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21
Jul

How to access Android N ‘Nougat’ easter egg


Google is well known for throwing easter eggs in to its software, particularly with Android versions. For the past two years, there’s been a hidden Flappy Bird-style game which you access by heading in to Settings>About Phone then tapping multiple times on the Android version, then tapping repeatedly and long-pressing the Android version logo. With Android N, it’s changed, although you still access it in much the same way. 

This year’s easter egg is a patience-testing game involving cat-baiting. Here’s how to get to it…

Your first step, as already mentioned head to the settings menu, scroll all the way down until you reach “About Phone”, tap that and find “Android version”. If you press this option multiple times repeatedly, you’ll get to a screen showing the Android N logo on your wallpaper. 

Repeatedly tap the “N” a few times then press and hold on it and you should see a tiny cat emoji appear near the bottom of the screen. 

Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal your quick settings toggles and hit “edit”. You should now see a cat face icon with the label, “???? Android Easter egg”. Drag and drop this icon to to the main quick settings options and place it where you want it. Now, the fun can begin. 

Hit your home button and then drag down the quick settings shade from the top of the screen again. This time you should see an “empty plate” option. Tap it and you’ll see an overlay with four food choices: Bits, Fish, Chicken and Treat. Select one, then continue using your phone as normal, and wait. 

Eventually, you’ll get a notification telling you that a cat has snagged one of the treats. But it doesn’t always work, which is kind of the point of the game. You have to keep trying, using different treats to bait a cat.

When it does work, you’ll get a notification saying “a cat is here” with the number of the cat listed underneath. Tapping on the notification reveals a new screen with a cat icon which you tap once to rename, or long-press to reveal sharing options. You can save a full resolution version of the cat’s picture to your device, or share it to all your social media accounts like every other crazy cat owner.   

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21
Jul

11 reasons to upgrade your doorbell


When was the last time you found a “we tried to deliver” card on your door mat, but you were home? With more and more of us opting to have things delivered to our home, it can be challenging to not only make sure we are are in, but that we also hear the doorbell.

If that scenario sounds a little too familiar, then it is probably time to upgrade your doorbell. We’ve been living with the new Honeywell Series 9 and Series 5 doorbells to find out how we can avoid never missing a caller at the door again.

200m range

The Series 9 range of doorbells from Honeywell come with a wireless range of up to 200m meaning your doorbell is likely to chime wherever you put in in your home.

Furthermore, Honeywell allows you to link it to other doorbells it makes, extending that range up to a whopping 400m. That should be suitable for most mansions, or perhaps more likely, the ability to reach your home office at the far-end of the garden.

Take it anywhere

Previous wireless doorbells we’ve had in the past have required the need to be plugged in to a wall socket, limiting your options. If they aren’t wireless, you normally need a power supply constantly connected, which can limit things even further.

The Honeywell range of doorbells can either be wired, or wireless, with the wireless models offering up to a five-year battery life. That makes a huge difference when it comes to positioning them somewhere central where they can be heard.

A wireless push button

Drilling through your door frame or trying to hide a wire through your hallway to connect to the chiming unit aren’t necessary with Honeywell doorbells.

All the Honeywell doorbell ranges come with wireless push button units that come with a two-year battery life, an LED Confidence light so those pressing it will know the unit has responded, and even a secret knock function.

Secret knock function

“It’s only me” – but how do you know it really is? The Honeywell Series 9 doorbell features a special knock feature, as mentioned above.

When activated, this feature means the doorbell plays a different melody, so you will instantly know if a family member or friend is at the door, rather than a stranger. It has been great for answering the door in our dressing gown without fear.

Play a different tune

For the most part, doorbell chimes are fairly dull. Ding Dong, or the famous Westminster Chime perhaps? What if you could have Star Wars – The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) playing every time someone knocked at the door? Or perhaps Adele’s “Hello, from the other side”.

The top of the range Series 9 doorbell (model DC917NG) offers the ability to upload any MP3 track to customise beyond the choice of eight melodies already available. 

