Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Surface Studio teardown reveals hidden ARM chip and removable hard drive

Microsoft started shipping Surface Studio orders a little earlier than expected last week, which means iFixit has started tearing down the all-in-one PC. As this is a computer, there aren’t too many surprises to be found, but the teardown does reveal a few things about Microsoft’s approach to this unusual PC. The first is a noteworthy ARM chip found lurking behind the 28-inch display. iFixit doesn’t explain the presence of an ARM chip on an Intel-powered x86 PC, but the processor is actually present to help power Microsoft’s PixelSense display.

Elsewhere, iFixit also reveals just how upgradeable the Surface Studio is, and it’s not good news if you were hoping to upgrade to the latest and greatest hardware in the future. Microsoft has soldered the RAM, CPU, and GPU to the motherboard, so the configuration cannot be changed down the line. However, you can replace the hybrid drive (SSD and HDD) without disassembling the display, as the components are housed in the base. iFixit rates the Surface Studio as 5 out of 10 on the reparability scale, the same score as Apple’s 5K iMac.

The article was published on : theverge

PogoCam is a unique, modular take on camera glasses

Camera glasses aren’t a new idea, but Spectacles — the camera-equipped sunglasses from the company that made Snapchat — are the kind of product that can open the floodgates. One of the first ideas through those gates is being announced today from a small company called PogoTec. But instead of making glasses with a camera inside, PogoTec has gone a different, modular route. 

The company wants to replace the round support wire in the arms (or “temples”) of glasses with a flat one, magnetize it, and then cut away part of the surrounding plastic to expose the metal. They call this design “PogoTrack,” and the company says it has partnered with “a number of glasses frame companies” to incorporate the idea into their products. 

PogoTec won’t say who those partners are yet, but Richard Clompus, the company’s vice president of communications, showed off about 30 different styles during a short briefing last week. The whole point of this idea is that you’ll be able to attach any one of a suite of PogoTec products to a pair of glasses without being limited on design, or being left out in the cold if you wear prescription lenses. And the first product PogoTec plans to make for these glasses is, of course, a camera

The article was published on : theverge

Google Earth’s Timelapse update illustrates 30 years of climate change

The team behind Google Earth released an update today to the timelapse feature of its satellite imagery app, and it’s a great way to see the rapid pace of urban development and public infrastructure projects like the San Francisco Bay Bridge. It’s a cool feature, letting anyone jump into any location and watch as is morphs over the years. But there’s another, more sobering and neccesary function of Google Earth: seeing how human-driven climate change has transformed the planet in just 32 years time. 

The new update adds another four years of data — stretching now from 1984 to 2016. It also includes petabytes of high-resolution imagery from two new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2, so we can see in even clearer detail the effects of carbon emissions and other manmade factors on glaciers, sea levels, and forest lines. 

As Popular Science points out, an obvious example is the recession of the Exit Glacier in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. You can also jump over to the coastal areas of Louisiana or the bodies of water in Nebraska to see how the effects of natural disasters and droughts are exacerbated by climate change. To check out the timelapses for yourself, head over to the Google Earth Engine and start exploring. 

The article was published on : theverge

LeEco’s phones and TVs will be at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target beginning December 1st

Chinese tech company LeEco had its US launch last month, with most of its products available online via its LeMall website. This week, however, you’ll be able to buy them from US-based retailers, including Best Buy, Target, and Amazon.

TechCrunch reports that LeEco will begin selling its smartphones and televisions via third-party sellers starting December 1st. This includes the $399 LePro 3 smartphone, which received LePositive reviews by Lauren Goode for its looks, speedy software, and competitive pricing. (Note that the products will be sold online only, they’re not yet available in stores.)

Though LeEco products will be available through those third-party retailers, the company is incentivizing customers to buy directly from LeMall by offering rebate deals ranging from $80 to $200. Buyers are also eligible for a free subscription to DirecTV Now if they buy a TV or phone from LeMall before January 5th. 

