Trailrunner7 writes "The skies may soon be full of drones – some run by law enforcement agencies, others run by intelligence agencies and still others delivering novels and cases of diapers from Amazon. But a new project by a well-known hacker Samy Kamkar may give control of those drones to anyone with $400 and an hour of free time. Small drones, like the ones that Amazon is planning to use to deliver small packages in short timeframes in a few years, are quite inexpensive and easy to use. They can be controlled from an iPhone, tablet or Android device and can be modified fairly easily, as well. Kamkar, a veteran security researcher and hacker, has taken advantage of these properties and put together his own drone platform, called Skyjack. The drone has the ability to forcibly disconnect another drone from its controller and then force the target to accept commands from the Skyjack drone. All of this is done wirelessly and doesn't require the use of any exploit or security vulnerability."
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judgecorp writes "BlackBerry has launched BBM Channels, a rather Twitter-like social network that runs on its BBM messaging system. Meanwhile the company had good news in the developing world: it is the second most popular phone in South Africa. From the article: 'The update is available for BBM users on BlackBerry 10 and some older BlackBerry smartphones, but it is promised that support will be added for iPhone and Android soon, with users of those platforms able to access the web version if they have a confirmed BlackBerry ID email address.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that self-professed Apple fanatic Jonathan Zufi has published a book of photography profiling 500 of Apple's products through the years, because unlike other companies Apple has unapologetically focused on design says Zufi and he wants to celebrate that with his images. 'Other companies came up with the guts for a machine and then the engineers would find a way to stuff them into a box,' says Zufi. 'Steve Jobs started with the box and said, "You need to find a way to get the guts in."' It's an unlikely project for a software engineer with no formal photography training. Zufi bought new equipment and consulted with a professional as he began the project, which was four years in the making. 'I had a sudden memory of an old game I used to play in high school called Robot War,' says Zufi. 'I hopped on eBay to look for the game and an old Apple II to play it on, and that's how I ended up looking through old Apple products.' Zufi says that he approached each shot by looking for an image that would 'create that same emotional connection to that product, but maybe doesn't look like something you've seen before,' and says that his mission is to showcase the entire spectrum of products that Apple have sold to the public since 1976 – every desktop, every laptop, every notebook, monitor, iPod, iPad, iPhone, mouse, keyboard, modem, cable, port, adapter, docking station, memory expansion card — and that's just their hardware."
theodp writes "Over at Fast Company, Rebecca Greenfield explores the rise of extreme baby monitoring. 'In the imminent future,' writes Greenfield, 'any curious parent with an iPhone will have access to helpful analytics, thanks to the rise of wearable gadgets for babies. Following the success of self-trackers for grown-ups, like Jawbone and Fitbit, companies like Sproutling, Owlet, and Mimo want to quantify your infants.' Devices connect to a baby via boot, anklet, or onesie, and record heart rate, breathing patterns, temperature, body position, and the ambient conditions of the room. While the breathing and sleeping alerts will calm a lot of parents, Greenfield reports the real holy grail is the data garnered from tracking, which some companies plan to share with researchers. 'We're creating the largest data set of infant health data,' says Owlet co-founder Jordan Monroe."
Nathan Myhrvold's six-volume foodie encyclopedia, Modernist Cuisine, writes reader SmartAboutThings, is one of the most expensive cooking encyclopedias, the original six-volume version retailing for $500, with the two-volume addition that followed after that selling for $115. "Now, Nathan and his team have transformed their huge food encyclopedia into an iPhone/iPad app. It's not just a digital book, but rather an expensive $80 interactive app that can do more than just provide recipes. The interactive digital cookbook is the fruit of a development team of 10-15 people that have worked over nine months on the project. The app contains 37 technique videos, 416 recipes and 1,683 photos."
waderoush writes "Anki gained instant fame as the robot-car company that launched at Apple's WWDC in June. Its iPhone-controlled racing game hit Apple stores in October, and the company is hoping it will be a holiday hit. But while Anki Drive offers offers a novel physical/virtual entertainment experience for kids and their gadget-loving parents, being a toy company 'is not our vision,' says co-founder and CEO Boris Sofman in this combined company profile and product review from Xconomy. Anki Drive is planned as the first in a series of new consumer-robotics products that are intensively AI-driven, as compared to the mechanically sophisticated but relatively instinctual or behavioral robots exemplified by iRobot's Roomba (which is probably the most successful consumer robot to date). The common characteristics of Anki's coming products, in Sofman's mind: 'Relatively simple and elegant hardware; incredibly complicated software; and Web and wireless connectivity to be able to continually expand the experience over time.'"
itwbennett writes "The FCC's new Android app will allow users to measure the speed of their mobile broadband connection, while providing aggregate data to the agency for measuring nationwide mobile broadband network performance. Released as open-source software on Thursday, the free FCC Speed Test App will test network performance for parameters such as upload and download speed, latency and packet loss. An iPhone version of the app is in the works."
