Oculus Home Sales Are Final – Despite EU Law

Buying the Oculus Rift is something that’s been stuck with its own issues recently, but I guess that is to be expected of any major hardware launch. However, it seems there’s a bit of a legal grey area buying content for the Rift, especially for those of us who live within the EU. Oculus Home, the digital store for supplying VR-ready titles, has declared that “all sales are final” when it comes to their refund policy.

So what does this mean? Well, if you buy a game, good luck getting your money back if you’re unhappy with the purchase and while for many, this won’t be an issue, it does fly in the face of laws in the EU that give consumers a right to a refund. The terms state that “All software purchases from the Oculus Store are final, and unless required by local law, no refunds will be provided.” and it’s that last part that causes problems, as the Oculus ToS section 4.11 states that “if you are located in the EU, you consent that the supply of the digital content may begin immediately following the completion of your purchase and you acknowledge that you therefore will lose any statutory rights you may have to withdraw and receive a refund.”

European Consumer Rights directives state that you have a 14-day cooling off period for any digital goods purchased, but you won’t get that right if you accept the terms of Oculus Home. Of course, Oculus aren’t the only ones doing this and even Valve walk a fine line here. However, Stream does offer a system for refunds that’s relatively in-line with the law, albeit it’s a fairly new feature to their service.

Oculus Home is already shutting out consumers from using other stores, such as Steam, to purchase their VR games, and they’re offering stricter ToS on top, not what I would call consumer-friendly at all and something we hope they improve on soon.

Would You Pay Extra to Screen Movies on Release Day?

It’s a Tuesday, it’s been a long day at work, but a movie you’ve been waiting for has just released and you can’t wait to see it. You only have two options, go see the film or wait till you’ve had a calmer day. Soon you could be getting a third option of being able to screen movies on their release day!

Screening room is a new service designed to give you just that option. On release day, you can view a film at home that has just released in the cinema. Basically, it will become your own private cinema, but this luxury comes at a hefty cost.

Setting you back $150 just for the secure set top box that plugs into your TV or projector, the next increase in price comes per screening, setting you back another $50 per film. If that didn’t seem like a lot then be aware it only lasts for 48 hours, two days later you need to buy the film all over again if you want to watch it.

While this may seem like a weird business model, even the likes of Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and J.J. Abrams all support the scheme and are shareholders in the new start-up project.

Would you pay extra to stream a movie at home? Do you feel like this would only help piracy or is the biggest hold back to modern films is the wait before they get into your home?

Create Your Own LCARS System Using A Raspberry Pi

Star Trek has had a lasting impact on everything from science fiction to people’s everyday lives. Everybody who has watched the series has their own generation, and for myself it was the Next Generation. I remember watching the first episode when it aired and gazing at the screens as they pressed buttons without having to type long commands into a keyboard. This was all done thanks to a system known as LCARS and thanks to some clever coder you can now create your LCARS system.

With nothing more than a Raspberry Pi and his wits, Toby Kurien created a home automation system based on the classic science fiction interface. If that wasn’t cool enough, Kurien has also released the code for the interface system on GitHub, meaning you can not only download and tinker to your heart’s content if you prefer something a little different you can change out the assets, giving your system a whole new look.

Created using Python, the software supports touchscreen and means that when combined with the latest Raspberry Pi, you can create your own little LCARS tablet or wall panel to help control your home, car or even just to play games on. How long before someone modifies it to control the starship Enterprise drone we wonder.

Computer Completes a Rubik’s Cube In A Spellbinding Time

There are many things in life that are quite annoying and include inventions such as Predictive Text; however, the Rubik’s Cube certainly adds a new dimension to the word “Frustrating”. But, what happens if you mix a homemade computer with arguably the world’s most difficult game?

Well, two software engineers from Kansas, US, decided to find out and it becomes apparent this computer was able to successfully complete the iconic puzzle in a mind-bending 1.047 seconds, this means that it successfully found the correct permutations quicker than it would have taken for you or me to say the word Rubik’s Cube.

The current Guinness World Record is a rather poor 2.3 seconds while humans are currently well behind on a snail-like pace of 4.9 seconds, although, that is still pretty fast. If you’re wondering, this record is held by a 14-year-old who goes by the name Lucas Etter in November 2015.