Do not disturb with Sleep Mode

You’ve just got the kids to sleep when the doorbell rings, waking everyone up. Rather than running the gauntlet, you can silence the Honeywell doorbell range so you don’t disturb those sleeping in your house.

Sleep mode mutes the sound for 3, 6, 9 or 12 hours, so you can relax free of any disturbance. Should you never want to be audibly disturbed, you can mute the doorbells altogether or until you decide otherwise.

Get visual alerts

If you’re wondering how you’ll know someone is at the door if you don’t have the doorbell ringing, don’t. The Honeywell range of doorbells has a unique halo light and LED strobe features that provide visual alerts so you can see rather than hear when it is activated.

That’s great for when sleep or mute mode is activated, for parties, or for the hearing impaired. The halo light comes with seven colours so you are sure to see it and some of the models even come with a nightlight mode so you can see where you’re going when it’s dark. You can even assign the  different colours to communicating different things like green for the back door and red for the front door.

Charge your phone at the same time

You can use the doorbell chime unit on the Honeywell Series 3 range that plugs into a wall socket to charge your USB gadgets. Yep, not only can you hear when you have a visitor at the door, but also charge your phone at the same time. Amazing.

Five-year battery life

The Series 9 range comes with a five-year battery life, while both the Series 5 and 3 come with a two-year battery life. That means for the most part, you don’t really have to worry about power for a very long time.

Add sensors to turn it into an alarm system

A doorbell chimes when you press the door push button, right? Wrong. With the Honeywell doorbell range, you can add a number of accessories to expand the doorbell system into an alarm system.

Optional extras include a wireless door and window sensor, as well as, a wireless motion sensor. The former will ring the door chime when a specific window or door is opened, while the motion sensor will set off an alert when something, or someone, walks within its 12-metre sensing range. Handy if you need to be alerted of something without someone pressing a button to tell you they’ve arrived.

Keep on adding

The Honeywell doorbell system is modular, so you can build up your system over time, adding to it when needed. That’s great if you want to start with a single doorbell, then add more doorbells or sensors over time.  

21
Jul

France objects to Windows 10 user tracking


France’s privacy regulator has stared into Windows 10 and feels that the software’s doing a bit too much staring back. CNIL has issued a statement saying that the operating system collects too much data about its users. For instance, it explains that Microsoft tracks usage statistics to identify problems, including apps downloaded and time spent in each one. Which, sounds quite reasonable, since most of our days are spent working inside Chrome, Firefox or Edge. But since this information isn’t necessary for the day-to-day operation of Windows 10, it’s considered to be an infringement on people’s privacy.

Officials also feel that Microsoft’s security provision for Windows 10 is too lax, thanks to the unlimited times you can enter a PIN. That opens the door for any enterprising attacker to simply brute-force the combination, which CNIL feels makes the operating software “not secure or confidential.” Then there’s the fact that Windows 10 applies a unique identifier for the purposes of targeted advertising. No guesses for how French officials feel about that, given all you know about ’em.

The last major objection is that Microsoft is still pushing personal data around following the principles of Safe Harbor. These were the set of EU-US privacy protections that were declared invalid late in 2015, with a replacement, called Privacy Shield, only coming into force this month. Naturally, that’s the point that Microsoft is fastest to refute, with deputy general counsel David Heiner telling The Register that it will “adopt the Privacy Shield,” in the near future. In addition, Microsoft will work with CNIL to ensure that it doesn’t have to suffer the pain of penalties.

Via: The Register

Source: CNIL

21
Jul

Without a new Apple Watch, smartwatch shipments decline in Q2


Until now, the smartwatch market had seen year-over-year growth each quarter since the devices made their debut. For Q2 2016 though, that wasn’t the case. Global smartwatch shipments were down 32 percent, totaling 3.5 million gadgets during the period. That figure is down from 5.1 million of the wearables shipped during the second quarter of 2015. Apple still led the pack with 1.6 million units, but it was the only top-selling company to experience an annual decline. It’s worth noting that Q2 2015 was when the Apple Watch launched and there hasn’t been an updated model yet.

