Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Asus Chromebook Flip with Touchscreen

Google has been putting their OS on a lot more devices lately, like the Asus Chromebook Flip and the Asus Chromebit. This spring, the Chromebook Flip comes out with a touch screen that rotates 360 degrees. The Chromebit comes out this summer, and it will let you use the Chrome OS on your HDTVs.

The Asus Chromebook will have a price tag of $249, and looks a lot like one of the Yoga notebooks. It has a 10.1 inch IPS display and weighs less than 2 pounds even with it's all metal chassis. It will be powered by a Rockchip 3288 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC flash memory. There will also be a more expensive version that will have 4GB of RAM and 16GB of SSD storage. It will have 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, and will be able to last for up to 10 hours on a full charge.

Right now the Chrome OS is not optimized for touch screens yet, so it is a bit unusual that they added one to this notebook. Not only that, but it's pretty odd that they would add a touch screen to a budget system at all. Hopefully it works out great and the added feature really pays off.

As far as what's under the hood, the Chromebit has  pretty much the exact same stuff as the Chromebook Flip actually. It is a little bit bigger than a regular thumb drive and will have an HDMI port and a USB 2.0 port that it will be powered by. It will be able to connect to the Internet via 802.11ac Wi-Fi and it also has Bluetooth capabilities.

Asus is not the only company that is coming out with new Chromebooks though. Haier and Hisense have both announced 11 inch Chromebooks that seem to have the same internals as the new Asus coming out this spring. The only major difference is that they will cost about $100 less than the Asus. Of course, it doesn't look like they will have a touch screen, but if the Asus touch screen doesn't go over well because of the operating system, then you might spend $100 dollars less and have something that is less troublesome. I guess we will find out soon enough when we can get our hands on them!

Content originally posted here

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Samsung's Galaxy S6 Can Do 7 Things Apple's iPhone 6 Can't

Photo Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is now available and it won't take long before people start throwing out comparisons of the phone to the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus). People will vehemently defend either their iPhone 6 or their Galaxy S6, saying what each phone can and can't do. Well a neat little video (which can be viewed below) popped up over at Business Insider showing some of the things the new Galaxy S6 can do that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus definitely can't.

The fist thing that the S6 can do that the iPhone 6 can't is launch the camera app from literally any screen. By simply double-clicking the Home button the Galaxy S6's camera app will instantly launch. You could be on your home screen, in an app, surfing the web and you have instant access to your camera app. What makes this feature even better is that you can even do this from the lock screen meaning you'll never miss another perfect photo opportunity again!

Once your camera app is launched you can then take a picture with the front-facing camera by tapping on the sensor on the back of the phone. We've all experienced the struggle of trying to take a selfie by ourselves or with a group and fumbling around with the picture button on the front of the screen. This new sensor is located in a more natural location for where your finger will most likely be when taking pictures with the front-facing camera. In addition to that, you can also take pictures with the front-facing camera by tapping anywhere on the screen.

One of the coolest new features is the ability to multitask by running multiple apps on the same screen. Placing your finger in the top left corner of your screen when an app is running allows you to drag and resize the app screen, much in the same way you can on a computer screen. When this is happening the app is still running in its own window, allowing you to open up other apps, resize them and multitask to your heat's content.

Health and fitness apps are all the rage these days and a lot of smartphones are starting to come with these apps pre-installed. However, the Galaxy S6 does you one better as it has the technology already built into the phone. By tapping the S Health app you can check your body's heart rate by placing your finger over the back sensor when prompted.

Battery life in smartphones is one of the key things that developers are always trying to have over each other. The longer your smartphone can go without needing to be charged is a huge selling point but most smartphones don't have many options for conserving battery life aside from lowering the screen brightness. The Galaxy S6 comes with a Power Saving Mode and an Ultra Power Saving Mode, allowing you to adjust how much battery your phone is burning through.

Speaking of battery life, another detriment to some smartphones is the duration of the charging period. Well, the Galaxy S6 can charge fast, I mean really fast. According to a video within the video Samsung's Justin Denison can be heard telling a crowd of people that the Galaxy S6 only takes 10 minutes of charging to get up to 4 hours of everyday use. Denison also states that to charge from 0 to 100 takes roughly half the time of the iPhone 6. The Galaxy S6 also supports wireless charging (wireless charging pad sold separately).

When it comes to debates between smartphones, especially the Samsung Galaxy Series and Apple's iPhone Series, everybody claims that their phone can do things the other can't. Well, this video shows you 7 things that the Galaxy S6 can do that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is actually incapable of doing. Check out the video below!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Has Your iOS Device Been Hacked By The CIA?

Let me start this out by stating that we, in no way, can confirm any particular reasoning, whether it be beneficial or malicious, as to the CIA's attacks on Apple's devices and software. That being said, if you own any type of Apple device that has come out since the release of the first iPhone, there are some recent developments that you should definitely be aware of.

While we don't know everything for sure, we do know that the CIA and the NSA have been making attempts to hack into Apple's security networks. This has come as a shock to just about every consumer that has found out about it. Of course when asked about it, the CIA had no comment on the story.

