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6
Oct

Puerto Rico governor will discuss Tesla solar systems with Elon Musk


Following hurricanes Irma and Maria, millions of Puerto Rico residents were left without electricity and it’s expected to take months for power to be restored. Well one person mused on Twitter whether Elon Musk could help out by rebuilding the island’s electricity grid with solar and battery systems and Musk responded that it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 5, 2017

Like he said in his tweet, Musk and his companies have done this before. After Tesla acquired SolarCity last year, the company revealed that it had converted the island of Ta’u from diesel generator-based power to solar energy using thousands of solar panels and Tesla Powerpacks for energy storage. Tesla also brought its solar power and energy storage system to the Hawaiian island of Kauai as well as California earlier this year. And these systems don’t take terribly long to get up and running. In the case of California, the Ontario station only took three months between groundbreaking and running.

I would be happy to talk. Hopefully, Tesla can be helpful.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017

The potential must have sounded appealing to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello who tweeted at Musk that they should talk. Tesla has already shipped hundreds of its Powerall battery systems to the island and maybe that will be just the beginning. We could hear more very soon since it looks like Rossello and Musk will be talking today.

Let’s talk today; I will be in touch. I have no doubt #Teslasolar will work w/#PuertoRico to globally showcase the power of its technology. https://t.co/wJcm9fCNVV

— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 6, 2017

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6
Oct

Boeing buys Aurora, an autonomous drone company


Boeing has announced that it’s buying Aurora Flight Sciences, a company that is developing autonomous flying vehicles. Aurora’s strengths are in creating aircraft that take off and land vertically, and is looking to eliminate pilots from the equation entirely. The company has been working on such technology for the better part of three decades, and also worked with Uber on its own flying taxi project.

Aurora’s main business is in advancing the world of military aircraft, and has won several contracts from NASA and DARPA. Most famously, the company won funding to build phase two of the VTOL X-Plane — beating out both Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The VTOL X-Plane (codenamed LightningStrike) promises to achieve top flight speeds of up to 400 knots with a more efficient hover and lift-to-drag ratio.

It’s believed that Boeing will buy the company to help bolster its own expertise in autonomous aircraft and VTOL technology. It’s likely that the bulk of that knowledge will be used to develop military vehicles, although we can hope that it will also trickle down to drone taxis and the like. It’s not clear how deep Aurora’s relationship with Uber went, or if that deal has ended now that Boeing is in charge.

The deal is structured so that Aurora will exist as an independent subsidiary under the Boeing brand, although without direct control. Although it’s worth saying that the company will have access to the aerospace giant’s vast R&D and financial resources.

Source: Boeing

6
Oct

The best USB-C adapters, cables, and hubs


By Nick Guy

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read the full article here.

After 10 hours of preliminary research, we tested more than 25 USB-C accessories to put together this guide to the best ways to connect peripherals and devices to a USB-C–equipped computer. It’s by no means exhaustive. USB-C can, in theory, replace every other port, and there are a seemingly infinite number of port combinations you might encounter. We focused on the most important tasks you’ll likely face, such as connecting older peripherals like hard drives and hooking up an external display.

How we picked and tested

Each type of adapter or connector we evaluated required different kinds of testing, but we were able to use some common tests across the board. Our main testing machine was a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports), with ancillary testing done using a 2016 Dell XPS 13, our pick for the best Windows ultrabook. We tested the data-transfer speed of the USB ports on hubs and adapters using our favorite flash drive from SanDisk with the AJA System Test app, repeating the test three times per device. To test USB-C–to–USB-A cables, we connected Samsung’s Portable SSD T3 (one of the fastest drives with a USB-C connection) to the Dell XPS 13 and ran CrystalDiskMark.

We tested video adapters using a Dell P2715Q (our pick for the best 4K display), Intel’s Skull Canyon NUC computer, an older VGA monitor, and a 1080p TV. We measured the refresh rate using the Blur Busters Motion Tests.

For connecting older USB gear: USB-C–to–USB-A adapter

You can use two Aukey adapters simultaneously on the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models, but it’s a tight fit. Photo: Kimber Streams

If there’s a single accessory most people with a USB-C–only computer will need, it’s a USB-C–to–USB-A adapter. Available as either a small nub or a short cable, this kind of adapter lets you connect legacy USB accessories, including flash drives and cables, that have a traditional USB-A plug. We tested nine adapters and found that they all work equally well. Our favorite nub-style adapter is Aukey’s CB-A1-2, available in a two-pack for less than $10. The plastic-bodied dongle is a little over an inch from end to end, about half an inch wide, and barely thicker than the USB plug that you’ll connect to it.