Below is the video, as you can see, the cube is being held within a 3D printed frame via “drilled holes with four USB cameras pointing at the puzzle. The robot is then hooked up to a Linux-based computer running a Kociemba Rubik’s cube-solving algorithm that takes the information delivered from the cameras and then works out in milliseconds which moves to make”.

The creators, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose uploaded the video and are currently applying for it to be officially recognized as a new world record, one would assume this would be a time which stands for a long while, although, you know what assumptions are.

ASUS Surprises with XG-D2008 10Gbps Switch for Home Users

This one came quite as a surprise for me, but it is a very positive surprise as ASUS unveiled one of the first, if not the first, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches designed for home users. We have long moved away from the slow mechanical storage drives and some people like me even moved on to something as crazy as NVMe drives in RAID setup. With that in mind, a Gigabit Ethernet connection becomes the biggest bottleneck in your system with a speed of around 120-125MB/s max. Even when you use link aggregation, you won’t be able to support these kinds of speeds.

ASUS’s new 10Gbps Switch is called the XG-D2008 and now that we’re starting to see the entry of 10 Gigabit Ethernet for home users, although mostly enthusiast users for now, it comes a little bit as a surprise to me that it is ASUS leading the front here. When we saw the NAS manufacturer Synology enter the router market last year, I figured that it just was a matter of time until they expanded into switches too. ASUS does however have a big experience in pretty much any field, so it doesn’t come as that big of a surprise after all, that they release a product like this.

Right now the information about the switch is very limited, but I really do like what I see. The design of the XG-D2008 is beautiful in what appears to be a unibody structure of aluminium with a brushed finish. The device is very simple and will blend well into any environment. While the port amount wasn’t revealed as such, we see the 8 in the name and can count 8 LEDs for LAN ports on the image, making it an 8-port switch.

The plug-and-play description points towards an unmanaged switch, although there still could be a user interface at the same time. We will make sure to update you with more information as they become available and hopefully also be able to bring you a review of this new 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with an enterprise-level performance yet a mainstream price tag.

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.

D-Link Demos Smart Home Technology @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Turning your home into a smart hub appears to be the hot trend of late, as consumers want more control of their devices and household appliances. During CES this year, D-Link showcased their impressive range of smart home devices including a WiFi Smart Plug, WiFi Water Sensor, WiFi Siren, WiFi Motion Sensor and Smart Alarm Detector. The Smart Plug can be used to turn a fan off when you leave for work, power on a stereo to wake you up and a whole host of other options. The Water Sensor informs users when a leak has begun to protect your gadgets, and home from serious damage.

As its name suggests, the Siren warns away potential intruders within a close proximity of your home and act as a deterrent. The Motion Sensor like all the other devices utilizes IFTTT to make the home react to any motion. This means it’s possible to adjust the lighting at specific times. Finally, the Alarm Detector sends users a message via text or other means when a smoke or carbon monoxide warning is triggered.

The free mydlink Home app for iOS® and Android will provide IFTTT support in late Q1 2016 and adds huge potential to the hardware shown at CES.

Smart me up Demos Real-Time Face Recognition Analysis @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Smart Me Up is a French company which created a highly advanced software suite to monitor a person’s age, gender, head pose and other essential statistics. This is also completed in real time and constantly updates as the software learns more about your facial characteristics. During a hands on demo, the software initially misread my age by a decent margin but as time progressed, the age score became almost perfect. Apparently, the face recognition is designed to be an integral part of smart technology in the home and provide a way to personalize various devices. It could also be used in robotics, medicine and other vital industries.

It’s still fairly unclear when the facial recognition software will be implemented and its wider appeal, although it certainly captured people’s imaginations during CES.

Would you like to see this kind of facial analysis become a part of modern homes?

LG Teases High-End Home Appliances Line-Up Ahead of CES 2016

With CES 2016 just around the corner, LG has decided to give us a small insight into their latest product range, mysteriously named, LG Signature. As you can see from the captured image, it looks like a new line-up of home appliances which adopt a sleek, minimalistic design philosophy. So far this includes a television, a refrigerator, an air purifier and some washing machines. Unfortunately, that’s all the information we currently have but the official launch reveal is just over two weeks away! Rest assured, we will be providing extensive coverage of the product announcements during CES.

This is an interesting move from LG, as I don’t usually associate them with subtle, luxury designs on household applications. Perhaps, they want to appeal to higher end customers and sell products with a very hefty price tag. However, this is all pure speculation and the devices might still be affordable. If you’re interested in seeing the confusing trailer, please visit this website.