An anonymous reader writes "An Apple insider who asked not to be identified because the information is classified told Bloomberg that Apple's next iPhone models will come with curve displays and enhanced touchscreen sensors that can detect heavy and light touches. The two models -- 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches -- would be Apple's largest iPhones. Apple is still developing the two models and the person disclosed that Apple could launch the devices in the third quarter of next year."
MojoKid writes "One of the hallmark features of Google's Nexus 5 flagship smartphone by LG isn't its bodaciously big 5-inch HD display, its 8MP camera, or its "OK Google" voice commands. That has all been done before. What does stand out about the Nexus 5 is Google's new Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS and LG's SoC (System on Chip) processor of choice, namely Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core. Qualcomm is known for licensing ARM core technology and making it their own; and Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast. Google also has taken the scalpel to Kit Kat in all the right places, whittling down the overall footprint of the OS, so it's more efficient on lower-end devices and also offers faster multitasking. Specifically memory usage has been optimized in a number of areas. Couple these OS tweaks with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and you end up with a smartphone that hugs the corners and lights 'em up on the straights. Putting the Nexus 5 through its paces, it turns out preliminary figures are promising. In fact, the Nexus 5 actually was able to surpass the iPhone 5s with Apple's 64-bit A7 processor in a few tests and goes toe to toe with it in gaming and graphics." Ars Technica has a similarly positive view of the hardware aspects of the phone, dinging it slightly for its camera but otherwise finding little to fault.
MojoKid writes "Rumors around the what and when of Google's upcoming Nexus 5 smartphone have been plentiful, and ahead of the supposed release date on Halloween, a benchmark score for the handset has slipped out from Rightware, and it's downright impressive. According to Rightware's Power Board, the Nexus 5 delivered the second-highest Benchmark X gaming score among smartphones, behind only the iPhone 5S, making it the most powerful Android-based handset in the land. The LG-made phone shares a GPU (the Adreno 330) with the third-place Sharp Aquos SHL23 but bested the latter handset with a score of 14.27 to 13.10. A leaked user manual revealed that the Nexus 5 will boast a full HD 4.95-inch display, Snapdragon 800 processor (2.3GHz), 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, and 8MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing cameras."
Lucas123 writes "As Toyota owners have often found out the hard way, they cannot use Bluetooth to pair an iPhone to their car's Entune infotainment system in order to use mobile apps. Drivers can set up their iPhones as a WiFi hotspots, but there's a fee for that. Part of the problem is that Toyota bundles all of the available Internet apps — such as Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora and other data services such as local fuel prices, traffic and weather information — on the infotainment system so it can track how they're being used. The company suggests drivers simply plug their phones into the car's USB port. Toyota's not alone in its wireless dilemma. Part of the problem is automakers can't keep up with mobile app software upgrades, so they use proprietary interfaces. But that may soon be changing. Toyota said its next model year will include Bluetooth pairing, but it still doesn't solve the longer term problem of how to upgrade infotainment systems without waiting the two to four years that new car models typically take to roll off the lines. Some automakers, like Audi, are moving to modular infotainment systems that allow chipsets to be replaced on the fly."
Nick Kolakowski writes "Markus 'Notch' Persson is the famous indie-game developer behind Minecraft, which is also the name of the new book about his life and work by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson. (The effect is slightly odd, like naming the Steve Jobs biography iPhone.) Minecraft traces Persson’s development from an isolated young man building simple PC games in his bedroom, to a frustrated game developer who feels the software conglomerates are stifling his creativity, to a multimillionaire who's had some trouble coming to grips with his gamer-land fame. The Persson described in the book is an introvert's introvert, far more interested in coding than partying, although he does display flashes of entrepreneurial aggression that would make Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos proud: at one point, he confesses that he wants to build a gaming behemoth on the scale of Valve." Read below for the rest of Nick's review.
MojoKid writes "The LG G2 is the follow-up to LG's Optimus G Pro. It's also one of the few smartphones on the market right now powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC. The G2 sports a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of on board storage. However, the 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip on board also has Qualcomm's Adreno 330 GPU that even gives NVIDIA's Tegra 4 a run for its money in gaming and graphics performance. Though the G2 has a rather unorthodox volume rocker and power button assembly on the back of the phone, once you get used to the location, it's actually a pretty comfortable control system. What's pretty impressive though is the G2's performance combined with its 3000mAh battery that offers a solid balance of horsepower and battery life and rivals flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone 5S."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google's core search-advertising business is slowing down (despite an uptick in revenue and earnings for the most recent quarter) and a new report suggests that advertising ROI is much higher on iOS than Android. In light of that, it's worth asking whether Google, having dominated much of the mobile-device market with Android, will ever get around to more aggressively monetizing its mobile operating system, and what that could mean to the manufacturers that have been loading the software for free onto their hardware. If Google started charging licensing fees to manufacturers, and attempted to clamp down so that Google Play served as the only hub for Android apps (something that would definitely put it on a collision course with Amazon, which boasts its own Android app store), would it be shooting itself in the foot? Or would the rest of the ecosystem respond in a muted way, considering the sheer size of Google's power and presence?"
