves, what you will be able to take away from this campaign is the reassurance that you are supporting two very good causes and helping out those in need. If this still doesn’t persuade you, hear it from the man himself – George R.R. Martin:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdrxBbrUjZ8[/youtube]

Panasonic Recall Laptop & Tablet Batteries – Over 43,000 Units Affected

Toughbook manufacturer Panasonic has announced that they are in the process of recalling over 43,00 batteries from their Toughbook laptop and tablet ranges after three batteries in Asia malfunctioned and caught fire. The batteries in question are found in products purchased in the period of June 2011 to May 2012 and are Panasonic branded. Built for the CF-H2 tablets, the batteries in question have been found to overheat in some instances, resulting in some catching fire – a major safety risk for users where burns are a high risk.

The main bulk of these batteries are reportedly found in Asia, whilst a smaller number of units are found around Europe and the rest of the world. To prevent the risk of overheating, Panasonic are urging users to remove the battery from their tablet and run it through mains power until a replacement part is shipped out – free of charge.

The model numbers that are affected are as follows:

  • B6NA
  • B6YA
  • B71A
  • B74A
  • B75A
  • B76A
  • B7CA
  • B7VA
  • B83A
  • BBGA
  • BBJA
  • BBWA
  • Battery model number CF-VZSU53AW is also affected.

In addition to the recall on the CF-H2 tablets, a second recall is also being made on batteries that are found within the CF-S10 and CF-N10 laptop ranges. In this instance, the batteries in question are found within products shipped in the period April 2011 to October 2011. The batteries here are said to suffer from the same fault found in the tablet batteries and once again users should remove the parts as soon as possible, leaving the laptops to run from mains power until a replacement part has been shipped.

In all cases users should contact Panasonic support to report their device is one of those affected and replacement part will be arranged.

Source: BBC News

3DMark Update Coming With a New Test Scenario For Mid-Range Systems

Futuremark’s 3DMark benchmarking suite is one of the biggest benchmarking suites that is out on the market for the testing and comparative positioning of gaming systems and as the outer reaches of performance grow on a near day-to-day basis, the benchmark tests that we run have to mature as well. To keep up with the growing demand of the consumer markets, Futuremark are introducing a new test environment in to their ever popular 3DMark suite. Set to be positioned between the Cloud Gate and Fire Strike scenarios for typical home setups and high performance gaming systems, Sky Diver focuses on the mid-range market, where gaming notebooks and average gaming systems cross paths, both in terms of cost and specification.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/GV5jjUQDNdw[/youtube]

Scheduled for release after Computex, where the new test environment will be on display on a number of manufacturer’s stands including Asus, Gigabyte and G.Skill, Sky Diver will be introduced into the 3DMark test suite by means of a software update, meaning there is no need to purchase and download new bits of software.

Jukka Makinen, Futuremark CEO said, “Some people think that 3DMark is only for high-end hardware and extreme overclocking. Yet millions of PC gamers rely on 3DMark to choose systems that best balance performance, efficiency and affordability. 3DMark Sky Diver complements our other tests by providing the ideal benchmark for gaming laptops and mainstream PCs.”

As and when the 3DMark update is made available, we will be introducing the additional test scenario into our review methodology, giving the most update benchmark results that we can. If you don’t already have the 3DMark test suite, head over to http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark , where you can find more information along with links to Futuremark’s other benchmarking suites.

Source: Press Release

Galaxy S4 Caught Fire, Nokia Came To The Rescue With A Free Lumia

Samsung were quick to the rescue of the user who’s phone set on fire. Not only did the users phone burn out in a glory of flames, but he also uploaded a video of the burnt phone as evidence, which he then uploaded to YouTube. Samsung we’re happy to swap the phone for a new one, but they wanted him to agree to some terms first, and remove the video he uploaded.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/dc4duKuPrQ0[/youtube]

Not happy with Samsung’s terms, the ex-owner of the Galaxy S4 declined the deal and uploaded yet another video detailing Samsung’s terms and conditions for all to see. He posted the videos on Twitter too, ensuring that people learn the potential dangers of the handset that Samsung were trying to hide (in fairness, any electrical device can catch fire, not just Samsung phones).