If you prefer a short cable over a nub adapter, go with Anker’s USB-C to USB 3.1 Adapter. The black cable feels sturdy and has solid housings at the ends. The advantage of a cable over a nub is that it moves the connector away from the computer a bit—about 5 inches in this case—which can make connecting bulkier devices without blocking other ports easier.

For video, USB-A, and charging from a single USB-C port

The Sanho (left) and Satechi (right) models are identical, inside and out. Photo: Kimber Streams

Our favorite adapters for adding USB-A ports, connecting to HDMI displays, and powering your computer at the same time are Sanho’s HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub and Satechi’s Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter. They’re identical in every way, including design, performance, and MSRP. Each consists of a solid-feeling aluminum block that connects to your computer via a permanently attached, 6-inch USB-C cable. On one edge are two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port—the latter only for passthrough charging—and a single HDMI port is found on the end opposite the cable. Unfortunately, each USB port provides a maximum of only 0.45 amps to connected devices, so neither adapter is well-suited for charging devices or powering bus-powered hard drives.

For video only: USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable

The Cable Matters USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable has a clip to keep the DisplayPort plug securely connected to your monitor. Photo: Kimber Streams

If you’re connecting to a DisplayPort-based monitor, you’ll need a dedicated cable—none of the adapters we tested include a DisplayPort port. (If you’ve got a MacBook with only a single USB-C port, you’ll instead need to use an HDMI-to-DisplayPort cable with one of the adapters with an HDMI port.) Every USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable we tested worked perfectly, offering a pixel-perfect image and full 60 Hz performance, even at 4K. That said, we recommend Cable Matters’s USB-C to DisplayPort 4K 60 Hz Cable if it’s available. It’s the only one of the three cables we tested that has a clip on the DisplayPort plug housing to hold the plug in place—you have to squeeze the clip to release the cable from the port.

For multiple older USB devices: USB-A hub

Photo: Kimber Streams

For those who don’t need video output but still want passthrough power and multiple ports for older peripherals, we like HooToo’s HT-UC004 Shuttle USB 3.1 Type-C Hub. It’s wider and thicker than the HDMI-equipped adapters from Satechi and Sanho, but a lot less expensive. In addition to a USB-C port that supports Power Delivery for passthrough charging, it includes three USB 3.0 ports, as well as an SD card slot—the latter something we didn’t consider necessary for this category, but a nice extra. However, as with other adapters, the HooToo’s USB ports provide only a disappointing 0.45 amps for charging—you won’t be able to charge phones or tablets at anything near full speed, and some bus-powered devices, such as hard drives, may not work properly.

For power and data between USB-C devices: USB-C–to–USB-C cable

Photo: Kimber Streams

Chance are you’ll eventually need a USB-C–to–USB-C cable for charging and connecting USB-C devices. You’ll find a ton of inexpensive options, and though we’d normally lean toward saving a few bucks on cables, that’s not worth the risk with USB-C: Some cables that don’t adhere to the USB-C specification can actually fry your computer. You should spend a little bit more to get something that’s verified to work safely with your machine.

Based on the testing he and Google engineer Benson Leung have done, Nathan K., a member of Google’s Top Contributors Program and an independent USB-C accessory tester, recommends J5Create’s JUCX01 in his accessory guide, where it’s ranked “definitely get.” We tested the cable ourselves, and though our tests weren’t as exhaustive, the cable worked well for us. It supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds of up to 10 Gbps, as well as 5-amp and 100-watt charging, and it’s USB-IF certified. Put simply, it will charge your computer as fast as possible (as long as you’re using the right charger) and will move data as fast as USB can. Every JUCX01 also has a unique serial number, so if the company ever has a recall or support issue, you’ll know if your cable is affected.

If you’re not concerned about moving data at the fastest speeds, Apple’s USB-C Charge Cable is a great charge cable that’s a bit less expensive than our top pick. (Just be sure to get model MLL82AM/A in a rectangular, not square, box.) It offers 5-amp, 100-watt charging (the most power USB-C is designed to provide), but supports only USB 2.0 data speeds, so it will be considerably slower than the J5Create if you’re transferring data.