So what exactly has even been happening, you may wonder. Since the first generation iPhone was in development, The CIA have been have been both sponsoring and attending an event call "Jamboree". This event was designed to figure out the latest and best tactics at cracking Apple's security codes and developer tools. One Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, has come out and shown some of the slides that were presented at one of the previous Jamboree events. The slides explain multiple efforts to weaken and break through Apple's security within their multiple devices. One of the slide's even talks about creating and infected version of Apple's Xcode.

Xcode is the development code used to design applications on both iOS and OS X devices. The "dummy" code would allow access to all of the applications utilizing a backdoor implanted within the code itself. This particular "whacked" code would be targeted at budding developers who might be unfamiliar with the original, unaltered Xcode. Should these newer developers end up using the tampered Xcode, they would be allowing a backdoor to be created within the program, unknowingly of course. Needless to say, this type of tampering and targeting towards newer developers is violating more than a few laws.

As far as we know, there have not been any successful attempts at cracking into Apple's security encryptions. That being said, this doesn't mean that we as consumers and the developers are safe from the prying CIA. They are still very capable of weakening the security of Apple devices, as well compromising any app developed by the developers that fall prey to the CIA and their infected code.

What type of data was the CIA even planning to take from us? Well apparently they've been looking to ascertain the GID keys used by our devices. A GID key would be used to track a single user on one device. The GID key, however, would be used to gain access to an entire product line as they likely use the same application processor. If the CIA were to get their hands on these GID keys, they'd be able to create their own type of firmware to install on an entire product line that shares the same app processor, thus allowing for mass surveillance.

Again, there is no confirmation as to the reasoning that the CIA has for these malicious attacks on Apple's product security. That being said, this is disturbing to say the least.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Gates & Musk On The Inevitable A.I. Apocalypse

Bill Gates is arguably one of the smartest men in the world; his passion for technology cannot be understated. In addition to that Gates is also one of the biggest philanthropists in the world, but his outlook isn't positive on all things, namely artificial intelligence.

Image Credit: Simon Davis/DFID

Ask Me Anything - Gates

During a recent Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Gates answered questions on topics that ranged from his biggest regrets to his favorite foods and outlined his predictions on the future, predictions that are both optimistic and ominous.

About halfway through the Q&A Gates was asked what personal computing will look like in 2045, to which Gates responded by saying that the next 30 years will be a time of rapid progress. Gates wrote, "Even in the next 10 years problems like vision and speech, understanding and translation will be very good. Mechanical robot tasks like picking fruit or moving a hospital patient will be solved. Once computers/robots get to a level of capability where seeing and moving is easy for them then they will be used very extensively."

Personal Agent Project

Gates then went on to talk about Microsoft's "Personal Agent" project, which is being designed to help people manage their memory, attention and focus. According to Gates, "The idea that you have to find applications and puck them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model - the agent will help solve this. It will work on all your devices."

Responses from the Redditers was mixed, with some users poking fun at Gates and others raising suspicions. "This technology you are developing sounds at its essence like the centralization of knowledge intake," wrote one users. "Ergo, whoever controls this will control what information people make their own. Even today, we see the daily consequences of people who live in an environment that essentially tunnel-visions their knowledge."

Summoning The Demon? - Musk

Naturally, this segued into a discussion about the threat of superintelligent machines to the human race. This question has been at the forefront of a lot of recent discussions among the world's leading futurists, including Stephen Hawking, who stated last month that artificial intelligence "could spell the end of the human race". Back in October at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's Centennial Symposium, Tesla head Elon Musk referred to A.I. as "summoning the demon".

Musk wrote, "I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it's probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don't do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. in all those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it's like yeah he's sure he can control the demon. Didn't work out."

British inventor Clive Sinclair stated that he things A.I. will doom mankind. "Once you start to make machines that are rivaling and surpassing humans with intelligence, it's going to be very difficult for us to survive," Sinclair stated. "It's just an inevitability." In his interview, Gates put himself on the side of the alarmed.

Should We Be Concerned?

"I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don't understand why some people are not concerned."

Interestingly enough, Gates' comments come just after the managing director of Microsoft Research's Redmond Lab stated that the doomsday declarations about the threat to human life are over exaggerated.

"There have been concerns about the long-term prospect that we lose control of certain kinds of intelligences," said Eric Horvitz. "I fundamentally don't think that's going to happen. I think that we will be very proactive in the terms of how we field AI systems, and that in the end we'll be able to get incredible benefits from machine intelligence in all realms of life, from science to education to economics to daily life." Horivtz also noted that "over a quarter of all attention and resources" at Microsoft Research are focused on artificial intelligence.

The A.I. Apocalypse

Whether or not artificial intelligence is inevitably the end of mankind is still up for debate, but the good news, at least as far as I'm concerned, is that we still have a long time before any of that happens. Hopefully it's enough time for us to realize we're making an army of terminators before Arnold has to come back and fix things for us.


Just For Fun:

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Rodent-Sized Computer Is A Mouse AND A Desktop In One!

In Poland, a guy just created the craziest compact PC that you will probably ever see. His new invention is called "The Mouse Box", and it is literally small enough to fit inside a regular computer mouse says a software engineer from Nokia.

