SilverPush is Actually Legal?!

Earlier this week we reported that the FTC was warning people about apps that used the SilverPush framework. The reason was that the FTC believed users should be aware that SilverPush automatically collected and sent the data on to third parties, without any notification. SilverPush has now responded and is looking to put this warning behind them.

The feature that was causing issues with the FTC was the “unique audio beacons” (UAB) system, which could identify sounds, both audible and those you can’t even hear, to detect what shows you were watching on your TV and even if you were on a laptop in the same room.

In their statement, SilverPush has responded by stating the UAB system is no longer used in their framework and that they don’t have any active partnerships with US-based developers. While this may be true, there is no way to prove it as the product still features as one of their core products and is even advertised under the cross device platform.

Even amongst all of this news, it would seem that the SilverPush framework and everything it does is actually legal, something that may surprise people, and not in a good way. Do you feel comfortable knowing that the only reason the FTC had an issue was that you weren’t being told the app could use your microphone or is the entire premise of spying on everything you do through your microphone a little too creepy to handle?

Say Hello to the Headphones That Know Who You Are

We’ve all heard that we need to improve our security. Remember your password? Are you absolutely certain you remember every single password you need to remember? How about your fingerprint? Sure someone can’t use playdough to trick your fingerprint sensor? What about headphones that know who you are?

While this may sound stupid the science behind the idea is sound. Every ear is unique, very much the same way we have unique fingerprints or eyes. By using the way sound resonated within your ear canal, the headphones create a unique sound, something that can be measured and compared.

Reported to have 99% accuracy and only taking a second to do the measurements needed, listening to all that music may actually help you unlock your phone. The system is praised by the general manager of NEC saying that as it doesn’t “require particular actions such as scanning a part of the body over an authentication device” it would enable “a natural way of conducting continuous authentication”.

This solution may be a few years out though with the company behind it, NEC, saying that they are looking to commercialize the system for the 2018 fiscal year. So looking forward to listening to music while you bank? Take your headphones out to talk to someone and your phone will start to doubt if you truly are who you say you are.

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.

Antec Smartbean Bluetooth Receiver Review

Introduction


We love reviewing big, expensive and high-end hardware, but sometimes, it’s nice to stop and appreciate the smaller things in the technology world. Today, we’re reviewing the tiny Antec Smartbean, a humble connectivity device that will allow you to pair up a Bluetooth compatible device, with any 3.5mm jack input, such as those found on your PC, speakers, in your car, your headphones and many other devices.

“The SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver by Antec Mobile Products [AMP] makes almost any device Bluetooth ready. Designed to free you from wires and tangled cables, the SmartBean is an ultra lightweight Bluetooth Receiver with Built In Microphone that provides Bluetooth connectivity at the touch of a button. The SmartBean’s 3.5mm standard audio jack is compatible with most headphones, speakers, home stereo systems and automotive auxiliary inputs (using the included connector). Simply plug in the SmartBean, pair it to your favorite Bluetooth Device, and in an instant you’ll have hands free music and calls. Perfect for cars, computers, or any other device you want to make Bluetooth Ready.”

While not the most exciting sound device ever, it does have a lot of potential. For example, my car has a line-in, but it doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth and this is a much cheaper, plug-and-play ready solution to add that functionality to it, without replacing the entire stereo system.

  • Charging Time : 2.5 hours (DC 5V)
  • Standby Time : 130 hours
  • Talk time : 6 hours

A neat and tidy box, giving us a sneaky peak at the device.

Around the back we can see it’s Bluetooth 3.0 compatible, has a range of 10m, a 130 standby time and 6 hours worth of talk time, impressive!

In the box, you’ll find the Smartbean, a male to male 3.5mm jack cable and a microUSB cable for charging the device.

It’s a very simple, yet functional design. All the major controls are on the top for skipping through songs, adjusting volume, play pause, which will also work for answering and ending phone calls. On the bottom edge, you’ll find the microUSB charging port.

On the right side, you’ll find a pin hole microphone and the 3.5mm output.

As I said before, the Smarbean is a tiny device, small enough that you could wear it clipped onto your shirt if you really needed to.

There’s even a handy clip on the back to help you mount it where you need it most.