The article was published on : theverge

You can actually buy Zotac’s VR backpack PC now

Zotac released the VR Go today, joining MSI in the relatively small club of companies that are actually shipping wearable VR backpacks. For those who are unfamiliar, VR backpacks are wearable gaming computers meant to allow for untethered room-scale virtual reality environments — they’re the future of VR, at least until we manage to advance technology for wireless headsets or can compress the demanding hardware for virtual reality into a more easily worn form factor.

The Zotac VR Go offers around two hours of battery life per charge, with hot-swappable batteries to let you quickly get back into the action. While that may not sound like a lot, it's actually pretty good for what is essentially a wearable, battery-powered desktop gaming PC. Spec-wise, the VR Go offers an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, quad-core 2.8 GHz Intel Skylake Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 240GB M.2 SSD. Both the RAM and storage space can also be easily upgraded should you need more memory. 

A truly portable VR system doesn't come cheap through, with Zotac selling the VR Go for $1,999.99. This is in addition to the actual VR system you'll still need to buy (unless you just want to be able to wear your computer for some reason). The Zotac VR Go is already sold out on Amazon, but you can order one now to ship as soon as more are in stock.  

The article was published on : theverge

Meizu’s new flagship phone is the Pro 6 Plus

Meizu has announced the Pro 6 Plus, a more powerful version of its Pro 6 flagship phone from earlier this year. There’s a bigger, sharper screen, a new processor, a larger battery, and more.
Here’s the list of important specs:
  • 5.7-inch 2560x1440 OLED screen
  • Samsung Exynos 8890 processor (as used in the Galaxy S7)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 12-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing
  • 3400mAh battery
  • 7.3mm thick
  • USB-C
The Pro 6 Plus is also the first phone to run Flyme 6, the latest version of Meizu’s Android skin; it has over 400 new features, according to the company, and is powered by an “AI Engine” called One Mind, whatever that means.
The Pro 6 Plus should be out soon in China, and its LTE connectivity is expected to work around the world in case you want to import.

The article was published on : theverge

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Amazon is reportedly cracking down on fake products

Counterfeit products have been a big problem on Amazon for years, and even a recent lawsuit claimed 90 percent of “official” chargers sold on the site are actually fake. Amazon is now finally taking action against scammers in a bid to clean its marketplace up. Bloomberg News reports that Amazon has acknowledged internally that the counterfeit problem is getting worse, and that it has made fighting fakes a “major goal” for next year. 

Amazon is reportedly preparing a registry to prevent fakes, and working with brands to register with the site even if they don’t plan to sell goods. Amazon will then require any marketplace merchants to obtain brand permission before they can sell products from that company. Amazon has even been experimenting with Nike and others companies to build the registry, but the e-retailer will target thousands more brands next year to try and convince them to sell products on Amazon’s marketplace.

A number of brands have been reluctant in the past to sell goods through Amazon, deterred by the large amount of fake goods. Bloomberg News reports that Amazon tried to convince the NFL and MLB to sell merchandise through its online store, but that the talks stalled due to the lack of control over existing fake products. 

The article was published on : theverge

Apple’s next iPhone could have a curved screen

Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup might include a model with a curved screen similar to Samsung’s Edge devices, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. Apple’s suppliers told the paper that they were asked to “increase output of thinner organic light emitting displays and submit prototype screens with better resolution than ones from Samsung.”

But with that in mind, the company is also reportedly considering more than 10 prototypes, so a curved display might not make it to market.

We’ve heard this rumor before when it was coupled with the idea that at least one of Apple’s new phones would include an OLED display. We’ve also heard that the 2017 iPhone lineup will include three devices: two 5.5-inch models differentiated by their displays, and a 4.7-inch model. The larger models may include dual cameras.

The article was published on : theverge

The next iPad might be Apple’s first iOS device with no home button

It’s been rumored fairly regularly in recent months that Apple wants to remove the iPhone’s iconic home button and integrate its functionality into one seamless front display. But it turns out the iPad might be the first iOS device to undergo this significant change. 9to5Mac spotted a new Makotakara report that claims Apple’s upcoming 10.9-inch iPad won’t feature any physical home button at all — a design decision that will allow a larger screen to fit into the same-sized footprint as today’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Instead, the company could put the home button’s functions (including Touch ID) underneath the display glass like some smartphone makers are already doing. 