For charging USB-C devices: USB-C charger

Photo: Kimber Streams

In 2015, PCWorld ran a test comparing USB-C chargers across different laptops and found that no single charger could even charge every computer, let alone charge them all rapidly. For this reason, we recommend using whichever charger came with your computer, or an adapter specifically recommended by your computer’s vendor. If it’s too difficult or expensive to replace your computer’s stock charger, we like Apple’s 61W USB-C Power Adapter because it’s widely available and works with many non-Apple devices. You can read about this adapter and our other recommendations in our guide to USB-C chargers.

For connecting to VGA projectors and displays: USB-C–to–VGA adapter

Photo: Kimber Streams

If you need to connect to a projector or an older monitor with a VGA connection, the best option is Kanex’s USB-C to VGA Adapter. All the adapters we tested worked equally well, pushing out 1920×1080 resolution at 60 Hz. The Kanex model is one of the least expensive we found, it comes from a very reputable brand, and it has the longest cable of any VGA adapter we tested—a longer adapter cable gives you more flexibility for connecting video cables, and reduces the stress those heavy cables put on your computer’s ports.

For connecting to HDMI monitors and TVs: USB-C–to–HDMI adapter

Photo: Kimber Streams

The best way to connect a USB-C computer to a high-definition TV or monitor, even at 4K resolution, is to use Anker’s USB-C to HDMI Adapter. All five of the adapters we found that promise a 60 Hz refresh rate worked as advertised. The Anker is our pick because it’s fairly inexpensive, it has a nice metal body, and it works with the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro. Some other models either explicitly warn that they don’t work with the newest Macs or have customer reviews claiming as much.

For connecting to legacy chargers and older computers and peripherals: USB-C–to–USB-A cable

If you’d like to connect a USB-C device to an older computer or charger that has only USB-A ports, you’ll need a USB-C–to–USB-A cable. If you’re concerned more about charging speeds than data-transfer speeds, we recommend Anker’s PowerLine USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable. Much like Anker’s Micro-USB and Lightning versions of the cable, this one features a simple design and good construction at an affordable price. We saw power draw approaching 3 amps when we plugged it into a high-amperage USB-A port, and its data speeds were on a par with every other USB 3.0 cable we tested.

At this point, very few devices support the 10 Gbps data rate that USB 3.1 Gen 2 cables can offer, so we don’t think most people need to spend the extra money on a Gen 2 cable. If you can take advantage of those speeds or would like to future-proof, we recommend Google’s USB-C to USB-A Cable. It matches the charging rates we’d expect, and though we measured read speeds of 3.49 Gbps and write speeds of 3.32 Gbps on the USB 3.1 Gen 1 Samsung T3, it’ll theoretically support faster speeds with faster devices. The build quality is also really nice: The cable is thinner than that of many other models, and the well-designed strain-relief collars should help prevent breakage over time. It even has a built-in plastic clip for keeping the cable coiled.

For connecting to DVI displays and projectors: DVI adapter

We found only a handful of DVI adapters that claim to handle 1920×1080 resolution at 60 Hz, and the best among them is StarTech’s USB-C to DVI Cable. Unlike the other adapters we tested, this one doesn’t require a separate DVI cable: It has a USB-C plug on one end and a male DVI connector on the other. In our tests, the resolution and refresh rate were exactly as promised.

If you need an adapter with a female DVI connection, Cable Matters’s USB 3.1 Type C to DVI Adapter also did well in our tests, but reviews on Amazon suggest issues with some MacBook Pro models.

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

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

6
Oct

There’s a tiny Master Chief etched inside the Xbox One X


The Xbox One X, Microsoft’s mid-generation answer to the PlayStation 4 Pro, is launching next month. The $500 system is a more powerful version of the Xbox One that will “enhance” games up to 4K and 60 frames per second. Other than its beefier specs, we haven’t learned much about the new console, but YouTuber unocero got one early and popped it open and found a couple surprises — namely, a depiction of Halo’s Master Chief riding a scorpion that’s etched into the system’s circuit board.

The engraving is a twofold joke: First, as a nod to the Xbox One X console’s working name, Project Scorpio, and second as a reference to Xbox mascot Master Chief, who often drives a battle tank type nicknamed — you guessed it — the Scorpion. If you’re really attached to the console’s old codename, there’s even a 1TB Project Scorpio edition of the Xbox One X available for preorder. The system goes on sale November 7th.