I’ve personally used an LG washing machine before and it’s been reliable. LG recently hired a highly skilled design team to innovate on upcoming products. It seems likely that they were directed to producing the Signature range.

Microsoft Offer Tools to Help You Upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft is both parts eager and keen in its attempts to upgrade everyone from the older systems to the latest, Windows 10. From offering free upgrades for windows 7 and 8 users, to automatically downloading the materials needed to install Windows 10 without warning the user, it’s clear that staying on the older systems may not be a choice for many.

In the new year, they intend to make that step a little easier for users. Currently, Windows 10 as an “Optional Update” for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This means that if you wanted to, you could install it. In a blog on their site, Microsoft recently announced that early next year this will be changed and Windows 10 will become a “Recommended Update”, meaning the update process will automatically start. They have clarified that when this happens you will be given the prompt asking if you wish to continue or not, with the option to revert back within 31 days if you are not happy with windows 10.

Alongside this, the tool used to create DVD ISO’s and USB installers is being updated to create a single image that will cover everything, such as the 32 and 64-bit versions of both Home and Pro copies of Window 10. All within one installation media, this means that you can install on any PC, regardless of the wanted version without having to create separate installation media.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10? Did you revert back? Give us your story in the comments below.

Companion: Walk Your Friend Home Through Their Phone

It’s late, it’s already dark and you’ve still got a little while to walk home from the bus stop. Your mind’s imaging everything from the safe walk home to a full night Halloween special. With a flick of your finger suddenly your best friend’s next to you, walking you home and keeping you company every step of the way to your bedroom door. That’s the concept behind the popular App coming out from University of Michigan students titled Companion.

The concept is to solve a problem as old as parents have had children when your alone and scared you want to know that someone’s watching out for you. Companion aims to solve that by allowing you to send web links to several contacts, all or any of whom, can then view the web page with a map detailing the user’s current location and their destination and path they wish to take. Now say you have a fall from your path, or even have your headphones yanked out because they got caught on someone’s bag as they passed by, the app will detect these and ask the user if they are okay. If the user’s okay they press the button within 15 seconds, however if they can’t press it because they’ve fallen and is injured or had their phone stolen the phone will turn into a personal alarm. The alarm mode sets off a loud noise that aims to alert nearby people that something has/is happening and has a link to instantly call the emergency services, enabling you to quickly report when your injured or something has happened.

Originally designed to work with American Universities the app creators are hoping to bring in universities and countries around the world to the personal safety app. Available for both iOS and Android for free, Companion could soon see you and your friends enjoying those late night walks with a little more peace of mind.

Thank you International Buisness Times for the information and image.

D-Link DCS-935L mydlink Home Monitor HD Wi-Fi Camera Review

Introduction


Today I’m taking a look at a somewhat different product than I am used to and that is a wireless home security camera. Security becomes a bigger and bigger issue for a lot of people and many would like to keep an extra eye on the home while they are away. The D-Link DCS-935L Home Monitor HD allows you to do just that and I’ll be taking a closer look at the hardware and software that comes along.

The mydlink Home Monitor HD, as it is known by as full name, allows you to monitor your home from where ever you are and see everything in full-colour high-definition 720p with sound, may it be from a computer, tablet, or a smartphone. The WiFi camera also comes with built-in night vision that allows you to see up to 5 meters in complete darkness.

One of the places that held many people back in the past and stopped them up from entering the world of do-it-yourself home security was the setup. It could be very complicated and require a lot of running of wires at the same time. That made people hesitate and they rather invested in a commercial and subscription-based security plan. Granted, a camera like this cannot do the same, but in return it can be set up by anyone and it only requires the initial purchase.

The DCS-935L WiFi camera is as easy to set up and connects to your Wi-Fi network, all it takes is the press of a button. Simply press the WPS button and you are securely connected to your wireless network at home. There is no need for extra and additional control hubs or other hard to configure interfaces and router settings.

The DCS-935L WiFi camera is part of the mydlink structure of smart home devices, allowing you to create your own smart home, all without a complicated setup. Those devices include music streamers, Wi-Fi motion sensors, Smart Plugs, and also the Home Monitor cameras as the DCS-935L.