The next iPad will also include thinner bezels, according to the report, which notes that these outward upgrades will come with one tradeoff: increased thickness. The 10.9-inch iPad will measure 7.5 millimeters thick, Makotakara claims, which is about the same as Apple’s original iPad Air from 2013. The uptick in product depth is likely necessary to make room for the iPad’s battery and the display technology that supports Apple Pencil. 

Previous reports, including one from the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, have suggested that this larger iPad would have a 10.5-inch screen. But Makotakara also has a strong track record when it comes to Apple hardware rumors, and they’re saying it’ll be 10.9 inches. This time, anyway. Back in October, the Japanese site guessed that it’d be a 10.1-inch display, so who knows! Gotta love gadget rumors.
The home button’s removal is the bigger aspect of this story — assuming that part proves accurate. With Apple expected to launch this iPad in the first half of 2017, it could help ease consumers through the transition months before the next iPhone. The iPhone 7 introduced a capacitive home button that doesn’t actually move when pressed, but it sounds like the iPad might skip that approach altogether.

The article was published on : theverge

Sling TV is launching a cloud DVR next month

Dish’s Sling TV is gearing up to take on PlayStation Vue and AT&T’s upcoming DirecTV Now service with the launch of a new cloud DVR service. The new service, which will launch in an invite-only beta for Roku users next month, will allow users to record up to 100 hours of live TV with the ability to record multiple shows simultaneously.

The move is a direct shot at PlayStation Vue, which also has a cloud DVR but only allows users to keep content for 28 days. In its announcement, Sling specifically noted that users will be able to keep their content for longer than 28 days. To keep space available, the cloud DVR will delete the oldest, viewed content when you run out of space.

While the beta will be free for users, Sling TV did note that the 100 hours of cloud DVR storage comes “at no charge,” leaving room for the service to add a fee when it rolls out to all users. The company noted that the service will evolve through the beta period to include more storage and the ability to “protect recordings.”

Sling users interested in getting into the invitation-only beta can sign up at The company says the beta will eventually expand to other platforms over the next few months.

The article was published on : theverge

AT&T users will be able to stream DirecTV Now without using their data

At an event in New York City today, AT&T has announced that its mobile subscribers will be able to stream its new DirecTV Now service without using their data. The now common industry strategy, known as zero rating, is controversial to say the least, with the FCC telling AT&T earlier this month that it may be violating net neutrality by zero rating the standard DirecTV service.

Currently, T-Mobile has been offering data-free use of music and video services for years, and Verizon has made its Go90 service free of data charges for all of its subscribers. The difference with AT&T is companies have to pay to be included in its data free program, but DirecTV is owned by AT&T, which means the companies are essentially just moving money around. 

Despite the current concerns from the FCC, the incoming Trump administration may not be convinced about the merits of net neutrality, or share the same opinions about zero rating as the current administration. AT&T is just the latest to challenge the FCC’s ruling, but with a new, and likely more lenient administration — at least on net neutrality — the bet to go against the FCC may just pay off.

DirecTV Now will be available on November 30th, and will offer over 100 channels starting at $35 a month for a limited time.

The article was published on : theverge

The Canopy Magic Keyboard case is a good way to lug a full keyboard around, if you must

Here are a couple facts: physical keyboards are easier to type on than touchscreen keyboards, especially for prolonged periods of time. Physical keyboards also take up space and, honestly, you have to be extremely committed to keyboards to ever want to carry one around with you. We’ve seen multiple covers with built-in Bluetooth keyboards for tablets, like Apple’s Smart Keyboard, as well as more specialized cases for products like Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. But now a company called Studio Neat is releasing a new case for Apple’s Magic Keyboard, so users can sync it to their iPads or iPhones while on the go. The case is called Canopy and it’s pleasing to look at:

It’s also practical for any of you who are carrying your Magic Keyboard around with no case. I’m not sure how large of a subset of the population needs this fix, but I’m glad someone is doing the design work. Other Magic Keyboard cases already exist but the Canopy, at least in my opinion, looks the nicest. It’s studious in a sophisticated way. The Canopy is available to preorder for $40, and although the company hopes to ship it by Christmas, it says it can’t guarantee delivery by then.