Via: CNET

Source: YouTube

6
Oct

Google Home can help you find your phone when asked


As teased by Google at its Pixel 2 launch event earlier this week, its Home speakers can now actively ping your phone when you’ve misplaced it. (It’s down the couch cushions, I bet.) For Android devices, the smart speaker will actually call your phone even if silenced. The feature works with iOS too, although it’s a more like a typical phone call. Calling out “ring my phone” or “where’s my phone” will stir the Home Speaker into action. And if, like some Engadget editors, you have multiple phones to find, Home will call each device before cycling on to the next one. But, like I keep telling you: it’s down the side of the couch. Can’t you just check there?

Via: 9to5Google

Source: Android Police

6
Oct

Nike’s NFC-powered NBA jerseys are a door to exclusive goods


When the National Basketball Association’s 2017-2018 season tips off on October 17th, it will mark the beginning of a new era for the league. For the first time in more than a decade, all 30 teams are going to wear Nike uniforms on the court. The company is replacing Adidas as the NBA’s main apparel sponsor, after its sportswear rival decided not to renew a deal that had been in place since 2006. Now, as part of Nike’s plan to create novel experiences for fans through this partnership, it is launching jerseys from every NBA squad with a technology called “NikeConnect.”

The jerseys feature authentication tags powered by Near-Field Communication (NFC), which can be paired to an iOS or Android device via a companion NikeConnect app. People who buy these will get access to exclusive content from their favorite team and players, including personalized videos, pictures, GIFs, tickets and game highlights directly from the NBA. Not surprisingly, Nike is also using the tech as an opportunity to sell you stuff, so you’ll have the chance to buy limited-edition products, such as sneakers and other gear that’s suggested based on whose Connect jersey you’re rocking.

Based on our NikeConnect demo, everything works seamlessly and with little effort. To connect your jersey to your phone or tablet, all you have to do is fire up the NikeConnect app, wait for a “Ready to Scan” prompt, tap your device on the NFC hangtag and, voila, you’re good to go. After that, you’ll be greeted by a video message from a player on the team whose jersey you bought. Right now, because the season hasn’t started, certain content is from last year. But Nike says that as soon as the new campaign begins, you’ll see game highlights, GIFs and new products pop-up.

In addition to those offerings, Nike’s teaming up with Spotify to serve you playlists curated by NBA athletes. And there’s also a 2K18 tie-in, which will give you “boosts” to use in the video game. Again, all of the content you’ll see in the app is based on whichever NBA Connected jersey you have. Say yours is from the Warriors’ Kevin Durant — then you should expect your app’s feed to be filled with stuff related to him. That includes being able to buy limited-edition versions of his signature shoe, which will give you an advantage over shoppers who don’t have a jersey.

Nike says the key with Connect was to not sell the jerseys at a premium, or at least not for more than NBA jerseys tend to cost. They’re priced between $110 and $200, with the most expensive being the “Authentic” models, which are made from the same materials as the ones NBA players wear. You’ll notice subtle design cues throughout the jerseys, such as a golden tag that pays homage to the number of championships your team has won. The stitched Swoosh logo on the front is also notable, particularly because the league didn’t let Adidas display its own in years past.

Beyond its current app functionality, which may be a bit gimmicky, there’s plenty of potential for Nike to use Connect in more ways. What if the company adopted the technology to fight counterfeits? Something like what’s being done in football, where NFC tags are being used to help teams keep track of memorabilia. When asked that question, a spokesperson said the company’s certainly looking into all options available, though nothing is officially in the works at the moment.

IMG_4967.jpg

Nike’s focused on making Connect work with the NBA at the moment, but it’s only a matter of time before it brings its jersey tech to other sports. The company already has a deal with the National Football League, as well as some of soccer’s biggest clubs, including F.C. Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Juventus. And with the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia just around the corner, so don’t be surprised when Nike-sponsored teams who make it to the tournament sell kits with NikeConnect in them.

You can buy the NBA Connected jerseys online right now, while brick-and-mortar retailers will have them on October 12th. Just don’t expect to see LeBron James or Stephen Curry wearing one with NFC tags when they play, as the tech is designed to be only for fans of the sport, not the actual players. Maybe that’ll change in the near future.

