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13
Aug

After Math: Come out and burn


As the current presidential administration keeps trying its best to be America’s last, let’s take a moment from the existential horror of nuclear annihilation at the hands of the world’s other wannabe king-baby and see who’s been killing it in tech this week. Game of Thrones roasted way more horses and stuntmen than necessary in the name of VFX (spoilers, duh), Nissan is shelling out nearly another $100 million in hopes that the Takata airbag scandal will just drag itself into the woods and die already, and Facebook quietly took the Groups app out behind the woodshed mere days after axing the teen-targeting Lifestage app. Numbers, because how else are we going to accurately describe the literal decimation of the global human population when this pissing contest is over with?

13
Aug

The best sous vide machine and gear


By Tim Barribeau and Nick Guy

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

For four years now we’ve tested sous vide cooking tools, and the Anova Precision Cooker Wi-Fi is the best immersion circulator for people who want to cook sous vide at home. It’s made by a lab-equipment manufacturer with a reputation for accurate water baths, and in spite of a relatively low price, it provides temperature precision on a par with that of significantly more-expensive machines.

Who this is for

A home sous vide cooker is mostly for food lovers and experimental cookers who love trying new techniques and recipes. Sous vide involves using a tool, such as the immersion circulators we tested here, to heat water and keep it at a set temperature. Then you seal your food—ideally within a vacuum—and immerse it in the hot water for hours at a time until the entire thing reaches a uniform temperature. The result? Steak that’s a perfect medium rare throughout (no cold, raw centers or overcooked outsides), chicken so tender that you don’t even need a knife, and eggs the consistency of custard. And for the most part, making that happen is easy.

How we picked and tested

The immersion circulators we tested in 2016. Photo: Nick Guy

When you’re shopping for a sous vide cooker, you have four traits to look for:

  • Accuracy: With some food, eggs in particular, a temperature variance of just 1 degree Fahrenheit can mean a radically different final product.
  • Speed: You don’t want to wait for hours for the cooker to bring the container of water to temperature.
  • Price: Because these are enthusiast gadgets right now, we’re a bit less exacting on the price front, but some $200 options are just as good as $500 ones, and we know you want to save money where you can.
  • Convenience: The best sous vide cookers don’t require dedicated counter space, can work with multiple sizes of vessels, and can be operated either by an app on your smartphone or onboard controls.

Other criteria to consider are how the cooker attaches, its size, noise level, the types of containers it’s compatible with, and whether or not it has alarms and timers.

For our tests, we used each sous vide cooker to heat 1.5 gallons of water from 69 °F to 135 °F (the temperature for steak cooked to medium), measured the temperature at both points with the Thermapen Mk4 (an accurate instant-read thermometer) and recorded the time to get to temp. We covered the pot with foil to prevent evaporation, and we continued to let the circulators run for 12 hours—a longer time than your average recipe, but a good indicator of the machine’s ability to hold a set temperature indefinitely.

Our pick: Anova Precision Cooker Wi-Fi

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo: Tim Barribeau

The Anova Precision Cooker Wi-Fi is the best bet for most home cooks due to its low price, relatively small size, and flexibility. The innovative adjustable attachment system works with as little as 2½ inches of water in almost any container. It has an intuitive interface with simple, scroll-wheel control, a small readout, and buttons to control a timer and connect to a Wi-Fi network. It has a 900-watt heating element and quieter performance than the competition. The Precision Cooker Wi-Fi is made by a lab-equipment manufacturer with a reputation for accurate and long-lasting gear, which is important for precise cooking.

You can connect the Precision Cooker Wi-Fi to your Wi-Fi network, which lets you control the circulator’s timer and temperature via the Anova Culinary app. This isn’t required, and you don’t lose any functionality by not connecting.

Runner-up: ChefSteps Joule

The Anova Precision Cooker (left) compared with the ChefSteps Joule. Photo: Kevin Purdy

The ChefSteps Joule outperforms the Anova Precision Cooker Wi-Fi in a lot of ways. The most obvious is its size. This thing is impressively tiny—at 11 inches long and 1.85 inches in diameter, it’s about one-third the volume of the Anova unit and about half the weight, at only 1.28 pounds. The Joule is also more powerful, with a 1,110-watt heating element, and requires only 1½ inches of water to operate. It also has an ingenious magnetic foot that lets it stick to the bottom of some pots and other vessels.