The article was published on : theverge

SD cards will soon get rated for app performance

A new classification system for SD cards is designed to help customers understand how well each product will perform when used to run apps. The first class is called A1, and has been defined as part of the Secure Digital 5.1 spec released by the SD Association; other classes will come later. 

App Performance Class A1 cards require sustained sequential performance of 10 MB a second as well as 1500 random read IOPS (input/output operations per second) and 500 random write IOPS. As Anandtech notes, that sequential performance requirement isn't too demanding; UHS Speed Class 1 and regular Speed Class 10 cards already have to hit 10MB a second. 

It's the additional regulation of IOPS performance that matters, something that's become necessary as SD cards have evolved from a pure file storage format to a form of flash memory that's often used to run applications. 

Some cards may offer solid sequential performance but not have the random read/write capability to be suitable for use as the primary storage in mobile devices, for example — something that became more common with the launch of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. With the new App Performance ratings, it should be easier to have an idea of the performance you'll get. 

The article was published on : theverge

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sony announces limited Final Fantasy XV Walkman, headphones, and speaker for Japan

After over a decade of on-off development, Final Fantasy XV is finally landing on a console near you tomorrow. (Stay tuned: our review is coming later today.) And what better way to celebrate than a limited edition Sony Walkman? No better way, that’s what.
Thankfully, Sony is releasing the Walkman A-Series Final Fantasy XV Edition in Japan tomorrow starting at 33,880 yen ($300ish) for a 16GB model. It supports Hi-Res Audio and comes with little pixel-art Final Fantasy characters on the back.

Also, it has “special icons” only to be found on this Final Fantasy model. You can see the dramatic difference when compared to the boring, regular Walkman software here:

eah, us neither.
Sony is also releasing Final Fantasy XV-branded 24,380 yen ($220) hear.on MDR-100A headphones and a 29,380 yen ($260) hear.go SRS-HG1 Bluetooth speaker tomorrow, both of which you can see below. All of these products are likely to remain eternally exclusive to Sony Stores across Japan, unfortunately.

The article was published on : theverge

Thousands of Australians risk losing service in 2G network shutdown

THOUSANDS of Australians could discover their mobile phones are as useless as bricks next week when the country’s largest 2G network is permanently switched off. 
It’s the beginning of the end for the network that delivered phone calls during the Sydney Olympic Games but will be completely phased out in less than a year.
Experts warn as many as 250,000 Australians are still using the network and some will be unprepared for its demise.

Telstra will be the first carrier to switch off its 2G network on Thursday next week, at which time anyone using a 2G mobile phone or a 2G SIM card will no longer be able to make phone calls or send text messages. Even calls to emergency services may no longer connect.

Telstra device management director Andrew Volard said the company had been contacting its 2G customers for the past 18 months in “text messages and physical letters” to warn of the network shutdown.

But he said some customers might not know their old SIM card was unable to deliver a modern mobile connection.

“Some people might have a more recent devices, like a 3G or 4G phone, but they still have a 2G SIM card,” he said. “You could look at the physical SIM card, to see whether it has 2G on it, or check the indication on your phone in case it shows 2G, GPRS, or Edge.”

In addition to 2G phones, including old favourites like the Nokia 5110, some medical devices and security alarms also use 2G network connections and may stop uploading information.
“Users need to make sure their doctor but also the supplier of the equipment knows the 2G network is shutting down,” Mr Volard said. “We don’t want people to get caught short.”

Telstra’s 2G network will be the first to shut down, but Optus will retire its 2G service in April next year, and Vodafone will follow in September.
An Optus spokesman said the company would contact customers before Christmas to explain the changes.