Everything is connected through the mydlink Home app that is compatible with both Android and iOS-based smartphones and tablets. You can view the stream from anywhere you are connected to an internet connection, allowing you to always know what is going on in your home. You can also set the camera to alarm you when sound or motion is detected. Again, everything without complicated setup, installation cost, or monthly subscription charges.

The camera stand on the DCS-935L Wireless camera can be used universally in may ways, allowing you to place the camera in a convenient place and at the same time having it pointed where you want it to. You can turn and tip the camera and also hang it on a wall or ceiling that way. The rear of the stand features a cut-out to route the power cable through and still have it mounted properly.

Whether you want the camera to keep an eye on your kids or pets while you’re away, monitor for possible intruders, or something completely different, the D-Link DCS-935L could be a perfect choice. The smart hardware combined with the smart apps allow you to set up a smart home as easy as it rarely, if ever, has been seen before.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers specification page and can as such be subject to change in possible future revisions of the product.

Key Features

  • WiFi with easy WPS setup
  • 720p HD resolution
  • Microphone for sound recording
  • Nightvision for up to 5 meters in full darkness
  • Motion and Sound detection
  • No charges, fees, or complicated setups
  • Monitoring from Smartphones and Tablets

Packaging and Content

The DCS-935L WiFi camera comes in a little box that displays all the relevant information about the product easy to read. Inside you’ll find a power adapter, the camera in itself, and manuals and guides that allow you to get started quick and easy.

The included power adapter uses a universal plug switch as seen below. Even if you bought it in a foreign market or traveling with it, all that’s required is a new plug part. Flip the old out, put a new in, and you’re done. These plugs are used on many power supply units and there is a good chance that you already have one or multiple of the same principle.

Man Shoots Down Expensive Drone

Drones may be the future, but owners certainly need to take a bit more responsibility while flying them if this tale is anything to go by. A gentleman by the name of William H. Merideth looked skyward and noticed a Drone was flying over his property, so he acted the same way any American with access to war grade weapons would, he took aim and shot it down.

According to an account of the incident, Mr Merideth’s shotgun blast hit the Drone and the hardware crashed within a short distance of his home. When police arrived to investigate why there was ammunition being fired, Merideth admitted that he shot down the Drone because it was flying over his home. Mr Merideth then gave an interview to propaganda Republican 1 channel Fox News, which he explained his actions with the following statement

I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’ Within a minute or so, here it came. It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky…”

Owners of the Drone were slightly angry considering the machine was estimated to be worth $1,800 (£1152.75) they also claimed that they were only shooting photos of a friend’s house when the incident occurred. Police arrested Merideth and charged him with first degree criminal mischief before promptly releasing him the next day, law enforcement gave what was left of the crashed Drone back to its owners.

I haven’t really any sympathy with both parties, on one hand William Merideth should not have really shot someone else’s Drone down, on the other hand, don’t fly a machine over someone’s house. It will be interesting to note how police handle this in the future, if the fore mentioned gentleman does not receive a punishment, it will be shoot a Drone season arriving down a street very soon.

On a side note, what is wrong with the gun owner? There are ways to resolve conflicts rather than taking aim and firing a cartridge into a direction of anything which annoys you.

Thank You wdrb for providing us with this information

Stationary Electric Vehicle Batteries May Be Getting Much Cheaper Than Anticipated

Have you heard the big headline in the electric car market? No? Well, some of you might have heard that Tesla is now selling its own stationery storage batteries. But you might ask, how is it a big thing? Those types of batteries were around for years, but they have never been cost-effective. The thing is, they are becoming more cost-effective than ever before, according to another study.

It is said that the price for installing one of these batteries in a home would have cost more than $23,000 last year. In May, Tesla announced that the price of such a Li-ion battery would start at $3,500, with an installation price of just $500. Ok, so it’s cheaper than ever before to install a battery in your home, but how is that cost-effective when charging it? Well, times are changing and businesses are making a lot of progress too. Tesla announced that it is currently building a “gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada, having Panasonic making its Li-ion batteries.

The above example is just what we would expect in the near future. However, two researchers from Stockholm stated that the cost of battery packs has fallen drastically. From $1,000 per kWh in 2007, it plunged down to $300 per kWh. Due to this price drop, Tesla and similar electric car manufacturers are now refurbishing old electric vehicle batteries to sell for stationary storage. Also, Tesla said that it also takes feedback very seriously and is now looking into increasing the discharge rate of batteries during continuous use, from 2.2 kilowatts to 5 kilowatts.