6
Oct

Cortana can command your smart home devices on Windows 10


Now that Google has unveiled the new additions to its Home speaker lineup and Sonos has launched its own Alexa-enabled device, Microsoft seriously has to hurry up if it wants its assistant to have a shot at finding a place in our homes. Even though we may finally be close to seeing the Cortana-enabled Harman Kardon Invoke speaker arrive in stores, Microsoft is still lagging its rivals in the smart home race. The company may be trying to catch up, and has added a new “Connected Home” section to the Cortana Notebook menu in some Windows 10 PCs.

If you’re using a Windows 10 computer, just type “Cortana Notebook” into the Start menu. You should see a new item called Connected Home. After you enable this, Cortana can connect to smart home services like Hue, SmartThings, Nest, Insteon and Wink. These are the only five options available at the moment. I was able to sign in to my Hue account, but Cortana kept pulling up Wikipedia search results when I asked her to turn on my lights. That failure to communicate with Hue is something we’ve noticed before, so you might have better luck with the other four services.

According to Windows Central, the Connected Home feature is also available on Windows 10 Mobile, so you may be able to try it if you’re one of the few people using a Windows phone. We’ve been expecting Cortana to get smart home integrations on the PC for awhile now, so this isn’t the most surprising news. Still, Microsoft hasn’t officially announced this update, and we’ve reached out for more information on when it will roll out to everyone and what services will be compatible.

Via: Windows Central

6
Oct

Katherine Adams to Become Apple’s New General Counsel as Bruce Sewell Set to Retire This Year


Apple today announced that Katherine Adams will join Apple as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal and Global Security this year. She will serve as the chief lawyer of Apple’s legal department and report to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Katherine Adams, left, will replace Bruce Sewell as Apple’s general counsel
Adams will replace Bruce Sewell, who has served as Apple’s general counsel since 2009 and will be retiring at the end of the year.

Apple’s general counsel oversees all legal matters, including corporate governance, intellectual property, litigation and securities compliance, global security, and privacy, according to Sewell’s executive bio.

Cook said Adams is a “seasoned leader with outstanding judgment” in her field. He also offered best wishes to Sewell.

We are thrilled to welcome Kate to our team. She’s a seasoned leader with outstanding judgment and that has worked on a wide variety of legal cases globally. Throughout her career she’s also been an advocate on many of the values we at Apple hold dear.

Bruce has our best wishes for his retirement, after eight years of dedicated service to Apple and a tremendously successful career. He has tirelessly defended our IP, our customers’ right to privacy and our values. Bruce has set a new standard for general counsels, and I am proud to have worked with him and proud to call him a friend.

Adams said “it’s an honor” to join Apple.

Apple has had a tremendous impact on the world and it’s an honor to join their team. I’m excited to help Apple continue to grow and evolve around the world, protecting their ideas and IP, and defending our shared values.

Sewell said the eight years he spent working at Apple have been the “most gratifying” of his entire career.

To have worked with this amazing executive team and all the incredibly smart people at Apple, especially my colleagues in legal and global security, has been the honor of a lifetime. The years I have spent in this job have been the most gratifying of my career. I’m delighted Kate is joining and I know she will be a huge asset.

Adams was most recently senior vice president and general counsel of Honeywell, where she had worked since 2003. Prior to then, she was a partner at New York law firm Sidley Austin LLP. She has also served as a law clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court and as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sewell came into the spotlight twice last year during Apple’s separate battles with the FBI and Spotify.

Tags: Bruce Sewell, Katherine Adams
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6
Oct

Review: Logitech’s Circle 2 Brings HomeKit Compatibility and a New Design


Logitech’s Circle 2, introduced in June, is the second-generation version of its Circle home security camera. This new version features a redesigned body, wired and wire-free versions, accessories that let it be positioned anywhere, and, through a recent update, HomeKit support.

Circle 2 is meant to be used as a home security device and it’s ideal for keeping an eye on your house while you’re away from home. It’s also great for keeping an eye on pets and children, and even communicating with the two-way microphone. Circle 2 connects to a home WiFi network and offers cloud functionality that lets you view video anywhere.

I’ve been using a Logitech Circle camera for two years now sans HomeKit functionality, so I was eager to check out the HomeKit version. This is only the second HomeKit-compatible camera available on the market, and with the new design, the Logi Circle app, and cloud upload ability, the Circle 2 easily beats out the D-Link Omna as the best HomeKit camera you can buy at the moment.

Though Logitech offers both wired and wire-free versions of the Circle 2, HomeKit only works with the wired version because Apple requires an always-on camera connection, and that’s not how the wire-free Circle 2 works.