The article was published on :

Hijacked headphones could be listening to your private moments right now

HACKERS could hijack your headphones to slyly record your secret conversations, researchers have warned.
By developing a prototype code that uses a unique form of malware, Israeli security researchers from Ben Gurion University demonstrated how software could convert headphones into microphones to eavesdrop on the user.

Headphone speakers convert electromagnetic signals into sound waves through a membrane’s vibrations.

The malware works by programming these membranes to work in reverse and convert the vibrations in the air back into electromagnetic signals to capture the audio of someone using a headset from across a room.

Using this experimental method, which they have subsequently named “Speake(a)r”, the researchers were able to show how it’s possible to hijack a device to record audio even when its microphones have been disabled, or even completely removed.

The Ben Gurion researchers were able to make this a possibility due to a vulnerability in RealTek audio codec chips - the stuff that makes your computer software compatible with the audio hardware - to retask the computer’s output channel as an input channel, allowing the malware to record audio even when the headphones don’t even have a microphone channel on their plug, or are connected to an output-only audio jack.

As the RealTek chips are very common in most modern desktops and laptops, the researchers claim their prototyped attack will work on practically any computer, be it Windows or MacOS.

The article was published on :

Here’s a cool but insanely complicated way to make Google Home turn on your fireplace

Just like Amazon Echo when it launched, the Google Home can do a bunch of stuff for your smart home – but not everything. Some people are patient enough to wait for updates. Others, like Reddit user Hovee, decided to create their own solution for the most sexy of smart homes.

With the voice command “Turn on my fireplace,” Hovee was able to get Google Home to respond with “Okay, let’s get lit” then ignite the flames like it ain’t no thang.

Except of course, the steps to making the magic happen are quite involved. Hovee’s detailed instructions on how to make your own setup is insanely complicated, requiring a Raspberry Pi, a relay switch, and hella wiring. You’ll also need an IFTTT account to get it all running. Other Reddit users say you might not need to do all of this if your fireplace supports remote switches, in which case you can just use WeMo, Wink, or other simplified home automation tools.

So if you have some down time need a little project to busy yourself with during the holidays, here’s a little something to impress the family (or the ladies) with.

The article was published on : theverge

This is the best way to put a microscope in your pocket

Using a microscope to get a closer look at the world around you has never been easier — especially when you have your phone to help. There are quite a few clip- and stick-on lenses that turn your smartphone’s camera into a basic microscope, and they all let you make any number of small but surprising discoveries about the world around you. Like the fact that freshly cut hair can look like brittle strands of uncooked spaghetti when viewed up close, or that the surface of a dried black peppercorn is meteoric in its detail; full of tiny ridges and craters. 

The phone-microscope kit I’ve been playing around with lately is called Blips. I backed it on Kickstarter earlier this year, and it’s now available for anyone to pre-order. For $30 you get a pair of plastic lenses — one micro and one macro — in a matchbook-like bit of packaging, and, uh, that’s it. More expensive Blips kits include a stand and light source to better illuminate your subject, but if you’re a newcomer to this sort of home microscopy, the basic version will do you just fine. 

Blips is pretty great, but isn’t without its difficulties. The fact that it just sticks onto your phone with tape makes it ridiculously easy to set up, but also gives it a limited shelf life. For me, the tape lost its stickiness after about three weeks, and I lost the micro lens one day just taking my phone out of my pocket. You might, of course, be more careful than I was, but losing your purchase is a definite downside — especially when compared to more permanent clip-on lenses.  

The article was published on : theverge

Tokyo Thrift special: ‘It’s a Sony’ exhibit shows off decades of decadent design

I’ve been doing the Tokyo Thrift column for the best part of a year now, and it’s been a lot of fun covering a wide range of Japanese gadgets that otherwise might not get much attention in 2016. One name keeps popping up, though: Sony. It’s easy to see why, since the Japanese giant was the dominant force in consumer electronics throughout the second half of the 20th century, and is well known for its commitment to engineering innovation and occasional design hubris. Products like the Eggo headphones, Rolly, and VAIO P really couldn’t have come from anywhere else.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the iconic, soon-to-be-demolished Sony Building in Ginza, Tokyo. To celebrate the company’s 70th anniversary, Sony is replacing its flagship location with a public park that it hopes will become a new landmark in the city. And until construction starts next year, the building is hosting a wonderful exhibition called “It’s a Sony,” which places hundreds of devices on show from the company’s inception to the present day. 

