For better or worse, much has been made about the distinct shape of BlackBerry’s new smartphone, the Passport. And, according to Ron Louks, president of the company’s Devices division, we can expect BlackBerry to start pushing more out-of-the-ordinary hardware, like its latest, in the years to come. During an interview with Reuters, Louks said BlackBerry can afford to take risks after sorting out its financial situation, adding that the goal is to introduce “at least one unconventional device” every year. “When it comes to design and being a little bit disruptive, we want that ‘wow’ factor,” he said. Louks also stated that BlackBerry is already working on yet another unusual device, and while there were no details revealed on what it is exactly, he did say carriers have had some positive feedback toward it. Whatever it may be, you can definitely color us intrigued.
Social media and civil unrest have long gone hand-in-hand, from coordinating revolution during the Arab Spring to repressing corruption in Turkey. Amid pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, locals have taken to the location-based messaging app FireChat to communicate with each other. 100,000 local users signed into the off-the-grid messaging app for the first time last weekend after a student activist recommended the app for communication should authorities switch off cellular networks. The app creates a mesh network between nearby users using WiFi, cellular data, or Bluetooth, allowing them to communicate with people even when strict firewalls are in place. For now, it looks as though we’re a long way away from the heavy-handed tactics of other governments, but FireChat’s sudden popularity shows locals are keen to stay one step ahead when it comes to communication.
Filed under: Mobile
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The encryption that protects your email and social updates is far from flawless — it’s relatively easy for spies to intercept your data using spoofs and hacked servers. If Greg Slepak has his way, though, there will soon be a safer way to send your info. His okTurtles project uses blockchains (the transaction databases you see in virtual currencies like Bitcoin) to let you communicate over the web without the risk of a man-in-the-middle attack. Rather than rely on website security certificates that could easily be compromised, it gives individual users public keys that unlock data within blockchains. There’s no centralized authority, and you can even run one of the necessary servers yourself if you don’t trust others. When complete, okTurtles will have a browser add-on that lets you use this authentication on virtually any site. You could talk to a fellow okTurtles user through Gmail without worrying that someone besides your recipient could easily read the message, for example.
The underlying technology (DNSChain) is already available, but you’ll have to wait a while for something that’s easy to use; Slepak is launching a crowdfunding campaign “soon” to help get things moving. He’s also quick to acknowledge that the system works only so long as both the software and keys aren’t compromised. If either of those are cracked, you’re just as vulnerable as anyone else. As long as they remain safe, though, okTurtles could easily reduce the chances that snoops and thieves will pry into your business.
Filed under: Internet
Tired of waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series? So is the University of Canterbury’s Richard Vale: he’s created a statistical model based on the series’ previous tomes to predict what might be in the next book. Don’t worry though, it’s mostly spoiler free. Vale’s analysis of Game of Thrones doesn’t account for plot or foreshadowing — it’s strictly a numbers game.
Martin’s epic is known for telling each chapter from the perspective of a different starring character, rotating protagonists throughout the series. Vale’s mathematical is focused on finding out who the final two books will be about, but not what those characters will be doing. It does prod a few lingering mysteries, however — predicting that a character left to an ambiguous fate not only has a 60% chance of survival, but may be the starring character of the series’ conclusion.
It’s a neat experiment, but Vale admits that it relies on a relatively small set of parameters — new characters, settings or deaths could muck up the results, and the predictions really shouldn’t be relied on as a sure thing. That doesn’t mean it’s not a neat experiment though, and besides: the project’s resulting chart puts some of our favorite characters front and center. Check out Vale’s full write up (and feel free to check his math) at the source link below.
Filed under: Science
Source: Cornell University Library
Like trying to eat a ketchup Popsicle while wearing white gloves, downloading apps and customizing your device is bound to leave its mark on your phone’s processing power and memory capacity. Many of today’s most popular apps, games, and utilities embed themselves into your device’s background processes, leeching away your precious system power. While there are more task managers available than you can shake a stick at, I jumped right in by trying DU Speed Booster on for size. I was very pleased with their Battery Saver app and hoped for more of the same. Spoiler alert: it didn’t disappoint.
The first thing I was confronted with upon installation was the beautiful GUI. The purple-hued space theme is smooth, tranquil, and well designed for folks, like me, that appreciate minimalism in design. What was interesting was the presence of a floating spaceship-esque icon that hovers atop your home screen and wallpaper pages. I was initially put off at the idea of an un-nested piece of clutter but quickly found myself enjoying the convenience of having the Speed Booster so easily at hand.
The things this app does best are cleaning and optimization. It’s nice to have control over system processes, auto-start apps, and the ability to truly rid yourself of junk files and unwanted data. With a simple touch, you can instantly boost your device’s speed without compromising the integrity of your Android OS. While I wasn’t super blown away by the speed increase, I attribute that to having a very lean and modern device to begin with. I can only imagine that folks with older or slower devices will have their socks blown off at the shot in the arm that this will provide. Gamers will rejoice to find the Game Booster functionality that monitors which games are installed and optimizes them for peak performance. I don’t do much heavy gaming so I wasn’t able to take advantage of it but it’s certainly nice to know that it’s there.