The jack plug is very study, so you could easily keep the controller within reach of the jack-plug; this is especially handy if you’re mounting it in the car, or on the front of your computer.

Razer Launches Seiren Pro Digital Microphone with XLR Recording

Razer launched a new microphone aimed at users that do their own live streams and youtube videos, the new Seirēn Pro Digital Microphone with both analog XLR and digital USB connection. The XLR cable allows it to be plugged directly into mixing boards and cameras and users can chain together multiple microphones and instruments to the board with this XLR option for increased flexibility.

“With the success of YouTube, Twitch and the likes, there is a greater demand for high-fidelity recording equipment than ever before,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “Our second condenser microphone, the Razer Seirēn Pro, delivers what video game streamers are looking for and provides great value to YouTubers, musicians and anyone looking to capture sound clearly.”

If you wish to complete your setup, you can get optional accessories such as a shock mount and pop filter are also available to pair with the new microphone. It has four adjustable recording patterns, Cardioid, Stereo, Omni, and Bi-directional. The quick controls for pattern switching, headphone volume, and mic gain are conveniently placed and the built-in headphone amplifier should provide a zero latency output.

 

The microphone as a 24 bit, 192 kHz sample rate, three 14mm condenser capsules and a frequency response from 20Hz to 20KHz. The sensitivity is rated to 12.5mV/Pa and it has a max SPL of 120dB. The headphone amplifier supports up to 16 ohms at a power output of 130mW and a frequency response of 15Hz to 22kHz.

Razer’s new Seirēn Pro microphone won’t come cheap, but it does pack some nice features. The MSRP is set to $249.99 in the US and €299.99 in Europe. The shock mount and pop filter will each cost you an additional $49.99/€49.99 or you can buy it all in a complete bundle for $299.99 or €349.99. Availability is set for sometime this month and pre-orders can already be placed at Razerzone.com.

Fear the Wind No More with These Windscreens for Your Smartphone

For a while now, smartphones have had built-in software that eliminates background noise caught by the microphone, but the one thing it hasn’t fully tackled is wind. Which is why we still see foam covers over most microphones on big headsets used at outdoor events. Ever think that would be great to have for your phone? Now you can thanks to Windblockers.

Designed to gently clamp onto the edge of a smartphone, or a tablet if you must, it will prevent wind, “weather” it’s a gust or constant breeze, from overpowering your voice, and making sure your important words get heard. Being so small and easily removed, this is a nifty addition when you need it most.

Only recently revealed at Mobile World Congress, they don’t have a price yet, but hopes are that they won’t cost much.

Source: Gizmodo

TRENDnet Announced WiFi HD Baby Cam

There is no doubt that the most valuable thing we have in this world is our children, they are our future as we know. And to keep an extra and easy eye on them, TRENDnet has created the WiFi HD Baby Cam that allows you not only wireless and internet based monitoring, but also to send sound or voice back trough the built-in speaker.

The WiFi HD Baby Cam can be universally placed on either a wall or tabletop. It can record up to 2.5 days continues video onto an added 32GB memory card while it also allows you to save your recorded video onto a connected NAS device for nearly unlimited recording time. The 720p camera comes with night vision to provide you with the video feed of your loved ones no matter how much light there might be.

It further has built-in motion detector to trigger recording, 5 pre-recorded classical music tracks to sooth your toddler, and a built-in thermometer to monitor the room temperature.

“The 720p HD TV-IP745SIC is easy to install and packed full of features,” stated Zak Wood, TRENDnet director of global marketing. “Users will also be excited about the ability to save video to a MircoSD card or NAS device without having to pay a monthly recording fee.”

The TRENDnet TV-IP745SIC WiFi Baby Cam comes backed by a 3-year warranty and should be available now for an MSRP of $139.99.

Thanks to TRENDnet for providing us with this information

Image and video courtesy of TRENDnet

Shogun Bros Ensense Commander Series Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Today is a good day in the office, Shogun Bros are one of the newest players in the peripherals market and they’re back again with their second feature review here at eTeknix. When I reviewed their Ballista MK1 gaming mouse it proved that the company knows how to make a great peripheral without the need for a crazy budget, it was packed full of features, had great build quality, really nice aesthetics and competitive performance. Now they’re launching their first headset and if it is half as good as their gaming mouse, then we should be in for a real treat today.