Design and Features

The wired version of the Circle 2 consists of a small palm-sized camera module that attaches to a base with a pivoting neck, allowing the camera to be positioned and rotated into an ideal angle to work with any room setup. The base can be attached to a wall with a wall mount, and the camera module itself is detachable from the base because it can connect to other accessories like a plug or window mount.


Circle 2 has a white shell around it, and the camera base is also white. It’s a simple, attractive design that melds into the decor around it. There’s no mistaking this is a camera, though. It has a wide camera lens and an LED light that comes on when it’s activated, but that can be turned off for a slightly more discreet look. At the back, there’s a 10-ft power cord that needs to be plugged into the wall.


Since it uses a wide angle lens, the camera works best attached to a wall or placed right at the edge of a shelf or other flat surface. Because of the ball joint in the mount, it can be angled in just the right way to get an ideal view of the room.


Circle 2 is IP65 weatherproof, so it can be used indoors and outdoors. Logitech says it will stand up to rain, snow, cold, and heat. Mine withstood some light water exposure, and while I kept it indoors, weatherproofing is a great addition over the first version of the Circle. You will need a strong WiFi connection to use it outside, though, which can be difficult to get outdoors.

The D-Link Omna, the other HomeKit camera on the market, is not weatherproof and it is not as easy to position and move around with no malleable joint for adjustments, giving Circle 2 the clear edge.

Circle 2 features a camera with a 180-degree field of view, which is an angle wide enough to take in most of a room and wider than the field of view of the original Circle. My office is fairly large and the Circle 2 can capture almost all of it from end to end. Since it is a wide angle camera, there is clear distortion at the edges of the image.


Circle 2 captures 1080p video that’s crisp and clear, even in situations where the lighting is not ideal. The bump in quality is most noticeable in lower light and in situations where I use the built-in zooming feature. To save bandwidth, there are also settings for 720p and 360p video.

At night, when the lights are off, the Circle 2 switches over to an infrared night vision mode that’s able to capture movement from 15 feet away. Night vision mode is clear enough to show everything going on in my office, and it comes on reliably as soon as the lights go off.


Though you can zoom in on the video feed from the Circle 2 and manually adjust the placement of the camera, there are no controls for adjusting or rotating the view remotely as the camera is static.


There’s a built-in speaker and microphone in the Circle 2 to enable a two-way talking feature through the Logi Circle app. The speaker is loud and it’s easy enough to understand someone on the other side of the camera through the phone, but it’s not super clear. Because there’s a microphone, video recordings also include sound.

Setup

Since the Circle 2 went on sale in June but HomeKit functionality wasn’t added until September, existing Circle 2 users will need to go to a little extra trouble to get HomeKit working.

New Circle 2 units should come with a little card that has a HomeKit code on it, but existing models and the test unit I received don’t have an easily accessible HomeKit code. To get to the code, the camera needs to be separated from its base and the protective white skin needs to come off so the HomeKit activation code assigned to the device can be located.

The eight digit code is engraved into the back of the camera in tiny numbers and letters, and this is the eight digit code that needs to be entered to pair the device with HomeKit.


Setting up the HomeKit functionality is a little odd because first you need to add the camera to the accompanying Logi Circle app by following the included directions, add it to your WiFi network, and then create a Circle account to access your cloud camera footage.

After the Logi Circle app is set up, the camera also needs to be added to HomeKit using the add accessory feature in the Home app. If there’s no included HomeKit insert to scan, the Circle 2 can be added to HomeKit using the aforementioned eight digit code. Setting up the Circle 2 isn’t the most straightforward process, but it still takes just a few minutes to get going.

App and HomeKit Integration

Logi Circle App

Circle 2 uses cloud storage and offers no local storage option, so all video needs to be viewed through the accompanying Logi Circle app. Circle 2 records snippets of video whenever motion is detected, with no always-on recording option available. The exception is live view – you can open the app at any time to see what’s going on in your home.


The camera is decent at continuing a recording for as long as it detects movement, but since it’s motion based, there are times where the recording cuts off too early or starts recording a bit late. This has never been a serious problem for me because it generally captures most of what I need to see in a given snippet, but some users may prefer always-on recording so nothing is ever lost.


With camera activation tied to motion, the app is organized into a series of video snippets that are time stamped. The app generally opens to a current live view, but you can scroll up to see earlier recordings. With the free plan, the Circle 2 stores 24 hours of motion-based footage.