This does not mean we will see electric cars being a solution and everyone dropping gas cars overnight. Researchers state that the cost of battery packs needs to fall below 150 per kWh before significant shifts towards electric vehicles take place. However, they estimate that a cost level of 200 – 250 kWh might hit before 2020, so we are just a few years away from potentially switching to electric vehicles.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Check Out the Windows 10 Packaging Boxes

With the launch of Windows 10 later this month, more and more information about Microsoft’s upcoming OS is appearing. Today we have been gifted with some images that show the box art for Windows 10. This time around, the OS will be available on both DVD and USB installation media for the first time. Above, you can see the box art for the USB media with purple being the Pro version while blue is for Home. This is a change from the previous blue for Pro and green for Home that prior releases had adhered to.

For the DVD box art, a detailed depiction of the OS desktop is front and center. It seems Microsoft made pains to ensure that the much-missed Start Menu features front and center. Once again Pro gets a striking purple while Home is blue. Given the relative rarity of DVD drives in PCs and the rolling release style of Windows 10, this may be the last time we will ever see DVD media being sold. In fact, the USB installation media might also fall by the wayside as more and more users create their own installation media and USBs from downloadable ISOs. Be sure to follow our Windows 10 coverage here as we near the release date.

Images Courtesy of Microsoft Insider

Not Everyone Will Get Windows 10 on the 29th of July

If you were eagerly waiting to get your hands on Windows 10 on the 29th of July, you might be a bit disappointed. Microsoft just ruled out some updates on the upcoming Windows distribution timings, so bear with us on this.

The company said that Windows Insider program members will be the first to get Windows 10 when it launches, with other users who have reserved their copies being notified by email. Once you get notified, you will be able to get on downloading the Windows build. However, the company will be rolling it out in waves, which will increase in size gradually. This means there won’t be a lot of users who reserved Windows 10 getting it when the clock hits zero.

For regular home users, Microsoft will release the notification once it gets enough information from your system and considers it “ready” for Windows 10. Users who do not have a PC fitting Microsoft’s requirement will be notified by the Microsoft team and be given details as well as contact information on what they should do to get the build.

Business users have something else to deal with. Windows 10 Pro businesses will be able to download the build alongside Windows Insider users on the 29th of July, but larger companies have to wait. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education will be available through the company’s Volume Licensing Service Center starting on the 1st of August.

In addition to the above, all Windows 8.1 versions sold from retail stores will be given out with additional information on how to upgrade to Windows 10. More information about what Microsoft has planned for the Windows 10 rollout can be found over at their blog here.

Apple May Ditch the Home Button in Next-Gen iPhones

Apple introduced a revolutionary smartphone design when it first came out. Back then, phones had an abundance of buttons, but the company wanted to make it more simplistic. Thus, they came up with the Home Button.

Apple’s Home Button is used on both iPhone and iPad devices to minimize applications, bring up the multitasking menu, activate Siri and other user specific actions. But now, Apple is rumoured to ditch the Home Button too.

According to a report from Digitimes, the Cupertino giant is integrating the Home Button functions in its display by developing a touch and display driver integration (TDDI) chip. This means that the Home Button will now be displayed on the screen, rather than having it as a physical button.

We’ve seen the company make the same move with the trackpad on its latest MacBook series, so it’s highly likely that we will see the same approach on its mobile devices too. However, we are fairly certain that the latest iPhone models being released this fall will not bear the TDDI technology.

In addition, the company is working to integrate the fingerprint sensor directly on the display too. This means that your smartphone’s display will be able to read and interpret your fingerprints as well.

As always, Apple is not going to officially confirm rumours outside of their annual conference, so we might see the company announce the new tech next year. Until then, we might even see other manufacturers taking the same ‘all-display’ approach. As far as I know, the old Nokia N9 is a good example of such a ‘buttonless’ smartphone (except for the volume physical buttons of course).

Thank you Digitimes for providing us with this information

Siri Can Now Play a Helpful Role in Controlling Your Smart Homes

Apple seems to be focusing on making you upgrade your homes as well as your gadgets this year. After it first announced a release date for the first smart home devices, the company is now focusing on getting their personal assistant, Siri, to help you out inside your smart homes.