An anonymous reader writes "Neal Stephenson's ambitious sword fighting Kickstarter Clang has run into financial troubles, and part of the reason is down to new controller that was required — the extra investment reportedly scared away investors. Sometimes though, games can help usher in a whole new type of controller, and create new ways to play. From Pong's easy dials, which helped bring the video game into the home, to Ape Escape's twin thumbsticks and Doodle's Jump savvy use of the accelerometer on the iPhone, some games have hit the critical mass necessary to establish a new input as a way to play. So what's next?"
MojoKid writes "It's been a long time since many have seen a dreaded 'blue screen of death' (BSoD), but it's back and in the most unlikeliest of places. Oddly enough, some Apple iPhone 5S owners are reporting BSoD errors, though they're a little different from the ones you may remember seeing on Windows desktops. Rather than spit out an obscure error code with a generic description, some iPhone 5S devices are suddenly turning blue before automatically restarting. The Numbers app in Apple's iWork suite, a free program with new iPhones, seems to be the primary cause, though BSoD behavior has also been observed in other applications, according to complaints in Apple's support forum."
Barence writes "Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth claims Apple will follow Ubuntu's lead and converge the iPhone and MacBook product lines. Speaking to PC Pro to mark the upcoming launch of Ubuntu 13.10, Shuttleworth said that the failed Ubuntu Edge smartphone — an attempt to bridge mobile and desktop computing devices — had set an example that others will follow. 'We've seen a very interested ripple go through the industry, and an uptick in interest in convergence,' Shuttleworth added. 'People are saying yes, mobile processors are catching up with the desktop. When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, it called the processor "desktop-class," and I don't think that was an accident – it was sending what we think is a very clear signal that it will converge the iPhone and the MacBook Air.'"
curtwoodward writes "Stop drooling over that new iPhone. Put away the fancy tablet. Because the real hardcore nerds find that stuff 'boring' and 'mind-numbing,' says Mary Lou Jepsen, head of the display division at secretive R&D lab Google X. At MIT's EmTech conference, Jepsen said the next generation of 'moonshot' tech is much more exciting and interesting. That includes Google X projects like the driverless car, Project Loon, a stratospheric balloon-based wireless network, and Google Glass."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Nest (based in Palo Alto, and headed by former Apple executive Tony Fadell) is out to reinvent the ugly, blocky devices—starting with the thermostat—that we bolt to our walls and ceilings out of necessity. Its new Nest Protect, looks more like something for streaming music or movies than a smoke detector; inside its chic shell, the device packs an embedded system-on-a-chip and a handful of sensors, capable of connecting to other devices via wireless. 'Would this be a cherished product? Can it be more than a rational purchase — can it be an emotional one?' is the thought process that Fadell uses when evaluating new products for Nest-ification, according to Wired. That sounds like something Apple designer Jony Ive would say about the latest iDevice; your own mileage may vary on whether you consider that a good thing. Whether or not Nest actually succeeds, its emphasis on friendly design and function could serve as a template for helping popularize the so-called 'Internet of Things,' or the giant networks of interconnected devices that everybody seems to think is coming in a few short years: by giving stodgy hardware an iPhone-like sheen, complete with all sorts of bells and whistles, you could potentially change consumer mindsets from 'Do I really need to buy this thing?' to 'I want to buy this thing.' Some privacy advocates are already crying foul ('My dear privacy enthusiast: activity sensors?' The Kernel's Greg Stevens wrote, tongue somewhat in cheek, about Nest Protect in a recent blog posting. 'Ladies and gentlemen, how can you possibly stay silent about the possible abuses of such a device?'), but since when have concerns over privacy prevented people from buying the next 'cool' device?"
Chris453 writes "In August 2013, President Obama issued a veto to an import ban of the iPhone 4S after Samsung won several court battles against Apple claiming that the iPhone 4S violated several of Samsung's patents. A few months ago, Samsung was on the receiving end of a very similar case filed by Apple. The International Trade Commission decided that several of Samsung's phones (Transform, Acclaim, Indulge, and Intercept models) violated Apple's patents, and should face import bans. Despite the similarities between the two cases, the Obama administration today announced that it would not veto the International Trade Commission import ban against Samsung products. The move that could spark a trade dispute between the U.S. and South Korea."