The control that DU Speed Booster affords you over things such as app permissions, un-installations, cache and trash would be reason enough to download this. Factor in the cost, FREE, and the built-in Antivirus scanner and you have yourself a powerhouse program that definitely belongs in your My Apps list.
Deals, Discounts, Freebies, and More! Click here to save today!
If you’ve been eyeing a Chromebook to replace that Windows or Mac machine, Google’s OS is about to get a massive boost in productivity. Starting today, Photoshop is headed to the machines thanks to a partnership with Adobe — if you meet certain criteria. A cloud-based streaming version of the creative software will be available for Adobe Creative Cloud education customers in beta form, and for now, there’s no word on when regular folk will be able to opt in. This version of Photoshop is designed to run on Chromebooks straight from the cloud and packs in Google Drive integration for easy file management. The rest of Creative Cloud is said to follow, however this trial run only includes the popular photo-editing app. As is usually the case with testing phases, there’s no clear indication as to when this version of Photoshop will see its widespread release.
Advertisers aren’t always a fan of investing in mobile. Part of that reason is that the ads you see on phones and tablets don’t command the same amount of attention that ads do on desktops. Google is working on new ad units though that could lure in the big brands, though users might find them somewhat infuriating. Of the four new designs, three are fullscreen ads and some are interstitial ads that would take over the screen at a “logical break point” while you’re using an app. These ads could even include video or interactive elements, which pretty much turns them into in-app commercials. So, between levels three and four of the next Angry Birds licensing
debacle title you could be watching a 20 second ad for Perdue chicken breasts. Or, you could just be blindly skipping by the ads that hijack your screen to sell paper towels, skin cream, or anything else. S
Source: Inside AdWords
I am not much of an earbud person myself. I prefer that full over the ear experience. Even though I know I look a bit ridiculous with them over my head while I walk down the street. Luckily I don’t walk down the street often. For those of you that do walk, jog, run, bike or any other combination of situations where earbuds are dramatically more practical, Phiaton has announced a new Bluetooth earbud set that is sure to make your adventures a bit more enjoyable. The Phiaton BT220′s are the latest from the premium audio manufacture and they certainly sound like they should pack quite the punch.
“We’ve listened to the needs and desires of the community and we believe the BT 220 NC fulfills a much-needed gap in the headphone market” said James Baik, President of Phiaton. “The BT 220 NC, along with Phiaton’s whole line, was designed entirely with the user experience in mind.”
On paper the BT220′s bring you Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and allow you pair up two devices simultaneously. They also ring a few niceties that you don’t always find on other brands. Such as the ability to hardwire connect the earbuds if the battery dies on you. Battery life shouldn’t be too much of a worry though since they spec out at 17 hours of continuous music listening and 300 hours of standby. As you can see in the press image they are connected to a wireless receiver that is also a remote to control tracks, volume and calls. The remote also brings in a “monitor” control function that allows you to mute your tune, and deactivate the noise cancelling function, so you can hear things around you without needing to remove the earbuds. I am sure this will come in handy since the noise cancellation is stated to block out 95% of all ambient noise.
As for the more technical side of things the BT220′s use high quality dynamic speaker units that are 14.3 mm with a frequency range of 10 Hz ~27 kHz, an impedance of 32 Ohms and a sensitivity of 100dB at kHz.
The Phiaton BT220 NC’s will be on sale in late October for the premium price tag of $179. Feel free to check them out in a little more detail at the Phiaton website.
The post Phiaton BT220 NC Bluetooth earbuds with NFC pairing announced for late October appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
If you’ve been following the protracted war between Amazon and Hachette, you know that Amazon’s been stymieing sales of certain books by making it impossible to pre-order them, and pushing back delivery of others all over a e-book contract dispute. The situation isn’t really even about Hachette any more — the New York Times notes that few of the hundreds of signers of a recent open letter to Amazon’s board of directors are even published by the French firm. It’s about something more fundamental. Those authors (or at least a decent chunk of them) now plan to call on the Department of Justice to formally investigate Amazon for monopolistic activity.
To quote recent signer Ursula K. LeGuin, the big issue at stake here is censorship — “Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable.” By trying to squeeze certain unlucky authors out of the sales charts by dint of their publisher, Amazon has riled up an incredibly savvy, literate, smart group of people who know how to use their voices — not exactly the sort you’d want to make enemies out of. Last we heard, the final draft of the letter (which will be sent to the head of the department’s antitrust division) should be done — now we’ve got to wait for everyone to sign it.
Via: New York Times
Source: Authors United
For decades, the NFL blackout rules have been in place to encourage fans to attend games rather than watch from the comforts of home. According to Recode though, that could change this week. The FCC will reportedly axe the long-standing policy that keeps pay-TV outfits like cable and satellite companies from broadcasting local events that don’t sell out. As the report points out, NFL fans are usually the most vocal about blackouts due to weekly showings on over-the-air networks (CBS, FOX, and NBC) and the 72-hour window required for a sellout ahead of kickoff. However, even after the rules are nixed, local stations will still be unable to show games that don’t fill all of the seats. While the NFL’s policies are tied to attendance, other leagues like MLB and NHL have rules in place to protect contracts with broadcasters. As you may recall, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has already spoken out about the NFL blackouts, saying that the league “not longer needs the government’s help to remain viable.”
[Photo credit: Rob Foldy/Getty Images]