What this means is that Apple made Siri compatible with certified products to give you the ability to control appliances via voice commands. This is a good thing given that most if not all manufacturers are now interested in joining the Internet of Things. Why? Well, everything nowadays is made or will be made with a microchip and yes, that includes your fridge, doors, lighting and so on.

Also, if you think Apple is the only one focusing on smart homes, think again! Google just announced it is also working on its own piece of code that will help you control things in your smart homes, having Microsoft and Samsung promoting their own solutions too. In addition, the list of manufacturers is most likely to get bigger by the end of the year, but it will also depend on how comfortable you are with having microchips in your appliances. What we do know is that your toaster will not try to kill you.

If you are interested in purchasing some smart devices to upgrade your home, Lutron Electronics and Insteon are two manufacturers now selling wireless hubs that allow you to control the lighting inside your house. Other manufacturers have also placed their products up for pre-order and are working on other home solutions, so you can now browse and save some cash for future home improvements.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

‘Nerd Power’ Could Soon Be Heating Your Home!

Most things generate waste energy, be it your fridge or even you as a human being. Very few things convert energy to something you want with minimal waste, this is true of computers as well. Computers generate a lot of heat, the more advanced and larger the computer the more heat it generates. This is why Server Farms are housed in giant buildings with cooling systems and air condition pushing the temperature down as to avoid any damage to the servers. Nerdalize, a dutch start-up, however, has a different solution, instead of cooling computers, use computers to warm your house.

Computers are used every day for everything from controlling the traffic lights down your road to checking out the latest tech news at eTeknix. Jerry Van Waardhuizen has a new about how to use these everyday machines to replace another, his aim is to use a small white box containing a computer to replace the large white radiators that typically warm your home.

The small white boxes contain a computer and only requires a fibre optic connection within the home to be installed, once installed the silent running computer inside can do everything from help calculate which genes are related to what illnesses to helping someone find their family member on Facebook.

While Nerdalize admit that the system takes a little longer to heat up on average (taking roughly an hour) and that you may require two in larger rooms the offside is that after the initial set up free the heating it provides is completely free. When the radiator function is turned off the server inside the box continues to operate, but the heat it provides is simply pushed outside.

With the cost being about £290-360 per setup, and requiring a fibre optic connection, the project may not be for everyone. With unlimited heating, no additional carbon footprint from heating water and pushing it through pipes, a lot of people are being attracted to it.

Would you be interested in getting free heating from life by helping someone solve some calculations on the other side of the world? If so check out Nerdalize’s video below,

Thank you BBC for the information.

Image courtesy of Nerdalize.

Tesla’s Home Battery Will Only be Rented to Consumers

Following on from our previous story regarding the two new batteries due to be introduced by Tesla, a new report has come in that these batteries will only be on loan rather than bought outright. The batteries in question are a battery for home and a “very large scale utility battery” for ‘very large scale tasks’.; which will more likely be applied to hospital emergency power or similar.

All this comes from a report from The Guardian, suggesting that the home battery will be loaned on a similar principle to what SolarCity is experimenting with their solar panels; SolarCity is a company with extremely close ties to Tesla and is expected that they will work closely on this project in the future.

The proposed scheme will be laid out by SolarCity; the customers pay an initial fee of $1,500, this covers the installation and providing of a Tesla Battery. From here, this will be followed by monthly installments of $15 for 10 years. On the grand scheme, the battery costs a huge $13,000, which makes it a very favourable investment for the consumer which only has to pay $3,300 for the 10 years of ‘ownership’. The batteries will be reclaimed after the 10 years of use and we are unsure if another battery will then be leased at the new pricing or if the customers will get a returning offer.

The battery will be powerful enough to sustain power to the home’s lighting, refrigerator, internet and many other electrical appliances during a power cut. They can store energy either from on-grid mains supply, or through renewable sources; possibly solar panels may be offered from SolarCity to keep them topped up on sunny days.

Approximately 300 customers have already installed Tesla batteries in their homes; “It’s clean, it’s quiet and it looks good in the garage … if you are a gadget person living a digital life – you have iPhones and computers and you always want to be connected – the storage battery is a dream come true.”

All this and more will be revealed to the world on April 30th at Tesla’s Hawthrone Design Studio by Elon Musk himself.

Thank you to The Verge for providing us with this information

QNAP Turbo Station TS-431 4-Bay SOHO NAS Review

Introduction


I loved what the QNAPs TS-x31 series sports right from the first time that I heard of it. It just sounded like the perfect SOHO device for people who want a lot of features, easy setup, simple maintenance and a reasonable price.