ChefSteps’s app experience (iOS and Android) is particularly great. Pairing with the Joule is no issue, and once you’re connected, cooking is a breeze. The downside to the app is that it’s the only way to control the Joule. Other than the top cap, which you can use to stop the cooking, the Joule has no buttons or displays. This is the single reason the ChefSteps Joule isn’t our top recommendation. We know that for many people, the app-based control scheme will be just fine, but for others it’s a dealbreaker.

Budget pick: Kitchen Gizmo Simplified Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

The Kitchen Gizmo immersion circulator isn’t as svelte as others, but it does a good job for an affordable price. Photo: Nick Guy

If you’re just getting into sous vide cooking and you’re not sure if you’ll take to it, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive gift for someone who loves to cook, Kitchen Gizmo’s Simplified Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is the best option. You have to give up some features and design elements for the lower price, but the Kitchen Gizmo does what it’s supposed to: This cooker gets water hot and keeps it there.

The Kitchen Gizmo cooker looks similar to the Anova model, though its clip isn’t adjustable. It also gives you a wheel mechanism to set the temperature and timer. For the budget price, you give up any sort of wireless connection; you control everything on the unit itself. The Kitchen Gizmo didn’t issue an alarm when it reached its set temperature, which is a downside, but we loved how quiet it was. From a foot away, it was practically silent.

The best searing torch

Our torch pick produces a big, hot flame. Photo: Kevin Purdy

Cooking your meat sous vide gets you only halfway. The water bath brings the protein up to the proper temperature but leaves the outside the same color as the inside, without any of the tasty and texturally pleasing outer crust you’d get from other cooking methods.

We tested four torches along with the skillet method by cooking five New York strip steaks to medium-rare using the ChefSteps Joule, drying and seasoning them, and then searing.

We found that the best searing tool for most home cooks is the Bernzomatic TS8000, paired with a small propane tank. It seared our New York strip steaks faster than most other methods (in about a minute and a half), and it didn’t leave any off tastes from the gas. It’s less expensive than most of the competition, and has a flame-control adjuster. In our tests, the high-powered flame made quick and easy work of the process.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

13
Aug

Definite protection against Ransomware


The seemingly exponential growth of portable technology like laptops, tablets and phones has sparked an increase in the use of the internet and electrical gadgets to store information. We are almost dependent on our computers to store every type of information we have.

Governments, hospitals, schools and almost all organizations right now have been digitalized. Nowadys, every activity has been made more convenient and easily accessible due to the ever-improving advancements in the technology sector it may seem as though it’s bad to mention any disadvantages of technological advancements. However, despite how technology has improved the life of humans and no matter how fitting it may make things, there are few disadvantages associated with this access level of technology. The greatest of them all is getting hacked.

I am one of those people who store all my important documents and pictures on their computer. A couple of months ago I was hacked and it was not a laughing matter. I had never thought of investing in cyber security until that happened. I abhorred the possibility of someone accessing my private information without my permission and possibly sharing it with the world. After doing a little bit of research on the best cybersecurity against ransomware to use as protection and asking a few cyber gurus which ransomware they use, the name Rubica popped up, so I thought, why not try considering it as a viable option.

I decided to dig up why Rubica stood out from all the others as the best protection against ransomware. A ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system. Rubica is the most effective way to lock down your online security. Rubica is an app that can be easily downloaded on your smart phone, tablet, and computer to guard you against hackers.

When you have a ransomware in your device, it creates resilient encryption; it often scrambles file names so it is harder for you to be sure which files were affected. It can spread to other devices on your network. Ransomware can propagate across a network and infect other attached devices. It escapes antivirus protection and employs techniques that make it tough to detect.

What a normal antivirus can’t eliminate, Rubica- Ransomware protection is able to eliminate all forms of malicious software. Rubica is able to keep you and your family safe and private while offering full cyber security. Rubica works by monitoring your data and identifying threats based on your personal behavior and patterns. It is incredibly easy to download the application and use it. It does not interfere with your normal computer operations. With Rubica there are no unnecessary pop ups on your computer. It simply does its work in the background only alerting you when your action is required.