[youtube]http://youtu.be/2QHd-_qncEU[/youtube]

Enter Nokia PR! Who saw the opportunity to troll Samsung to the max. Tweeting back at him with an offer he simply cannot refuse.

The only way this story could be any more entertaining is if his new Nokia catches fire… but of course we hope it doesn’t, we hate to see good tech go to waste.

Thank you Tweak Town for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Tweak Town.

Vodafone Store Evacuated Due To Exploding iPad

There have been a few reports of iPhones, iPads and iPods exploding over the years, more so in recent month. I do think it is fair to say that nearly all electrical device can and do explode on rare occasions and circumstances, and that I doubt these incidents are limited to Apple devices.

Reports are now coming in the a Vodafone store in Australia was evacuated due to an iPad exploding in the store, which all sound a little dramatic, I mean, how much damage can one iPad do?

According to a Vodaphone spokesperson, the Canberra based store’s caught alight from its charging port. Which quickly led to the fire brigade being called and the store to be evacuated, the shop was quickly filling with acrid smoke, sparks and flames from the iPad as it’s power connector continued to burn.

As you can see from the image above, the iPad in question is left looking more like a baking tray than an electronic device, so we cannot even identify what model it was.

Apple has since collected the charred device for testing.

Thank you Trusted Review for proving us with this information.

Image courtesy of Trusted Review.

Part Of The Internet Archive Burns Down

The internet archive, an impressively huge data center that holds every webpage created and indexed on archive servers and runs completely non-profit, partially caught fire on November 6th. The archive center has a total of 30 builds, of which one was lost in the fire among other surrounding buildings that were just damaged such as a church, local business and residence.

Although the fire destroyed some of the servers that Archive.org runs to store data on, none of the saved data was actually lost. The saved data was saved again to prevent any loss in case it was lost in the first place. Still keeping up? I think I’ve lost myself.

Some of the equipment that was also lost in the data center during the fire includes: a scanner, high def camera, some lights and a few sets of office desks and chairs among some other lost items that can’t be accounted for due to the shock of the fire.

Kahle, the founder of the internet archive, said that there was no estimation of the cost of the lost property and the situation is “quite a bummer”.

The employees that previously worked in the now burned out building have been relocated to a different office to continue their work. The digital archive states that they’re not expecting any further disruptions of service, including website downtime and employee inaccessibility, meaning that the site will be functioning as normal for the foreseeable future.

If you’re interested in contributing to the non-profit organisation, you can donate over here: https://archive.org/donate/index.php

Thanks to Mashable for the information and image!

Cooler Master Show Off Keyboards At Insomnia i49

Cooler Master Show Off Keyboards At Insomnia i49


Insomnia i49: Cooler Master are back in Telford for i49 and are teamed up with CyberPower UK to show off the latest in their line-up of headsets, keyboards, mice notebook coolers and chassis plus more.

One of the newest additions to the peripheral line-up is the Mech keyboard – being shown off in the UK for the first time. The Mech has a aluminium and steel reinforced build with professional cherry MX switches under the keys as well as 5 macro profiles offering up to a total of 75 macro combinations. The special feature of this board is its customisable capability. Cooler Master designed this board with the modder in mind, hoping that they will come up with a plethora of different designs and flavours to awe at.

Alongside the Mech, the ever popular Quick Fire Pro and TK keyboards are on display in a pair of colours and a variety of switch types – the blue switch so popular that Cooler Master’s event partner CCL ran out of stock on the first day of the exhibition!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/KHlVd3dMNPo[/youtube]

Cooler Masters Trigger keyboard is regarded to have a great, strong build and to prove this, the team have a video on show demonstrating how Cooler Master put this to the test by running it over with a series of vehicles and testing it straight after.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNrHJ9h7IIU[/youtube]

Stay tuned as we have more coverage for you from Cooler Master and the rest of i49 here in Telford. Be sure to check out the live gallery where you can get a quick glimpse of the action as we see it here: http://www.eteknix.com/insomnia-i49-summer-2013-live-gallery/