Today I’m taking a closer look at the QNAP TurboNAS TS-431 4-bay Personal Cloud Storage for Home and SOHO users. It features an ARM Cortex A9 1.2GHz dual-core processor that delivers performance enough for multitasking, creating your personal cloud for digital notes, and multimedia streaming via DLNA & AirPlay.

With the TS-431 you can build a private cloud-based notebook and share it with friends and colleagues with Notes Station and Qnotes mobile App. It allows you to easily organize and manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location and synchronize files between computers, laptops, tablets, phones and other devices. You can archive, manage, watch and share your media collections with the dedicated Photo Station, Video Station and Music Station apps as well as enjoy all these moments on the big screen via DLNA and AirPlay streaming.

That is all pretty much default for QNAP devices, just as the 24/7 surveillance center you can create for your home or small office. The CPU in the TS-431 also allows you to transcode videos offline and enjoy smooth video streaming even when your network connection or playback possibilities are restricted.

The Freescale ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU runs at 1.2GHz and gives the NAS a great performance ratio. It can provide transfer speeds up to 110MB/s reading and 80MB/s at writing. Maybe you need to increase your data safety to prevent unauthorized access to the files, well QNAP has that covered too with full NAS volume encryption with speeds of over 30MB/s with AES-256 bit.

The network connectivity on this device is safeguarded with dual Gigabit LAN and support for the latest 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi adapters. It further features three USB 3.0 ports and one eSATA for attaching high-speed external storage. The LAN ports support multiple port-trunking modes, allowing you to set up link aggregation to increase data transmission capabilities, as well as failover and dual IP for continuous system operation. The supported port-trunking modes include: Balance-rr (Round-Robin), Active Backup, Balance XOR, Broadcast, IEEE 802.3ad, Balance-tlb (Adaptive Transmit Load Balancing) and Balance-alb (Adaptive Load Balancing).

QNAPs operating system is better than ever and it keeps improving. The ‘intelligent’ desktop allows you to find the desired functions quickly and it allows you to create shortcuts of your choice for even quicker access. You can monitor the NAS’ vitals, install new function or change in your user setup with just a few clicks. Automated backup function can be set to kick in as soon as recognized devices are connected, creating backups to and from your drives and NAS, this includes rsync, QNAP’s NetBack Replicator and works equally well with Windows and Mac OS X Time Machine systems.

The new myQNAPcloud allows you to setup your NAS even easier and quicker than before. Just connect and power on the NAS and go to the URL from the sticker either manually or by scanning the QR-Code. Enter the key (partially whitened in the above image) and you’ll have your NAS setup in a couple of minutes, ready to use. Thumbs up to QNAP, the system works like a charm. You will of course need a network where the NAS gets it IP automatically and an internet connection. Don’t worry if you don’t, the old-fashioned way to initialize it works just as well as it always has.

The cross-platform file-sharing covers all sides with SMB/CIFS, NFS, and AFP protocols for sharing across Windows, Mac and Linux/UNIX. Data, logs and ISO image of CDs and DVDs can be centrally stored in the TS-431 and protected by an integrated antivirus solution. You can even manage your files via the internet by use of the File Station. It brings conventional desktop styled file operation to web browsers, allowing you to easily upload, download and manage your files no matter where you are, as long as you got a connection via LAN or the internet. It even supports file extraction, smart search as well as sharing specific files with friends and family via unique URLs.

One of the key aspects of this device is the capabilities for your private cloud. I’ve mentioned some functions above, but most of all it gives you a lot more space without a monthly cost. It also eliminates security concerns you might have by using public cloud services. The TS-431 is ready to establish a secure and large-capacity private cloud just for you and the myQNAPcloud service allows remote access without any tricky setups and router configurations.

Tesla’s Model S Sets New Sales Record, New Product to be Revealed at the end of April

Tesla Motors has just announced that it had sold 10,030 cars during the first quarter of this year, a figure that actually shows cars that end up in customers’ hands. The figure has helped the company achieve a new quarterly record, having it be a 55% increase compared to the first quarter of 2014.

Besides the sales record, Tesla’s Elon Musk has also announced that the company will reveal a new product at the end of April, but it won’t be a new car. Given that Tesla has recently released the home battery kit “that can harness solar energy, power the house, and even send energy back to the grid”, the new product might be something in the same range of appliances.