If you have been hacked and you need protection, or you have crucial information on your computer and you want to protect yourself against ransomware, I would recommend Rubica. It has been there for more than a decade so you can be sure of its authenticity. Make sure you download the app today and get the best protection.

13
Aug

Gmail for iPhone will now protect you from scammers


Why it matters to you

If you use Gmail on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll warmly welcome this latest security measure.

Google acted quickly back in May to close down a phishing scam involving Google Docs, and a short while later added an extra security measure to Gmail for Android that flags dodgy links in messages that attempt to pull the same kind of trick on users.

Three months on and the Mountain View-based company has finally gotten around to adding the same anti-phishing security check to the Gmail app for iOS.

“Going forward, when you click on a suspicious link in a Gmail message on your iPhone or iPad, we’ll show the warning below,” Google said in a blog post outlining the new measure. “We recommend that you use caution before proceeding, because the link is likely unsafe. Only proceed if you’re confident there’s no risk.”

The warning points out that you could be about to visit an untrusted site, and asks whether you really want to proceed.

If Google already knows that a particular website is fake and therefore a security risk, Gmail will display a message telling you so, adding that the site intends to “trick you into disclosing financial, personal, or other sensitive information.” If you’re absolutely sure the link is safe, you can still head to the site, but Google warns that it’s “at your own risk.”

The web giant said the security feature is being issued gradually to people that use Gmail on an iPhone or iPad, and should be working for everyone by the end of August.

Phishing emails can look like official correspondence from an online service that you use — or even masquerade as a message from a friend or co-worker — and often contain a link that can cause a victim to unwittingly give away log-in credentials or other information of value to the scammers, or install malware on their computer that can lead to a myriad of problems.

While a lot of phishing emails are easy to spot — look for dire spelling and other sloppy errors made while trying to imitate a business — such attacks have become much slicker and more sophisticated in recent years, leaving many web users reliant on security measures built into software such as Gmail to flag up potentially dangerous emails.

Want to know what you can do to protect yourself from phishing scams? Here are 10 suggestions from Phishing.org to get you started.




13
Aug

Battle of the Galaxies: Samsung Galaxy S8 versus Galaxy S8 Active


If the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s fragility held you back from picking one up at launch, there’s good news: The Galaxy S8 Active is here, and it’s one of the most durable high-end flagship smartphones on the market. The Galaxy S8 Active sports a massive 5.8-inch display, a special impact-absorbing bumper, and a military-grade metal body that resists shocks, shattering, water, and dust.

But the Galaxy S8 Active’s durability comes at a cost. Its screen isn’t curved on either side like the Galaxy S8’s, and the metal frame makes it a good deal bulkier than the S8. Then there’s the matter of the Active’s availability. Unlike the Galaxy S8, which is available from every major carrier, the Galaxy S8 Active is exclusive to AT&T.

Deciding between the two phones is not an easy decision to make, but we’re here to help. Read on for an in-depth comparison between the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Active.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

Samsung Galaxy S8

Size
151.9 x 74.9 x 9.9mm (5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39 in)
148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm (5.86 x 2.71 x 0.31 in)
Weight
7.34 ounces (208 grams)
5.47 ounces (155 grams)
Screen
5.8-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED flat
5.8-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED
Resolution
2,960 x 1,440
2,960 x 1,440
OS
Android 7.0 Nougat
Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage
64GB
64GB
MicroSD card slot
Yes
Yes
NFC support
Yes
Yes
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM
4GB
4GB
Connectivity
4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera
12MP rear with OIS, 8MP front
12MP rear with OIS, 8MP front
Video
4K
4K
Bluetooth
Yes, version 5
Yes, version 5
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes
Other sensors
Accelerometer, ambient light, digital compass, fingerprint, GPS, gyroscope, Hall, heart rate, iris scanner, proximity
Accelerometer, ambient light, digital compass, fingerprint, GPS, gyroscope, Hall, heart rate, iris scanner, proximity
Water resistant
Yes, IP68 and MIL-STD-810G
Yes, IP68
Battery
4,000mAh
3,000mAh
Ports
USB-C
USB-C
Marketplace
Google Play
Google Play
Color offerings
Gray, gold
Black, silver, gray, blue (international), gold (international), rose pink
Availability
AT&T