The Ensense is the latest headset on the market to feature vibration drivers to give the sound some extra thump. Targeted right at the heart of the gaming market the Ensense is said to be perfect for everything from enjoying your games at home to competitive eSports. All the usual bells and whistles you would expect from a premium headset are included, such as a high-quality microphone, Virtual 7.1 surround, configurable sound and a whole lot more, so lets get stuck right in and see what the Ensense has to offer!

50MM Extra Large Pro Audio Driver

  • Superior Neodymium Magnet
  • Professional Tuned Crystal Clear Voice
  • Tuned Monitor Level Sound Precision
  • Optimized Sound Boost Logiv Chips

Ergonomic Design

  • Ultra Thick PU Leather Ear Cushion
  • Ultra Thick PU Leather Head Cushion
  • Customizable Head Size Fitting

Powerful Remote Control

  • Backlit Control In Darkness
  • Mute, Microphone, Volume and Ensense Control

Tough Military Spec

  • Anti-interference – Best stable and fast
  • Signal (USB Magnet)
  • Tough – Military Fabric Cable
  • Cable Management Band

Extreme Cool Outlook

  • Futuristic Design
  • Backlit Logo
  • One Body Design
  • Vacuum Electroplating

Magic Voice

  • Change your voice to male, female and even dinosaur and small creatures

The packaging is nicely designed, lots of bright colours, specifications dotted around the box and a side window to give us a sneaky peak at the actual headset.

Around the back we have a more detailed run down of the features and specification.

In the box you’ll find the hard wired headset, a quick start guide and a driver CD.

Tt eSPORTS Sybaris Wired & Wireless Bluetooth NFC Enabled Headset Review

Introduction


Tt eSPORTS are a powerful force in the gaming market these days, they’ve got a wide range of gaming peripherals that have won countless awards for them around the world, and a fair few of them came from us here at eTeknix. Their gaming keyboards and mice are some of the best in the business, and in recent years they’ve also been creating so absolutely stunning gaming headsets too. So when I heard that they had a new Tt eSPORTS gaming headset to review, I was very happy indeed and the Sybaris certainly sounds like a headset worthy of excitement. Not only does it operate on your desktop via a wired connection, but you can also pair it via NFC / Bluetooth to your mobile device, perfect for when you need to get up from your desk and actually venture out into the server known as “outside”.

A lot of headsets are now dual function, as very few people like the idea of having to spend money on two premium headsets, one for desktop and one for mobile use. Especially when the difference is usually nothing more than the cable that connects them. Buying a multi-format headset is a great way of saving money, but also getting more value from the product, so it will be interesting to see how the Sybaris performs in both wireless and wired applications. With a price tag of around £80 it is far from cheap and for this price range I’ll be expecting excellent performance and build quality, as well as a decent range of features to compete with other similarly priced headsets such as the Astro A30 and MadCatz FREQM.

As you can see from the specifications below, the Sybaris features two high quality 40mm drivers, a bi-directional microphone, APTX lossless streaming, Bluetooth 4.0 and a good quality rechargeable battery.

The packaging is nicely designed with a clear image of the headset and the microphone on the front, as well as a quick run down of the major features.

Around the back we have a more detailed breakdown of the specifications, but of course we’ll take a closer look at the features in just a moment.

The slip cover comes off to reveal a presentation box, inside which you’ll find a very nicely packed headset with protective film on all the sensitive glossy areas.

Behind the headset was a nice collection of accessories; a protective pouch, mobile / mp3 cable, in line controller and PC cable, detachable boom microphone and a micro USB recharging cable.

CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphones Review

Introduction


It was just 6 months ago that we reviewed an in-ear CM Storm gaming headset and while I loved the build quality, style and microphone performance, I couldn’t help but notice that bass was seriously lacking on the drivers. Now this isn’t really a bad thing, the headset was targeted right at the LAN gaming and eSports loving crowd and it’s no secret that clear treble and minimal bass can provide tangible benefits in competitive FPS gaming, since it allows you to better hear the footsteps of your opponents. Unfortunately for CM Storm I expect a little more from my audio devices and since I like to listen to music as much as I love gaming, good all round performance is a must.