Recordings are time based and are gray for times when minor movement is detected or blue when high activity is detected. Using the Event Filter at the right hand side of the app, recordings can be filtered by day or high activity level, but there are no more granular options for finding footage from a specific time and date.


The Logi Circle app is always in landscape orientation, so you’ll need to hold your iPhone in landscape mode when using it. The app also always displays the full zoomed out room view, but with pinch gestures, you can zoom in up to 8x. There’s no native zoom built into the camera, so this is digital zoom, and the quality isn’t great. At 1x to 3x zoom, the picture remains fairly clear, but definition is lost at 8x.


On the main app screen, there are options to take a photo or use the microphone feature in the app to speak through the Circle 2’s speaker. There’s also a “Day Brief” option which is a neat little feature that creates a quick video of all of the motion that was detected over the course of the last 24 hours (time period is customizable with premium subscription).


In the Settings section of the app, accessible through the hamburger button on the left, there are options to turn the camera off, turn on smart alerts for notifications when movement is detected, and activate a privacy mode, which prevents the Circle 2 from recording footage or sending alerts, though streaming continues.


Notifications from the Logi Circle app can be customized based on activity level and limited to when you’re away from home with Smart Location, and you’re also able to select how often you want to receive notifications when movement is detected. There is a setting to customize motion zones for notification purposes, but it’s limited to premium users.


Circle 2’s motion detection and notification features are somewhat lacking because of the limited amount of customization. The app does not offer a way to schedule alerts for specific times of the day, and there are no alerts for audio activity. I’ve continually found the alert settings to be difficult to use, confusing, and not robust enough.

The Settings section of the app also offers options for adjusting the field of view, changing the resolution, adjusting the microphone sound level, turning off the speaker, or turning off the LED that indicates when the Circle 2 video feed is being viewed through the app.

The app supports multiple cameras, so if you have more than one, you can switch between them using the menu option at the top of the app. All settings will need to be customized individually for each camera.

HomeKit

With HomeKit integration, the video feed from the Circle 2 is available right within the Home app on all of your devices, including Apple Watch. You can ask Siri to do things like “Open the camera in the office” or “Show me the camera in the office” to open it up. You can’t view recordings from the Logi Circle app in HomeKit — it’s live feed only.


When away from home, to view the Circle 2 feed in the Home app, you’ll need an Apple TV or iPad that serves as a home hub for remote access. You’ll also only be able to watch the HomeKit feed from one device at a time.


The motion detection features of the Circle 2 can be used in Automations in the Home app, but the functionality is fairly limited. You can, for example, have a light turn on or a door lock/unlock when motion is detected, but that’s about it. Your automations can be customized by time and location, but there are no options for motion sensitivity or motion zones.


So in a nutshell, I can set the Circle 2 to do something like turn on the lights when motion is detected while I am at home at night, but I haven’t found any of the motion detection options to be particularly useful in my HomeKit setup. The most useful application may be doing something like turning on the lights when movement is detected to deter thieves when you’re away from home.

In the Home app, beyond viewing the camera feed, you can use the microphone and speaker for conversations and mute the sound, and you can enable HomeKit notifications. Notification settings are somewhat buried, and can be accessed by a 3D press on the Logi Circle Motion Detector icon in the Home app.


You can set the Circle 2 to send a notification when motion is detected, and the notifications can be set to display at a specific time or by location, so you can do things like suppress notifications when you’re home or in the mornings.

HomeKit notifications are distinct from notifications that are sent from the Logi Circle app, which is somewhat confusing. If you have both sets of notifications enabled, you’ll get two notifications for every motion alert. HomeKit notifications have an edge over Logi Circle notifications, though, as they are rich notifications that include an image snapshot.


Two types of notifications each with different options that don’t combine is a hassle to deal with, so it’s best to pick just one. With the Circle app you can choose notification frequency, activity level, and set motion zones (premium) but there are no time-based filters. With HomeKit notifications, you can limit notifications to set times, but can’t customize frequency, activity level, or activity type.

Paid Service

Logitech offers a premium subscription service called Circle Safe, which is priced at $3.99 or $9.99 per month. Circle Safe gives you 14 or 31 days of stored footage, up from 24 hours with the free plan, and it includes several features that are not otherwise available.

Circle Safe Basic, which offers 14 days of storage, is priced at $3.99 per camera per month. Circle Safe Premium, which offers 31 days of storage, is priced at $9.99 per camera per month, which is expensive if you’ve got more than one Circle camera.