Samsung, Amazon, Best Buy

Carriers
AT&T

AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint

Price
$850, or $28.34 per month for 20 months
Starting at $720
DT review
N/A
4.5 out of 5 stars

The Galaxy S8 Active shares a lot in common with the Galaxy S8, retaining most of the Galaxy S8’s cutting-edge guts such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, and 4GB of RAM (international variants use Samsung’s Exynos 8895). Qualcomm claims the chip boasts 27-percent better performance than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 821, and the Galaxy S8 really shows it — in our testing, it rarely stuttered or suffered from slowdowns. We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the Galaxy S8 Active to say for certain, but we’re expecting more of the same great performance.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Active offer the same amount of storage, too. Both phones pack 64GB of internal memory and a MicroSD card slot that can accommodate up to 2TB of data, if you so choose. Given that the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Active have the same processor, RAM, and storage options, we’re calling this round a draw.

Winner: Tie

Design and display

The Galaxy S8 Active looks almost nothing like the Galaxy S8, and that’s by design: It’s meant to take more punishment.

For the Galaxy S8 Active, Samsung adopted a flatter look that weathers the elements better than Galaxy S8’s curved glass. The Active’s frame, which is notably thicker than the S8’s, buffers the screen against bumps and jostles, while the phone’s metal sides and polycarbonate rear protect it against scratches.

But all that ruggedness comes at a cost. The Galaxy S8 Active does away with the Galaxy S8’s curved screen, and instead settles for a flat panel with curved corners on all four sides. The display features the same 18.5.9 aspect ratio and resolution (2,960 x 1,440 pixels) as the Galaxy S8, but the edges around it are noticeably thicker.

All that makes the Galaxy S8 Active heftier than its predecessor. Samsung hasn’t released the official numbers yet, but we’re expecting the Active to weigh more and measure a good deal thicker than the Galaxy S8.

In most other respects, the Galaxy S8 Active is cut from the same cloth as the Galaxy S8. The Active’s fingerprint sensor is in the same awkward position near the top of the phone’s rear camera, and the Galaxy S8’s infamous Bixby button, which launches Samsung’s virtual assistant, is also present and accounted for.

It’s a tough call between the Galaxy S8 and S8 Active in the design department, but we’re giving the Galaxy S8 the win. Its stylish, portable, and boasts an edge-to-edge display that’s one of the best-looking we’ve seen.

Winner: Galaxy S8

Durability

There’s no question that the Galaxy S8 Active more durable than the Galaxy S8.

Samsung says that the Galaxy S8 Active passed military specification (MIL-STD-810G) testing against 21 extreme temperature, vibration, and pressure conditions. This means it can withstand drops of up to five feet, at least when landing on a flat surface. And when it comes to water, the Galaxy S8 can survive up to 30 minutes in a 5-foot pool.

The Galaxy S8 is IP68 rated, but its curved screen tends to scratch easily, and its it lacks the Active’s military-grade materials.

For that reason, the Active wins the durability category. It might be a little bulkier than the Galaxy S8, but we think the weight is worth the added peace of mind.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Active

Battery life and charging

The Galaxy S8 Active might not be as slim and lightweight as the Galaxy S8, but it makes up for it with a larger battery.

The Galaxy S8 Active has a 4,000mAh battery, while the S8 boasts a 3,000mAh battery. Samsung hasn’t released battery life estimates for the Active, but we’re expecting it to last a good deal longer than the Galaxy S8, which averages a full day with moderate to heavy use. With any luck, the Active will last about a day and a half on a single charge.

Both phones benefit from the Snapdragon 835 processor’s efficiency optimizations, which boost battery life further, and they both support wireless charging (Qi and PMA) as well as Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging technology. We’ll have to put the Active to the test, but we’re predicting it’ll edge out over the S8 — especially considering the two share the same screen resolution and processor.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Active

Camera

The Galaxy S8 has a great camera, and it’s the same on the Active.

The S8 and S8 Active have a 12-megapixel rear camera that hasn’t changed all that much from the Galaxy S7’s camera, but that’s a good thing. Its 1.44 micron pixel size and f/1.7 aperture shoot great low-light photos, and the dual-pixel design speeds up autofocus.