Is It A Mouse Or A Computer? Or Both?

Not only can it fit inside of a mouse, but that is exactly what it is: a computer inside of a mouse. With the Mouse Box, you really don't have to worry about traveling with your computer at all. You could probably fit it inside of your pocket actually. By combining a computer and a mouse into one thing, you literally have the two most important aspects of a desktop PC all in one.

But What Are The Specs?

Under the hood of this little guy, there's: a 1.4GHz processor, 128 GB of flash storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, a micro HDMI port so that you can connect it to just about any monitor or even a TV, two USB 3.0 ports, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer. And keep in mind, this is all inside of a mouse.

Which OS Will It Handle?

So far we don't really know what operating systems are able to run on the Mouse Box. But other than that, it has everything it needs to run a lot of programs and process a lot of data. Of course, you will also be able to greatly increase your productivity by using the cloud to for storage.

MouseBox Could Use Your Help!

Right now, the company plans to hopefully launch the product in a few months. At the moment, they are still building prototypes and working on a wireless charger for the Mouse Box. They are also working on trying to find financial backing to make all of this a lot smoother, easier and faster. With a product like this, I feel like it won't be that hard to find investors; though it appears they are still looking for donations and funding. Perhaps the best thing about the Mouse Box is the fact that it is going to be a relatively inexpensive device, so you'll be able to take one home soon!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Look Out iPad Mini, Nvidia's Shield Tablet Is Coming For You

Apple, You Have More Competition

While the iPad may be considered to be "THE" tablet to have, Nvidia's new Shield tablet offers an experience so similar, it's almost scary. First off, the actual feel of the tablet mimics that of the iPad. Everything from the curves to the edges takes influence directly from the iPad, and it's pretty plain to detect once it's in your hands. That being said however, the tablet itself is a bit bigger than the iPad Mini 3. The Shield tablet is a bit heavier, thicker, and taller than the Mini 3, but that doesn't REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things. The Shield comes with a full HD 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display and full stereo speakers on the front as well. In terms of consuming content and basic/light tablet use, it just might be better than the Mini 3
The "Not-For-Gaming" Gaming Tablet

Nvidia is known as a gaming company, and they've even released a console (The Shield Portable). It would be easy to assume that the tablet that they've released would be best suited for gaming, simply by association and track record. The tablet itself can, in fact, game on the go much like the Shield Portable. The only drawback is all of the accessories you need to game properly. What accessories? Well a controller for one and a reliable network for the other. Then if you want to get into multiplayer, you can, even on the same tablet! The problem is that you're gaming on a tablet device with a touchscreen between 4 different people. If your network isn't working well enough, then don't expect to play any top level games either. Enjoying gaming streams works well enough, if you plan on indulging in basic gaming app play.

Tablet Rentals For Business And Personal Events

It Could Be The "Perfect" Media Tab

Being marketed as a gaming tablet could have it's drawbacks for the Shield. Reason being, that it is quite an excellent media tablet. One of the biggest reasons for this is the addition of a stylus with the tablet itself. As long as you have a strong enough connection, you can stream all sorts of software directly to your tablet. For example, Photoshop. Any artist that knows the program well enough has the perfect drawing tablet right in their hands, especially since the touch screen is pressure sensitive as well. Of course, streaming outside of your home might take a bit longer because of the lack of strength with the connection.

The Shield tablet comes with an optional magnetic case, which is highly recommended. It also costs only a fraction of the price of a Galaxy Tab or an iPad Mini 3. It gives the overall, same experience as any other top level tablet, and at only $300 starting price. It's definitely worth checking into.

If you're still having second thoughts about the Nvidia Shield, next year's model is said to have a 64-bit processor, making it even faster!


BlackBerry Is Getting Back To Their Roots With Their New Phone, But They Add The Android App Store

BlackBerry has decided that after almost going out of business and being the underdog for years, they are going to get back in touch with their roots. There are putting out a brand new phone that is inspired by their classic design, except this time they are going to have an Android app store.

The phone is called the BlackBerry Classic. It is going to be shipping out to retailers some time in the middle of December, and there is going to be an official launch event on December 17th.

The Classic is bringing back what originally made BlackBerry what it is. It is going to have a physical QWERTY keyboard underneath it's screen, which is going to be 3.46 inches. It will also have a small trackpad just like the good old days, along with home, back, and menu buttons.

The keyboard isn't the only option to use though. The screen will actually be a touchscreen with 720p high definition with a pixel density of 291 pixels per inch. It also has a dual core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded with the use of a microSD card. Other features include an 8 megapixel camera in the back and a 2 megapixel camera in the front which is perfect for video calling.

The operating system is BlackBerry 10.3.1, and you can still download all of the BlackBerry apps from their own app store. On top of that, you will be able to get Android apps as well. This was one of the biggest things that made people hate BlackBerry. Their app store sucked and offered almost nothing, and Android was killing it with seemingly millions of super useful and fun apps. Now you get to have that with your BlackBerry.

This is going to be a 4G LTE phone, but it won't work with Verizon, Spring, or US Cellular. If you have anything else and you are interested in giving this phone a shot, you should be able to do so.

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