CM Storm know they can do even better, which is why they’ve gone back to the drawing board and created the Resonar in-ear gaming earphones, not only do they promise more bass than before, but they also promise an innovative new feature to help you fine tune how much bass you get; well take a closer look at how this works in just a moment.

As you can see from the specifications we have powerful 20 Ohm 8mm drivers, a 1.3m cable, 3.5mm jack and an omni-directional microphone. All relatively straight forward stuff, so lets move on and see what else you get for your money.

The packaging is nicely designed with a few major features detailed on the front and a stylish image of the headphones.

Around the back you’ll find a detailed run down of all the bits you get in the box, as well as the full specifications (see above).

The packaging folds out to give a sneaky view of the headphones, as well as a run down of the BassFX technology.

In the box you’ll find a quick start guide, some spare ear-buds, a 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole adaptor, a protective carry case and of course, the headset.

First Intel Core i3 Powered Chromebook Launched by Acer

Acer has just announced its release of the first 4th Generation Intel Core i3 CPU-powered chromebook, having it be the first company to release a chromebook device with similar performance ratios. The company has stated that the Acer C720, powered by the latter processor, is available in two models in order to provide customers with even faster and more responsive performance in multi-tasking workflows, while also providing a long battery life of up to 8.5 hours.

“Acer has been a leader in the Chromebook space and the new C720 based on 4th generation Intel Core i3 processors marks a new class of Chromebook with enhanced performance and battery life,” said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platforms Group. “As one of the most powerful Chromebooks on the market, the additional performance of Core i3 enables an extremely responsive experience while surfing multiple tabs of web pages. Students, families and business users will recognize the difference in how snappy the new Acer C720 is with Intel Core i3.”

The chromebooks are said to be ideal for families and students, as well as anyone requiring a simple and secure computer to work with. Having the devices running on Chrome OS, updates are said to roll in regularly, this making the latest features available right away to customers, including various layers of security such as data encryption and verified boot.

In terms of specs, both C720 models are said to have a 11.6-inch ComfyView HD screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, providing a clear and enjoyable image quality. The 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi antenna along with the integrated HD webcam and microphone are said to provide the best quality for video calls and connectivity features. Breaking the series down, the first C720-3404 model is said to boast Intel’s Core i3 Processor, 4 GB of memory and will be priced at $379.99.

The second one, the C720-3871, is said to boast the same Intel Core i3 CPU, while providing less memory, having it come with only 2 GB. However, while the specs are a bit low, the price is set to match it, having the tag set at $349.99. The latter chromebooks are currently available in North America, having other regions receiving the chromebooks later on.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Aerocool Launches DS 200 Midi Tower With Special Insulation and Built-In Fan Controller

Aerocool has launched a new addition to its Dead Silence chassis series, the DS 200, sporting a variety of features, such as having both side-panels equipped with special insulation mats in order to reduce the noise inside the PC. In addition to the latter, the DS 200 also features an integrated fan controller as well as 0.8 mm SECC material.

The company distinguishes the DS series from the rest of the products by granting a variety of color options, having the DS 200 coming in six colors: classy black, black/white, red, orange, blue and green. It is said that all chassis options equipped with a special top-cover which can be removed and replaced by a mesh-style cover in order to boost the airflow capacity. Aerocool even offers an optional side panel window for customers who would like to show off their build.

The built-in fan controller is another interesting feature, having it be located on the topside of the chassis. It is said to support a total of 25W shared by three channels, having the fans be controlled simultaneously. The fan controller is said to have three speed options, namely low, medium and high, while also boasting the capability of stopping a fan channel when needed. The temperature is said to be displayed on the large round display, having to choose from seven color options for the display illumination. Lastly, the I/O panel is said to feature two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and HD audio and a microphone connector.

On the inside, the DS 200 is said to have enough space for even the latest hardware components, a tool-free rack for both optical and disk drives and support for the ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ATX. The company states that up to five 3.5″ HDDs or seven 2.5″ HDDs/SSDs can be mounted inside the case, as well as VGA cards with a length of up to 29 cm (41 cm if removing the center 3.5″ cage). When it comes to cooling, the DS 200 is said to offer support for both air and water cooling solutions, having room for big CPU cooler with a length of 17 cm as well as several pass-through openings with rubber protection located in the mainboard tray. Aerocool states that 240 or 280 mm water-cooling solutions can be mounted in the front or the top of the DS 200, having enough room for even a PSU of 22 cm in length.