Speaking of new devices, the lack of updated hardware is a key reason the for the drop in numbers. Improvements to Apple’s watchOS were announced back at WWDC, but they won’t arrive until this fall. There’s a new version of Android Wear on the way as well. Combine that with no new model from the top company and buyers are waiting to nab a wearable if they haven’t done so already. As IDC points out, Apple’s share of the market is nearly half (47 percent), so when it sees a decline that shift significantly impacts the entire segment of devices.

IDC also notes that only a select few traditional watchmakers have delivered a more modern spin on the timepiece. The likes of Casio, Fossil and Tag Heuer have done so, but the analytics company expects the smartwatch market stands to benefit if more of those companies join the tech OEMs that are cranking out the devices at a solid pace. A little brand recognition goes a long way.

That 32 percent figure may also seem like a significant drop, but that has to be considered alongside the overall size of the smartwatch market. 3.5 million total units shipped in a quarter for all vendors is still quite small when compared to other gadgets like phones. Sure, smartwatches have yet to take hold like handsets have, but the comparison shows that those wearables continue to be a niche item. In terms of other top-5 companies, Samsung still ranks number 2 behind Apple thanks to the Gear S2 and its ability to function without being tethered to a phone. Lenovo sits in third after nabbing Motorola as the Moto 360 continues to be a top choice for Android Wear fans who prefer a circular display.

Source: IDC (Business Wire)

21
Jul

Explore a 3D scan of the Apollo 11 capsule


It’s been 47 years since NASA first put a man on the moon and you can now get an idea of what astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins experienced. The Smithsonian Institute, working with Autodesk, has created a high-resolution 3D scan of “Columbia,” the Apollo 11 command module that carried the astronauts to the moon. Using the online viewer (or downloading the virtual reality or 3D print files) you can visit the hidden corners of the module in much more detail than in person at the museum.

The command module was the home of all three astronauts during most of the mission, and the only part to return intact to Earth. (In the film Apollo 13, it was damaged by an explosion, so the astronauts had to move to the lunar landing module.) It sits atop the service module, which is accessible by a dock shown in the 3D model. The astronauts can then traverse the service module and access the lunar module via a docking tunnel.

“The command module had many, many hidden nooks and crannies that are really hard to see,” says Vincent Rossi, the senior 3D program officer. It’s also composed of reflective surfaces that make scanning tough. The museum enlisted Autodesk, which created custom 3D scanning equipment and developed algorithms to pull all the data together. After removing the protective plexiglass from the module, the Smithsonian 3D team used seven scanning techniques to capture the interior of the module in sub-millimeter detail.

During the process, the museum’s curators saw parts of the interior they weren’t able to get to before, since the fragile capsule has barely been touched since 1971. That includes hand-written astronaut “graffiti” including a calendar, instructions from mission control and a note on a panel that reads “launch day urine bags.” According to the museum’s blog post, “seeing such details and studying the text have enhanced curators’ understanding of how the missions were conducted,” and possibly the astronauts’ senses of humor, too.

Via: The Verge

Source: Smithsonian (1), (2)

21
Jul

Periscope videos can now be embedded with a tweet


One key thing was missing from Periscope’s live video option: the ability to embed the video streams and archived footage in other places rather than sharing a link. Twitter’s livestreaming option is doing something about that today as Periscope videos can now be posted in a tweet. This means that so long as you’re willing to embed the tweet than contains the live video, you’ll be able to post them wherever you like. The app also got a Highlights feature, but it’s different from what Facebook’s live videos offer.

Rather than displaying a timeline of reactions, Periscope creates a short trailer-like compilation of the broadcast. The app uses “a variety of signals” to determine which parts make the cut, a process that the company says will continue to improve over time. There’s also a new Autoplay feature that will automatically start playback when you swipe over to the Watch tab and Global Feed. If you’re familiar with the Instagram video feed, you have an idea of how this works. Autoplay is only available on Android for now, but it’s coming to iOS “soon.” Those Highlights will be available in both versions of the app over the next few days though, so you won’t have to wait long to try it out.