In our testing, we were impressed by the rear camera’s color accuracy and picture quality. And we came to appreciate shooting modes such as Selective Focus — which is similar to Apple’s Portrait Mode — and Panorama.

It’s pretty much the same story with the Galaxy S8’s front-facing camera, which is the same as the Active’s. It ships with Snapchat-like stickers, masks, and filters that work pretty well, and an impressive “Wide Selfie” mode that stitches multiple photos together to capture crowds.

Because the Active and Galaxy S8 have identical cameras and camera software, we’re calling this round a draw. We’ll compare the two more closely when we get our hands on the Active, but for now, we’re estimating the same performance.

Winner: Tie

Software

The Galaxy S8 and Active ship with TouchWiz, Samsung’s Android skin. Unsurprisingly, the two versions are identical.

Perhaps the highlight is Samsung’s Bixby assistant, which taps into the 10 different Samsung apps that come pre-loaded on the Galaxy S8 to serve up contextually useful information. It uses voice and image recognition to identify objects, and powers Activity Zone, which shows active lifestyle features such as a stopwatch, barometer, compass, and flashlight. You can also use the Bixby button to trigger the assistant and ask it to perform functions on your phone, like “open the camera app and take a selfie.”

TouchWiz also supports DeX, a docking station (sold separately) that transforms the Galaxy S8 and Active into a fully functional desktop replacement. When the Galaxy S8 is in desktop mode, you get a Windows-like interface that supports mouse and keyboard input, and a suite of apps that can be resized to suit your multitasking needs.

For obvious reasons, wee’re calling a tie between the Galaxy S8 and S8 Active when it comes to software — after all, they come pre-loaded with the same apps.

Winner: Tie 

Price and availability

The Galaxy S8 isn’t cheap, and neither is the S8 Active. Here’s quick rundown of pricing for the two devices.

Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
AT&T
$750, or $25 per month for 30 months
$850, or $28.34 for 30 months
Sprint
$750, or $31.25 per month for 24 months
N/A
T-Mobile
$750, or $30 per month for 24 months with a $30 down payment
N/A
Verizon
$720, or $30 per month for 24 months
N/A

Nonetheless, the Galaxy S8 has a leg (or two) up in the pricing and availability department. It starts at $720, meaning it’s more than $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S8 Active. It’s available from all four major carriers in the United States, too, as opposed to the Active, which is exclusive to AT&T for a limited time. It also comes in six colors (silver, black, gray, blue, rose pink, and gold) compared to the Active’s two (gray and gold).

For those reasons, we’re crowning the Galaxy S8 the winner.

Winner: Galaxy S8

Overall winner: Tie

The Galaxy S8 Active and Galaxy S8 may share the same DNA, but they’re different products for different people.

If you value style, portability, and compactness above all else, the Galaxy S8 is the phone for you. It boasts a stunning edge-to-edge screen and a water-resistant glass body. And more importantly, it’s available from all major carriers in the U.S.

But if you want a smartphone that can stand abuse, the Galaxy S8 Active is the choice for you. It’s a moot point if you’re not an AT&T customer, however, as the Galaxy S8 Active is a carrier exclusive at the moment. If you do choose the Active over the S8, you’re getting a phone that’ll come away unscathed from drops, survive dips in shallow water, and resist scratches from all the sharp objects you’re carrying in your pocket.




13
Aug

New FCC ruling would eliminate net neutrality regulations for ISPs


Why it matters to you

If you’re an advocate of net neutrality rules, then you won’t be happy about a possible upcoming FCC rule change.

Net neutrality is one of the more contentious issues in technology today. The idea that all data should be treated the same regardless of user, content, platform or other factors has its proponents and detractors throughout the political spectrum. Given some recent developments, it is not going to become any less controversial anytime soon. And now, the FCC is extending the timeline for the debate around the subject by two weeks.

When Donald Trump assumed the presidency, he appointed a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Ajit Pai, who long hinted at changing how the FCC regulates the industry in ways that will impact net neutrality regulations. Back in April, Pai made his plans more official, Ars Technica reports.