In terms of noise output, the DS 200 is said to have both side panels insulated with mats, while having all the 2.5″ and 3.5″ bays as well as the PSU equipped with anti-vibration shock-proof rubber. In addition to the latter, two silent case fans are pre-equipped and ready to provide steady airflow out of the box. Aerocool has stated to also introduce the “Lite Edition” option, which includes the DS 200 with standard non-insulated side panels and comes without the center 3.5″ cage and auto-eject front-panel.

When it comes to prices, Aerocool is said to offer the entry-level DS 200 Lite Black Edition at a price of $120.90, the Black Edition at $158.90, while the Red, Orange, Black/White, Blue and Green Editions are said to all come at the same $163.90 price tag. Additionally, the DS 200 Window Panels are said to be sold separately, having a price tag of $13.00.

Images courtesy of Aerocool

Mionix Nash 20 Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Today I get to take a look at the latest headset from premium gaming peripheral manufacturer Mionix, the Nash 20. Mionix aren’t the biggest name in the industry for peripherals, but their reputation is incredible, anyone I know who has tried their products has been immediately converted to a fan of the brand, and that’s simply due to their attention to quality and performance, creating products suitable for the enthusiast PC user, without charging the kind of money often associated with that level of quality. Unfortunately for Mionix, their reputation is a tough one to live up to, with each new product I see from this brand I expect the same unwavering attention to detail, so I’m hoping to see something pretty special from the Nash 20 today.

The Nash 20 is priced at a little over £100, so it’s obviously a premium price product, and at this price range you’re obviously going to want to see a good return on your investment in terms of build quality, features and of course performance. As you can see from the quote below, Mionix takes their products pretty seriously so it will be interesting to see if it lives up to both their own standards and mine.

“The NASH 20 is circumaural analog stereo gaming headset, engineered with our three most important values: Design, Sound and Comfort. The fully adjustable ear cups and memory foam cushions are made for long comfortable gaming sessions. The flip-up-to-mute microphone and on-ear cup volume control allows you simply access the mute or volume functions. The NASH 20 is developed with a unique audio filtered semi closed back acoustic chamber which is optimized especially by Mionix for our own developed angled 50 mm DACT drivers to enable exceptional sound reproduction and precision. The sound is as the perfect mix of mid and high precise crystal clear audiophile tones for the most demanding music lover. High-lighted low, mid and high frequencies for accurate in-game positioning with a deep balanced bass for you to be able to experience the most out of your music, gaming or multimedia.”

I’m also a fan of this quote on the Mionix website of how the headset got its name, most often I find products have a made up name that just sounds cool, but it’s nice to see a brand putting a little more thought into the name rather than just a product number like NX20.

“The NASH is named after the third largest star in the Sagittarius zodiac constellation. The meaning of NASH, according to Arabic mythology is an Arrowhead, which is a suitable name for a top class gaming headset with superior precision and sharp sound.” reads the Mionix website.

The spec sheet for the Nash 20 headset is impressive, mixing powerful 32Ω 50mm drivers, thick leather and foam padding, a high quality microphone and more, so let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what the Nash 20 has to offer then put them to the test.

Headset Specifications

  • Headset Type: Analog Stereo Headset
  • Type of earcup: Semi-closed back circumaural
  • Audio connection: 3.5mm gold plated connector
  • Mic connection: 3.5mm gold plated connector
  • Ear pads: 22mm Memory foam wrapped in leather
  • Head band: 18mm Memory foam wrapped in leather
  • Cable: 2 m braided cable
  • Volume control: Scroll wheel on left ear cup

Driver Specifications

  • Driver type: Dynamic, 50 mm, Nd magnet
  • Impedance: 32Ω ± 15% at 20kHz
  • Sound pressure level: 103dB
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
  • Resonance Frequency: ≥ 100Hz
  • Input power: Nominal 40mW Max. 80mW
  • THD: Less than 2%. at 1K Hz Less than 5%, at 300Hz to 3KHz

Microphone Specifications

  • Microphone direction: Uni-direction
  • Microphone mute: Flip up to mute
  • Pick-up pattern: Uni-direction
  • Sensitivity: (@1kHz, 1 V/Pa): -42 ±3db
  • Frequency response: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Signal to Noise: 58 dB
  • Microphone dimensions: 6mm

I spoke with Mionix earlier this year at CES 2014 where they were keen to point out their own driver design. Unhappy with “off the shelve” components, they decided the only way to get the sound they were after was to do it the hard way. This extra development is likely reflected in the premium price tag, but I’m betting they didn’t go through all this trouble for nothing.

“Our own developed 50 mm neodymium DACT drivers with optimized frequency response ratio for gaming, music and multimedia usage” say Mionix on their product page.

The packaging is neat and tidy, a clean design with just the product name and a nice quality image on the front.

Around the back you’ll find the technical specifications (see above) as well as a labelled image which details some of the major features and function, but we’ll take a close look at those in a moment.

The headset is neatly packed with plenty of protection around it to keep it safe in transit.

In the box you’ll find a user guide, sticker and of course the headset; which comes hard-wired with a very long, high quality braided cable.

Tritton Kama PlayStation 4 / Vita Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Time after time I have been blown away by the high quality headsets that come from the Mad Catz camp. They’ve got several great ranges to their name such as Tritton, Cyborg and their own branded stuff, but no matter which I’ve tested, I’ve always come away smiling. Their headsets range from the spectacular 7.1 Warhead, which will set you back around £250! To the award-winning mid-ranges such as the 720+ for a little over £100, all the way down to the model we’ll be taking a look at today, the Tritton Kama.

The Kama is the budget end of the Tritton range and it’s a tempting bargain at a mere £20. A lot of retailers sell it closer to £30, but you don’t have to be a genius to know how to use Google Shopping search and grab yourself a better deal. What I want to find out today is just how much of the high quality and performance that we’ve come to know and love from the brand has been lost (if any) from the focus on affordability. Based around their popular Kunai series of headsets the Kama should have a strong head start, especially given we’ve reviewed no less than three different models of the Kunai and all of them have been award winners.

At the budget end of the range we’re not expecting record-breaking performance from the Kama, but Mad Catz have surprised us before with their budget friendly models and it certainly would be nice to see something similar happen today. As you can see from the specifications below we have a decent length cable, 40mm drivers and a standard 3.5mm connector (4-pole). So let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what else the Kama have to offer.

  • Cable Length: 3.3ft/1m
  • Speaker Diameter: 40mm
  • Ear Coupling: Supra-aural (On-ear)
  • Magnet Type: Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <1%
  • Resistance: 16 ohms
  • Audio Input Type: 3.5mm Connector

The packaging features a nice clear image of the headset on the front, detailing the support for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Around the back we have a few details about the specifications (see above) as well as some information about the in-line controller, but of course we’ll be taking a closer look at that in a moment.

The only thing you’ll find in the box is the headset, which comes hard-wired. Obviously you don’t need anything else and extras will no doubt have been avoided to keep costs down.

Titanfall Edition Atlas Headset Announced By Turtle Beach

While the upcoming shooter title from EA, Titanfall, is around the corner, it is bound for manufacturers to release editions for the most anticipated games. This si the case for Turtle Beach, where the manufacturer will introduce its Titalfall edition of Atlas headset.

The Titanfall Edition Altis headset is said t be a high-end gaming headset, which the company will release at the same time as the Titalfall game, though the date will coincide with the release date from North America, therefore potential buyers will still have to wait for the game to launch in their country to be able to use it for the actual game itself (you might plan on listening to some music with it to pass the time though).

The Atlas headset style and design is made to reflect the elements in the Titanfall game, having a futuristic design and a combination of muted grey with bright blue and a drop of red to create a more “I want to buy this!” attitude for dedicated gamers.

Turtle Beach states that the headset is made to be compatible with all platforms on which EA’s title will be launched on, namely the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, as well as mobile platforms. It is said to offer you a stereo audio from its twin, full-range 50 mm speakers, having a built-in amplifier to help you get the kick out of it. Though, it is highly recommended to use it at an acceptable volume so as not to damage your hearing over time.

The headset will also feature game and chat volume controls for a better integration with the dedicated game for which it is initially made, coming also with comfortable earcups which are designed to give the user a comfortable wear for hours of continuous gameplay. Other features consist of a detachable microphone and a built-in bass boost.

Turtle Beach’s Titalfall Atlas headset is stated to be released on March 11th, that is the Titanfall game’s release date as well if you did not know that until now, and will be seen on retailers’ shelves at a price tag of £139,99.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of KitGuru

No Privacy For Chrome Thanks To Speech Recognition Hack

An expert in speech recognition states that Google Chrome users are exposed to various attacks and malware infections that can hijack the computer’s microphone. With this, all conversations in the room can be recorded for extended periods of time.

In order to gain access to the microphone however, users need to click a button to accept and give access to the microphone. Chrome usually notifies the user with a blinking red light in the browser tab and displays a camera icon in the address bar to indicate the given permission(s). As a normal behaviour, once the tab is closed, it should stop recording and drop permissions for any devices used. However, it will do the exact opposite.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5D578JmHdU[/youtube]

As shown in the video above, Google Chrome can be used as the perfect tool for spying on anybody using the speech recognition on “shady” websites and afterwards closing the tab window. There will be no indication whatsoever about the recording feature still being enabled, and your privacy will be non-existent as long as you are still operating the browser. Israeli researcher Tal Ater said, the audio is sent to Google for analysis before being sent to the site that made the request. Once permission has been granted, Chrome can be programmed to begin recording only after certain keywords—say, “Iran” or “National Security Agency” are spoken.

“As long as Chrome is running, the transcripts of anything that is said next to your computer can be recorded by the malicious site—your private phone conversations, meetings, anything within earshot of your computer is compromised,” Ater wrote in an e-mail. “This is a unique vulnerability, as it essentially turns Chrome into an espionage tool with consequences on the physical world.”

Ater has notified Google about the security issue in September, though not even today has the bug been fixed. He wrote to Google once again in November in an attempt to find out what is taking so long to release a patch for the security breach. Their latest statement on the matter was as following:

“The security of our users is a top priority, and this feature was designed with security and privacy in mind. We’ve re-investigated and still believe there is no immediate threat, since a user must first enable speech recognition for each site that requests it. The feature is in compliance with the current W3C standard, and we continue to work on improvements.”

From the statement given, in my opinion, Google displays a lack of interest in patching their security issues, overriding their continuous statements of focusing primarily on user privacy and security. Although it corresponds to the current W3C standards, Google should also consider intermediate and novice users, who most certainly don’t even know how a browser works. If Google was to focus on user privacy, patches and fixes for every security risk should have been issued with the highest priority, even for the low risk glitches and bugs such as this one.

Thank you arstechnica for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of arstechnica

Browser Google On Your Desktop With A Simple “Okay, Google!” Command

Google has released an extension which brings the automatic voice search mobile feature to the desktop. It is triggered whenever you say the key phrase “Okay, Google.” The company also referenced it being available on Google+ for US English users.

Other previous speech software used were available for web the web, but the user has to click a button in order to have the browser listen to the input command. With the new extension, so long as you have the extension installed, you should be able to trigger the command anywhere just by saying “Okay, Google” in any opened tab.

However every software has its limitations, and in this case a Google search page has to be the active tab in order for the extension to work. Users are able to tell if the function is active or not just by looking at the microphone icon, which should be filled in order to display its available for use. The feature is said to be available in any search results screen as well, providing you don’t navigate away from it.

Reviews mark the recognition software as pretty accurate and it can even provide spoken results for measurements and currency conversions. You can download the software from the Chrome Web Store, found under the name Google Search.

Thank you Techcrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Techcrunch

Researchers Found A Way To Use The Smartphone Camera To Figure Out PINs

It appears that researchers have found a way to figure out what personal identification number someone is typing into their smartphone by using the device’s built-in cameras and microphones to secretly record them. Security researchers at the University of Cambridge detailed how they exploited the smartphone’s camera and microphone to detect PINs and gave some suggestions for making this type of hack more difficult.