LIVE on #Periscope: On the range with Jason Day https://t.co/0NhfLaEeNA

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 21, 2016

Source: Periscope (Medium)

21
Jul

SoftBank and Honda team up for cars that can read emotions


Japanese telecom company SoftBank is planning on teaming up with Honda for its latest bid for car tech: Cars that can not only talk, but also read their drivers’ emotions.

Detailing their plans during a special event in Tokyo, Softbank and Honda discussed their ideas, expressing a desire for a future where Honda’s cars could speak and interact with drives utilizing SoftBank’s Pepper robot. The adorable bot is life-sized and would ideally be utilized when it comes to assessing drivers’ speech and other data compiled via multiple sensors and cameras.

Vehicles would be given the autonomy to offer advice to drivers as well as company after assessing situations. If that sounds bizarre, think of it as having your own personal KITT in your car. With SoftBank’s push into robotics and AI, it wouldn’t be too far off to see additional sensors and other equipment to be entered into the “internet of things” as far as automobiles go.

Via: Reuters

21
Jul

Square Enix’s ‘Cosmos Rings’ is an RPG for your Apple Watch


After pulling installments of the Chaos Rings series from the App Store and then filing a trademark for a game called Cosmos Rings in Europe, Square Enix turned some heads. Now the publishing giant is bringing us an interesting new release: an RPG exclusively for the Apple Watch. Unsurprisingly, it’s called Cosmos Rings.

Announced via Famitsu, Cosmos Rings is releasing worldwide this summer as one of the first RPGs out there specifically for the Apple Watch. Said to utilize the Apple Watch’s pedometer, Cosmos Rings looks like a trippy and colorful good time that will hopefully utilize the watch’s special features.

Takehiro Ando (Chaos Rings) is producing the game, while Yusuke Naora is responsible for the artwork, which looks like a delightfully futuristic amalgam of old and new. It’ll be interesting to see how this Apple Watch exclusive will actually play.

Via: Kotaku

Source: Famitsu

21
Jul

Apple Car’s Rumored 2020 Launch Target May Have Slipped to 2021


In an in-depth profile about Brian, Kevin, and Michael Sumner, three brothers said to be working on the Apple Car, The Information reports that Apple’s rumored 2020 target for launching the much-rumored electric vehicle, codenamed Project Titan, may have slipped to 2021.

The group has run into challenges, say people briefed about aspects of Titan along with other reports. Its top executive left in January, a sign that things there weren’t going well. One person who worked briefly with the Titan team was told during their tenure at Apple that the company had been trying to deliver a vehicle by 2020 but the target slipped to 2021.

The report refers to the January departure of Apple VP of Product Design Steve Zadesky, who was believed to be leading Apple’s electric vehicle development efforts since 2014, as one of multiple challenges that may be pushing back the target date for launching the vehicle. Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously said the so-called Apple Car is unlikely to be ready by 2020, calling it a “missed opportunity.”

With seemingly another three to five years of research and development ahead, Apple’s roadmap could change. Last September, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Apple Car was labeled as a “committed project” with a prospective 2019 shipping date. Tesla, meanwhile, has sold the Model S since 2012 and received some 400,000 pre-orders for its lower-priced Model 3 due in 2017.

The bulk of Apple’s electric vehicle development is believed to be underway in Sunnyvale, California, a short drive from the company’s Cupertino headquarters. Apple has reportedly recruited hundreds of engineers from Tesla, Ford, GM, Samsung, A123 Systems, Nvidia, and elsewhere to work on the project, said to have been approved by Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2014.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: theinformation.com
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21
Jul

Apple’s First Retail Store in Brooklyn Opens July 30


Apple has announced that its first retail store in the New York City borough of Brooklyn opens on Saturday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. local time. As rumored since late 2014, the store will be located at 247 Bedford Avenue in the Williamsburg neighborhood. The store hours are 10am-8pm on Monday-Saturday and 11am-7pm on Sunday.

Apple is nearly finished renovations at 247 Bedford Avenue (Thanks, Matthew!)
Apple has been renovating the building, situated at the corner of North 3rd Street, since earlier in 2015, and it posted retail job listings for the store in May. The location will mark Apple’s 9th store in New York City alongside six locations in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one on Staten Island.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: New York City
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