First up, as Pai announced to the other FCC commissioners, would be an effort to “reverse the mistakes of Title II and return to the light-touch regulatory framework that served our nation so well during the Clinton administration, Bush administration, and the first six years of the Obama administration.” Pai referred here to Title II of the Communications Act, which in 2015 brought fixed and mobile internet service providers (ISPs) under the classification of common carriers.

Title II, therefore, extended the FCC’s full regulatory authority to ISPs, authority that it then used to impose net neutrality rules. The FCC’s previous attempts to do so were denied by a court decision that essentially said the FCC’s rules applied to common carriers but not to broadband providers.

Title II’s revocation will have other effects beyond net neutrality. For example, the ability for ISP customers and competitors to file complaints will no longer be in effect, and disputes between network operators and content providers over payments to ISPs could take longer to resolve.

Unsurprisingly, the proposed rule changes are unpopular among net neutrality proponents and Democrats, who have started planning how they will oppose the elimination of Title II and the subsequent rollback of net neutrality rules as applied to ISPs. Such opposition will come in a number of forms, such as letters from startups, investors and others to Chairman Pai and activism by the Internet Association made up of companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

The opposition has also manifested itself in an extension of the comment period for the FCC’s proposal. Originally set at August 16, the deadline has now been pushed back by two weeks to August 30, giving the FCC more time to carefully examine the 20 million comments regarding the issue.

Hopefully, this extension will allow the FCC to see both sides of the matter more clearly, thereby “ensuring that the Commission has a complete record on which to develop its decisions,” as David Kahn from the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau noted. So hold on, friends — this continues to be one bumpy ride.

Update: The FCC has extended the timeline for debate around net neutrality by two weeks. 




13
Aug

Ben Heck’s Logic Gate board game: the finale


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The team has had their troubles with the Logic Gate board game, so is it time to put it out to pasture? The group meets with Hari from element14 to help determine how much it would realistically cost to bring the product to market with the components used. Karen and Ben discuss the lessons learned from going from Hackmanji to a dedicated logic game. Do you think the team made some wrong decisions? Did they miss something obvious? Let us know over on the element14 Community.

13
Aug

Lack of iPad Pro Smart Connector Accessories Blamed on Long Wait Times for Components


Fast Company published a report this week exploring why third-party accessories that make use of Apple’s Smart Connector remain few and far between, almost two years after the connector first debuted on the iPad Pro. The magnetic Smart Connector allows the iPad Pro to communicate with and power compatible accessories, like the company’s own Smart Keyboard, without the hassle of wires.

The first supporting third-party accessory, Logitech’s Create Smart Connector keyboard, launched the same day as the iPad Pro in late 2015, shortly followed by the Logitech charging base, and more recently a Logitech keyboard for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. However, this close partnership between Apple and Logitech is one of the reasons for the dearth of Smart Connector accessories from competing vendors, according to the report.

“With an iPad Pro keyboard on the market already, we are evaluating the market’s appetite for another iPad Pro keyboard and identifying if there are any gaps that we can fill,” a spokeswoman for Incipio told Fast Company. “So we are developing with having a point of difference in mind rather than developing to be quick to market.”

Other issues are said to relate to procuring Smart Connector components, with manufacturers reporting longer lead times compared to other accessories, making them time- and cost-prohibitive. “For a business like us, we’ve got a very rapid product development cycle,” said one vendor source, who asked to remain anonymous. “When you’ve got a long lead time component that’s close to six months, that’s just not tenable.”

Logitech Create Smart Keyboard
Meanwhile, some accessory makers simply preferred Bluetooth as a better fit, especially for iPad keyboards, with more room for maneuver in terms of accessory design. For instance, the Smart Connector only works with keyboards in landscape mode, whereas some users prefer to type in portrait orientation. The issue of Bluetooth battery life has also been minimized, with smaller batteries now lasting for months rather than weeks.

There are only four Smart Connector accessories currently on the market – three offered by Logitech, one by Apple. Fast Company was told by Apple that multiple companies are now developing Smart Connector accessories, but going on this report, iPad Pro owners looking to further exploit the potential of Apple’s proprietary connector could be in for some wait yet.

Tags: Logitech, Smart Connector
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13
Aug

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny electric skateboards, glowing energy trackers


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Serpent C — tiny electric skateboard

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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: humanity is living in the golden age of rideable technology right now. In the past few years, electric motors have become smaller and stronger, and batteries have become smaller and more power dense — two trends that have coalesced and kicked off a renaissance in personal mobility devices. There are almost too many rideables to keep track of anymore, and they seem to get crazier and more advanced with each passing month.

Case in point? The miniscule Serpent C. As if electric skateboards weren’t compact and portable enough already, these guys went ahead and designed one that’s small enough to fit inside a backpack for easy transport. You don’t get a full deck to stand on, and it’s not quite as beefy/fast/long range as some of the other e-skate options out there, but what it lacks in performance it makes up for in convenience.

Million Mile Light — kinetically powered jogging light

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What if your safety light would only stay lit as long as you kept moving? Sounds strange, but that’s exactly the concept behind Million Mile Light, a freshly-re-launched Kickstarter project that’s “powered by motion and engineered to never give up.” The light, which never needs a battery and, consequently, will theoretically never die. It is powered by a tiny, silent, kinetic engine that allows for four ultra bright LEDs to blink with each step you take.

Kinetic chargers definitely aren’t a new thing. They’ve been around for decades at this point, and can be seen in things like self-winding watches and “shake-to-shine” flashlights. Million Mile Light uses this exact same technology, just for a different purpose. The user’s movement (in this case running or jogging) causes magnets inside the device to move. As they jostle around, these magnets push electrons through surrounding wire coils, which creating the electrical current needed for the LED lights to blink.

SparkMaker — affordable SLA 3D printer

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Back when 3D printing was just beginning to make its way into the mainstream, the only printers available to consumers relied on more or less the same technique to create parts — a process known as filament deposition modeling, or FDM. It’s the type of 3D printing you’ve probably seen before — a printer feeds a strand of plastic filament through a hot nozzle, then carefully deposits the molten goo onto a build plate, layer by layer, to create a 3D object. This is by far the most popular kind of 3D printer, but lately, a technology known as stereolithography has moved in to steal some of the spotlight.

Stereolithography, or SLA, creates objects by flashing a laser up into a pool of photo-reactive resin, which hardens when struck by UV light. Due to the precision of this technique, SLA printers typically create much better parts than FDM printers do. The only problem, however, is that these kinds of printers have been prohibitively expensive for the past few years, so most people haven’t had access to them — but that’s beginning to change. Right now, you can get the SparkMaker for around $145-$160 on Kickstarter, which is pretty amazing.

Glow — Home energy usage tracker

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Interested in tracking your home energy usage, but don’t want to install one of those tricky wired sensors that you require you to crack into your home’s circuit box? Glow might be just what you’re after. In a nutshell, it’s the first home energy monitoring device that tracks your power consumption with a wireless sensor, thereby liberating you from any sort of complex installation process whatsoever.

The system is composed of two devices: a wireless sensor that attaches to the outside of your utility meter box, and the in-home unit which plugs into your wall. The sensor uses a technique called magneto-resistive sensing to monitor electricity as it flows into your home, while the in-home unit sends that information to the Glow app on your phone. If you’re using more energy than you normally do, the beacon will glow red. If you’re using less, it’ll glow green. Pretty nifty, right?

Waylens Sense360 — 360-degree dash cam

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Dash cams are a dime a dozen these days, and for good reason. They’re arguably one of the smartest and most valuable accessories you can add to your car. In the event of an accident, dash cam footage can prove invaluable for insurance purposes, and can help settle disputes if you ever find yourself in court over something that occurred (or didn’t occur) on the road.

But not all dash cams are created equal. The recently-announced Dash camera from portable speaker manufacturer Vava might just be one of the most versatile and full-featured dash cams to date. Thanks to it’s 360-degree HD camera, “the Secure360 captures with clarity what’s happening in and around your car, giving you insight into any event.” On top of that, “it relies on a suite of advanced low-power sensors to watch for abnormal movement or motion outside the car. If an unusual event is detected, the camera instantly turns on and starts capturing everything that’s happening, streaming video to the Waylens Cloud and pushing a notification to the owner’s smartphone in real-time.”