Tesla has been keeping itself busy lately, displaying a true passion and devotion for its products. This in turn seems to have led to an increase of fans and a rise in customers, but it looks like this is just the beginning for the company. What do you think Tesla will be revealing at the end of the month?

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information

Amazon Home Services Now Available in Major US Cities

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Amazon’s new Home Services options are now available in the US to “major” cities in 41 states. The service lets customers shop for professional services locally from Amazon in categories from tech support to home maintenance.

Amazon rolled out the brand new Home Services, where customers can purchase anything from appliance repair to goats to graze a field. The services are hand-picked professionals by Amazon and offer up front pricing. The job is only paid for when it is done so customer satisfaction should be high and the likelihood of contractors cutting corners will be low. The amount of services offered will vary greatly from city to city, with the largest cities likely having a lot more options than smaller ones.

Source: Engadget

Musk: New Tesla Product Line to Be Unveiled on April 30th

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla took to Twitter today to say that the car company will be unveiling its new product line. The new product line will not be a car and will unveil the new line at its Hawthorne Design Studio on Thursday April 30th, at 8pm.

That is all that was offered as a teaser, and it has many wondering if this means that it will be showing the new stationary battery pack that is designed to power an entire home. Last month Musk said that Tesla was nearing the launch of that product so this is very likely what it will end up being. Though as The Verge stated “But this is Tesla and Elon Musk we’re talking about, so the chance of a different, unforeseen surprise is always there”, something that is very true.

Source: The Verge

Ikea Planning to Sell Wireless Charging Lamps and Tables

We live in an era where our smartphone and/or tablet battery is one of our top priority for the day. Often we forget to plug them into a charger while at home or at the office, only to notice we can barely unlock them to see a notification once we are outside.

Ikea seems to have been thinking about the same problem and appears to have a rather high-tech solution, offering its customers a range of lamps and tables that come with wireless charging technology. Floor, table and work lamps are just a few of what Ikea offers in terms of lighting solution, along with a pair of bedside tables that come with individual pads which would add more charging locations to homes.

It seems that the furniture supports the Qi wireless standard, which is the leader in the wireless charging standard around the world. Since one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers which sell their handsets with built-in Qi wireless charging technology is Microsoft and its Lumia series, Ikea is also offering to sell charging covers for Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S handsets in order to use them with its furniture.

Ikea is said to start selling the furniture in the US and UK in mid April, having a starting price of around £40 in the UK. Pricing in the US is still to be confirmed.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Tesla is Working on a Battery For Your Home

Tesla is working on a battery to power people’s homes. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, announced the development of such a product during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. Musk said that the battery will enable people to live ‘off grid’, allowing people to power their own homes without using energy from utility companies.

Musk revealed the project during Tesla’s earnings call and said that the batteries will based on the same lithium-ion technology used in their car batteries. He also said that development of the batteries is finished and that they would start producing them for sale in 6 months.

Despite this news being a relatively small tidbit of Tesla’s earnings call, it’s actually quite significant. If Tesla’s success with its cars is anything to go by, a product like this could significantly shape the future of home energy, allowing people break away from utility companies.

Of course, we’ll have to see whether it really works first, but it certainly is an exciting prospect.

Source: OffGridQuest

Portable USB Wall Charger Roundup

Introduction


Quite often you’ll find yourself traveling to another city, state or country and be met with the all-too-common sinking feeling when presented with your hotel room power point options – only one or two annoyingly placed ports. If you’re like me, not only have you forgotten a power board, but you’ve got multiple devices to charge via USB ports. Furthermore, if you’re heading on a holiday or business trip – it’s likely that you’re carrying a myriad of battery-powered devices: a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and GoPro being just the beginning of a very long list.

Being left with your standard issue 1-port USB smartphone charger won’t do you much justice, pulling out your bulky laptop isn’t always the best solution due to them being heavy and slow to charge – this is where USB power hubs come into their element. They’re also suitable for a home environment, offering between two and five handy USB ports to charge your devices overnight or while you’re sitting on the couch.

Thankfully for us, we’ve had a couple of wall USB chargers provided to us for testing. Read on for a quick round-up on these life-saving devices and what conditions we think they suit best.

The full list of products in this roundup and their pricing is as follows: