FitBit Has A Surprising And High Profile New Fan

FItBit’s range of smart fitness products has catapulted the company onto bigger and better avenues over the last year or so, the new breed of small, light yet powerful wearable pieces of tech has captured the imagination. It now looks as if the company has another fan that is rather more powerful than your average consumer.

That consumer in question is 44th US president and a fan of tech Mr Barrack Obama who was seen sporting what looks to be a FitBit Surge while being interviewed by comic legend Jerry Seinfeld. Below is a snap that was taken of Mr Obama wearing the device, it seems the president has been looking forward to test driving the watch since last year. There has also been a humorous take concerning Mr Obama’s preference for FitBit considering both Apple and Samsung smart watches have a recording function built-in which might be slightly dodgy for the president.

According to research that was conducted by IDC, FitBit is the world’s highest selling wearable device and leads Apple. It conveys the paradox that many government officials find themselves in, on one hand they attempt to clamp down and pursue tech companies over surveillance and various laws, yet they also use the gadgets that have been created by that industry.

Image courtesy of kaiserkiwi

PIA Running Traffic Through Second VPN to Avoid BitTorrent Ban

After a number of large datacentres are now banning heavy BitTorrent traffic on their networks, popular VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) has started routing its traffic through another VPN which, while slowing connection speeds, ensures its customers are not prevented from downloading torrents.

Many BitTorrent users implement VPN services to keep their downloading private and prevent their IP address from being tracked by ISPs or third-party copyright infringement enforcers. Since it is one of the few VPNs to not keep logs on its users, meaning there is no data to hand off if served with a warrant, PIA is a favourite amongst torrenters.

“Certain regimes/regions and data centers have strict discriminatory policies towards the BitTorrent protocol. In order to provide a free and open internet to everyone, we were forced to create a technical fix,” a PIA spokesperson told TorrentFreak.

PIA believes that its “double VPN” solution is the best compromise for its customers, as it does not require invasive techniques, such as DPI.

“Due to the fact that packets were routed in an unidentifiable manner and double hop is a known and accepted technology by privacy advocates, we believe this technical solution adheres to the strongest of privacy ideals,” the spokesperson said.

“We want to make clear, that privacy is in fact our single policy. However, in order to help our users who are censored in certain regions, we needed to find a way to provide close servers while still being able to provide users with true and free/open internet access,” they added. “This was our solution and we still think that using technology to create a solution is better than waiting for politicians to fix this problem.”

PIA has posted a full statement on the matter to its website.

Image courtesy of FreedomHacker.

Windows 10 Banned by Torrent Trackers

Paranoia over Windows 10’s privacy policy is reaching its apex with the news that users of the operating system have been banned by a number of torrent trackers. The excessive prohibition has been implemented over concerns that Microsoft’s newest Windows iteration could share data related to torrents and associated servers with the company.

Windows 10 has been attacked from all quarters for its invasive approach to user privacy, from sharing WiFi access with other people to its storage and sharing of user data gathered through software, apps, and the Cortana personal assistant. Erroneous reports even emerged that Microsoft’s Software License Terms allowed the company to delete pirated files from Windows 10 computers.

One of the torrent trackers to ban Windows 10 over privacy concerns, iTS, told TorrentFreak that Microsoft’s lack of transparency over what data the operating system collects and how it is used has driven the block.

“Unfortunately Microsoft decided to revoke any kind of data protection and submit whatever they can gather to not only themselves but also others. One of those is one of the largest anti-piracy company called MarkMonitor,” a spokesperson for iTS said.

“Amongst other things Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers. Obviously this goes way too far and is a serious threat to sites like ours which is why we had to take measures,” they added.

Trackers BB and FSC are also considering a ban on Windows 10. “We have also found [Windows 10] will be gathering information on users’ P2P use to be shared with anti piracy group,” BB staff told its users. “What’s particularly nasty is that apparently it sends the results of local(!!) searches to a well known anti piracy company directly so as soon as you have one known p2p or scene release on your local disk … BAM!”

In the same vein, FSC informed users, “As we all know, Microsoft recently released Windows 10. You as a member should know, that we as a site are thinking about banning the OS from FSC. That would mean you cannot use the site with the OS installed.”

If you use torrents, it might be expedient to ditch Windows 10.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of ITPro.

Jawbone UP3 to Finally Ship Beginning April 20th

Jawbone announced today on its blog that the UP3 would finally start to ship out starting April 20th to those who had pre-ordered. In case you were unaware, the UP3 was supposed to be ready for Christmas 2014 but ran into manufacturing problems.

The new fitness and activity tracker was announced last year for Christmas 2014 availability. As production started to ramp up it became evident that there were problems with the manufacturing as the samples were having issues with water resistance. Now that the production issues have been fixed they are currently in mass production. With the pre-orders starting to ship on April 20th we can look forward to seeing these in stores shortly after that.

Samsung Tease Eye-Controlled Mouse

Set to help the disabled use computers with ease, Samsung’s eye-tracking technology will allow users to control their computers functionality without needing to handle a physical mouse.

Developed in-house by Samsung engineers, this technology is an advancement of their EYECAN system, a mouse control device utilized through glasses worn by the user. This updated technology is coined the EYECAN+ and enables you to simply look at where you wish to click and physically blink to activate commands and controls on your system. In their demonstrations, Samsung made sure to point out that you can type and perform ‘drag-and-stop’ commands with their new advancement – meaning you can perform simple tasks and play games such as Angry Birds.

This is reportedly not the first eye-tracking software to hit the market and quoted as not the best. However, Samsung are rumored to be making this a open-source style project, meaning other companies are able to gather and build on this technology, with a lot of the ‘hard yards’ already being completed by the Samsung engineering team.

This means that if it were to make it to the public (which Samsung is not planning to do), we could see this retail for an expected $150 in the local market. Further meaning that any person or carer should be able to purchase this device without too much difficulty, massively increasing their computer using abilities.

Image courtesy of TrustedReviews

ECHO Urgent Messenger Aims to Notify Your Friends When You Are In Distress

A new personal SOS device is apparently in the works over at Indiegogo website, having it be able to let people know where you are and even speak to them after you press the ‘panic button’. The device by the name of ECHO Urgent Messenger, which basically has the same principle as a normal panic button, is said to fit on your keychain and help you in calling for help whenever you need it. The company is aiming to raise at least $5,000 in order to start production for the aforementioned gadget.

What makes the device stand out of the crowd is its ability to add friends to the contacts it sends a distress signal upon triggered. Aside from the staff, who will receive your distress signal and be able to talk to you (if you can) or at least listen to what is going on, the device is said to let users add individual phone, email and even Facebook contacts, who will be notified about your distress as soon as you press the button.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L97MDtdp0Nk[/youtube]

The message sent when triggered is said to contain your location within five feet, based on GPS, GLONASS and cell tower triangulation. However, with all the privacy concerns out there, this might sound as a way people could track your every movement. Nonetheless, the company has stated that all location tracking features will only activate once the user presses the button and will remain deactivated otherwise.

In terms of power, the ECHO gadget is said to run on a AAA battery, having the company stating that it would last as long as 7 years in standby or 5 hours of talk time in the case where it has been triggered. People interested in acquiring one can pledge at least $144 and wait for it to be delivered in December, though the target crowdfunding plays an important role to its actual release on the market.

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