13
Aug

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny electric skateboards, glowing energy trackers


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Serpent C — tiny electric skateboard

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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: humanity is living in the golden age of rideable technology right now. In the past few years, electric motors have become smaller and stronger, and batteries have become smaller and more power dense — two trends that have coalesced and kicked off a renaissance in personal mobility devices. There are almost too many rideables to keep track of anymore, and they seem to get crazier and more advanced with each passing month.

Case in point? The miniscule Serpent C. As if electric skateboards weren’t compact and portable enough already, these guys went ahead and designed one that’s small enough to fit inside a backpack for easy transport. You don’t get a full deck to stand on, and it’s not quite as beefy/fast/long range as some of the other e-skate options out there, but what it lacks in performance it makes up for in convenience.

Million Mile Light — kinetically powered jogging light

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What if your safety light would only stay lit as long as you kept moving? Sounds strange, but that’s exactly the concept behind Million Mile Light, a freshly-re-launched Kickstarter project that’s “powered by motion and engineered to never give up.” The light, which never needs a battery and, consequently, will theoretically never die. It is powered by a tiny, silent, kinetic engine that allows for four ultra bright LEDs to blink with each step you take.

Kinetic chargers definitely aren’t a new thing. They’ve been around for decades at this point, and can be seen in things like self-winding watches and “shake-to-shine” flashlights. Million Mile Light uses this exact same technology, just for a different purpose. The user’s movement (in this case running or jogging) causes magnets inside the device to move. As they jostle around, these magnets push electrons through surrounding wire coils, which creating the electrical current needed for the LED lights to blink.

SparkMaker — affordable SLA 3D printer

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Back when 3D printing was just beginning to make its way into the mainstream, the only printers available to consumers relied on more or less the same technique to create parts — a process known as filament deposition modeling, or FDM. It’s the type of 3D printing you’ve probably seen before — a printer feeds a strand of plastic filament through a hot nozzle, then carefully deposits the molten goo onto a build plate, layer by layer, to create a 3D object. This is by far the most popular kind of 3D printer, but lately, a technology known as stereolithography has moved in to steal some of the spotlight.

Stereolithography, or SLA, creates objects by flashing a laser up into a pool of photo-reactive resin, which hardens when struck by UV light. Due to the precision of this technique, SLA printers typically create much better parts than FDM printers do. The only problem, however, is that these kinds of printers have been prohibitively expensive for the past few years, so most people haven’t had access to them — but that’s beginning to change. Right now, you can get the SparkMaker for around $145-$160 on Kickstarter, which is pretty amazing.

Glow — Home energy usage tracker

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Interested in tracking your home energy usage, but don’t want to install one of those tricky wired sensors that you require you to crack into your home’s circuit box? Glow might be just what you’re after. In a nutshell, it’s the first home energy monitoring device that tracks your power consumption with a wireless sensor, thereby liberating you from any sort of complex installation process whatsoever.

The system is composed of two devices: a wireless sensor that attaches to the outside of your utility meter box, and the in-home unit which plugs into your wall. The sensor uses a technique called magneto-resistive sensing to monitor electricity as it flows into your home, while the in-home unit sends that information to the Glow app on your phone. If you’re using more energy than you normally do, the beacon will glow red. If you’re using less, it’ll glow green. Pretty nifty, right?

Waylens Sense360 — 360-degree dash cam

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Dash cams are a dime a dozen these days, and for good reason. They’re arguably one of the smartest and most valuable accessories you can add to your car. In the event of an accident, dash cam footage can prove invaluable for insurance purposes, and can help settle disputes if you ever find yourself in court over something that occurred (or didn’t occur) on the road.

But not all dash cams are created equal. The recently-announced Dash camera from portable speaker manufacturer Vava might just be one of the most versatile and full-featured dash cams to date. Thanks to it’s 360-degree HD camera, “the Secure360 captures with clarity what’s happening in and around your car, giving you insight into any event.” On top of that, “it relies on a suite of advanced low-power sensors to watch for abnormal movement or motion outside the car. If an unusual event is detected, the camera instantly turns on and starts capturing everything that’s happening, streaming video to the Waylens Cloud and pushing a notification to the owner’s smartphone in real-time.”




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