First, the microphone detects that a person is entering a PIN. On many apps, the device will vibrate each time a number is tapped. That vibration creates a sound that is picked up by the microphone, which lets the malware know that a “touch event” is happening. In this case it is the entering of a secret PIN. Then the camera takes over.

The camera isn’t looking for reflections in your eyes or triangulating what numbers you’re looking at while typing in the code. The researchers use the camera to detect the orientation of the phone and determine where the user’s finger is on the screen. On-screen keypads typically display number in a standard order, so if the program can tell where a finger is tapping on the screen based on how the person is holding it, it can deduce what number is there.

This type of malware doesn’t exist in the wild just yet. The PIN Skimmer program was created by Cambridge’s Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon. The idea is to identify potential security holes before they can be exploited by criminals. In tests, the PIN Skimmer had a 30% success rate detecting four-digit PINs after monitoring a few attempts, and that number went up after it grabbed information over five tries.

In their example, researchers assume people are holding their phones with one hand and typing in numbers with their thumb. The malware captures some photos and a few seconds of video and uploads them to a remote server, evading detection by hiding any data usage charges by possibly waiting for the phone to have a WiFi connection. Depending on the phone, it could take some additional precautions like disabling any LED light that would let a person know their smartphone camera was recording. The researchers tested the program on the Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus Android phones.

Security researchers have warned that criminals could use other phone sensors like the accelerometer and gyroscope to puzzle out what someone is typing. It looks like the predictions are becoming facts and that nothings is as secure as it seems.

Thank you CNN for providing us with this inforamtion

TteSports Level 10M PC Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Today we have something very special in the eTeknix office, the much anticipated and hyped Level 10 M headset from TteSports. This is special headset in many ways, not only because it is one of the flapship models for TteSports, but that it was also designed as part of Thermaltakes collaboration with BMW DesignworksUSA. Those of you who keep an eye on this sort of thing will know that this isn’t the first BMW / Thermaltake product to hit the market, the first being the Level 10M Mouse last year.

TteSports are at the top of their game right now, their gaming peripherals are winning awards around the world and they’ve won a nice handful of them from us here at eTeknix for their great performance and competitive pricing. They’re still busy supporting eSports and LAN gaming and their own gaming teams are doing well too. Exclusive products such as the Level 10M range are just another feather in their cap.

“The Level 10 M gaming headset is the next iteration of the Thermaltake collaboration with BMW DesignworksUSA, maintaining the tradition of iconic design found in the products before it. Employing elements of open spaced architecture and geometric modularity, the Level 10 M headset is a beautiful merger of form and function: designed to meet the stringent demands gamers’ have in a headset, without looking out of place for everyday use. The headset comes with a set of PC gaming cables as well as mobile headset cable.” – TteSports

The headset its self packs some nice specifications, the model we are looking at today is the Diamond Black edition, although it is also available in white. Connectivity is provided by 3.5mm and USB, which can go to both mobile or PC. 40mm drivers, 3.0 meter cable, in-line controller and noise cancelling technology to name but a few. So enough of the specifications, lets take a closer look at what the Level 10M has to offer.

The box is really nicely designed, featuring plenty of images of the headset on the exterior.

Around the back and the side of the box we have a quick run down of some of the major features, these include the aluminium base construction, microphone design and the bilateral USB connectivity.

Under the slip cover we find a presentation box with headset logo in the centre and a small red fabric pull tab.

The box folds out to display a small components box at the front with the headset behind it.

The top tray lifts out fairly easily, behind which we get our first proper look at the headset, so far everything is looking pretty good.

In the small component box and behind the headset we found a few extras. This includes a headset to dual 3-pole 3.5mm jack plug cable and a headset to 4-pole single 3.5mm cable, as well as a really nice quality protective carry pouch for the headset and cables.

Both cables feature a high quality black and red braiding that keeps with the colour theme of the headset, as well as the matching jack plug moulds. There is a small in-line controller that features a small master mute switch for the microphone as well as a simple volume wheel on one side. The other cable features no in-line controller, but since this is used for hooking the headset up to a mobile device, you would likely just use integrated controls on your mobile.

The in-line controller features a soft black finish on one side, flip it over and we see a stylish chrome effect plastic that adds a little touch of style to the device.

All the jack plugs are durable, compact and clearly labelled and colour coded.