Motion zones, a Circle Safe Premium feature
With the Circle Safe Premium feature, you can also set motion detection zones and use the Circle 2’s people recognition feature to customize the motion detection alerts you receive. With people recognition, you can get an alert only when a person is detected, and with motion zones, you can set the camera to only send a notification when a specific area in the camera’s field of view is triggered, like a front door vs. the entire entryway.

Premium subscribers can also customize the timespan included in the Day Brief, while free members and Basic subscribers see 24 hours, and there’s an option to filter footage to see only snippets where people were detected.

I’ve never subscribed to Circle Safe and I don’t think it’s necessary to get what you want out of the camera, but it’s a must if you want to save footage in the Logi Circle app for more than a day.

Bottom Line

If you want a camera that’s compatible with HomeKit, the Circle 2 is the camera to get. It’s one of the only HomeKit-equipped cameras on the market right now, and it’s better than the competition.

Even without taking into account HomeKit, the Circle 2 is a good home camera. When I reviewed the original version, I didn’t think it measured up to some of the other home security cameras on the market, but Logitech has made a lot of feature improvements since then. I do wish local storage was an option, there were better tools for customizing recording times, and that motion detection zones weren’t limited to paid users, but even without those features, Circle 2 has solid features to offer.


With weatherproofing and the new enclosures, Circle 2 can be placed almost anywhere that needs monitoring and the free service Logitech offers is enough to operate the camera and record data without feeling like an overwhelming number of features are restricted.

There are still significant improvements that could be made to the Circle app, like better organization for viewing older video snippets, additional alert types, and more options for automating alert times, and it doesn’t measure up to some of the more robust dedicated home security systems like Arlo, but it’s easy to use, flexible, and competitively priced.

I wouldn’t adopt Circle 2 as a whole home security system given the pricing of the premium plan, but it works well in a single room and is useful for keeping an eye on pets, babies, kids, and other people who might be in your home.

Pros:

  • 1080p video recording
  • Two-way microphone/speaker
  • Cloud storage
  • Adjustable body
  • Night mode
  • HomeKit
  • Multiple mounts

Cons:

  • No local storage
  • Premium subscription is expensive at $9.99/month per camera
  • Features limited without subscription
  • No always-on recording option
  • Gaps in recording
  • Notification system is confusing

How to Buy

The Logitech Circle 2 wired camera with HomeKit support can be purchased from the Logitech website for $179.99.

Note: Logitech provided MacRumors with a Circle 2 for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tags: HomeKit, Logitech, Circle 2
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6
Oct

EFF Says iOS 11’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Toggles in Control Center Are Misleading and Compromise Security


Apple recently confirmed that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are not fully disabled when toggled off in Control Center on iOS 11, and the change has generated some fresh criticism from a prominent non-profit digital rights group.

For background, when Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are toggled off, an iPhone or iPad on iOS 11 merely disconnects from a Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth accessories. The actual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios in the device remain activated.

Moreover, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth automatically reenable at 5:00 a.m. local time each day, or if the device is restarted.

iOS 11 works this way so that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth continue to be available for AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot.


As a result of the change, the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that iOS 11 compromises users’ security. In a critical article, the EFF said the toggles are “misleading” and “bad for user security.”

When a phone is designed to behave in a way other than what the UI suggests, it results in both security and privacy problems. A user has no visual or textual clues to understand the device’s behavior, which can result in a loss of trust in operating system designers to faithfully communicate what’s going on. Since users rely on the operating system as the bedrock for most security and privacy decisions, no matter what app or connected device they may be using, this trust is fundamental.

The EFF said the “loophole in connectivity” can potentially leave users open to new attacks, and it linked to a white paper that unveils apparent zero day vulnerabilities and security flaws in modern Bluetooth stacks.

The article added that, at a bare minimum, Apple should keep the Control Center toggles off until the user flips them back on, rather than overriding the user’s choice at 5:00 a.m. local time the next morning.

Overall, the EFF’s arguments are generally the same as those shared by iOS 11 users who are unhappy with the change. The toggles still behave the same in the iOS 11.1 beta, however, so there’s no indication Apple will reverse course.

iOS 11 users can still completely disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for all networks and devices by toggling them off in the Settings app. A device can also be placed in Airplane Mode with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled.

In a support document, Apple said users should try to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on for the best experience on an iOS device.

Tags: Control Center, Bluetooth, EFF
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