This will be the last Tokyo Thrift of 2016, since the last Sunday of the year falls on Christmas Day. Although this is the first time I haven’t actually gone out and bought a product for the column, I thought it would be a good way to draw a line under the year — and maybe Sony itself — by covering a huge number of gadgets at once. This way, I can shift focus to other companies next year.

The article was published on : theverge

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies at 90


Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday 26/11/2016. He was 90.


iPhone 8 to come without Jony Ive’s touch?

Apple is preparing a design overhaul with its launch of iPhone 8 next year. In a similar effort, the company appears to be putting a lot of effort into ensuring that no leaves remain unturned. Incidentally, Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer at Apple will not be designing next year’s iPhone.

Ive is reportedly less involved in the iPhone design process. Instead, he is more focused on other projects at Apple including the new spaceship campus.

‘I’ve heard that he (Jony Ive) has lately been checked out or not as directly involved with product design and that he’s been largely focused on architecture,’ said Apple expert, Jason Snell during John Gruber’s ‘The Talk Show’ podcast. ‘Meaning the spaceship capus and the new stores. And that maybe the other top-level executive who’s been working the most with Ive is Angela Arhendts,’ he added.

The 2017 iPhone will mark the 10th anniversary of iPhone. If rumours are believed to be true, the iPhone 8 could come with an all-glass body and metal frame. The company is also reportedly exploring ways to eliminate bezels and introduce OLED screens. Additionally, expert analysts speculate that the display could integrate an all front-facing part such as the FaceTime camera and the Home button.

The article was published on : deccanchronicle

Folding EcoHelmet for cyclists wins Dyson inventor award

The designer of a folding, recyclable bike helmet has been named as this year's winner of the James Dyson Award.

Isis Shiffer made the EcoHelmet from recycled paper woven into a honeycomb structure to protect the cyclist's head from impact from any direction.

It is covered in a biodegradable coating that makes it rainproof for up to three hours.    
Ms Shiffer, a graduate of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, also gets £30,000 for winning the competition, which is open to university students or recent graduates.

She said: "I was lucky enough to be studying at Royal College of Art and the Imperial College of London for a semester, and was granted access to Imperial's crash lab.

"They had a European standard helmet crash set-up that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet's proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing."
She explained the plan was to sell the EcoHelmet at bike-share stations, such as those in London, for £4 per helmet. 

James Dyson, the man who invented the bagless vacuum cleaner, said: "EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way.
"But its simplicity belies an impressive amount of research and development. I look forward to seeing EcoHelmets used in bike shares across the world."
According to the Department for Transport, there were more than 3,200 serious injuries to cyclists on the roads in 2015. 

The article was published on :

Tiny Device Allows You To Track Your Vehicle Using Your Smartphone

  With Over 3.5 Million Units Sold Worldwide, This is The Most Affordable Solution to Find Your Lost Items!

Have you ever lost your car on a parking lot? It happens. You park and go shopping. When you get back, you don't have a clue where your car is. Then you start roaming around clicking on the panic button on your car keys so the alarm goes off. It can be frustrating, especially on a hot, sunny day.
No, you don't need to install an expensive GPS system to keep track of your car. That's way too expensive. You would need to pay a monthly subscription fee just to use it. Don't we have enough bills to pay already?

But is there a way to track your vehicle without spending a fortune? Yes, now there is!
A California-based startup company was able to make this a reality. They created a tiny device that works with your smartphone, and it could be exactly what you're looking for!

How Does it Work?

It's easy! Install the free TrackR app on your smartphone, connect the app to your device and you're ready to go! Simply attach TrackR to whatever you want to keep tabs on. The entire process of setting it up only takes 5 minutes or less.

You can attach it to your keys, briefcase, wallet, your latest tech gadgets and anything else you don't want to lose. Then use the TrackR app to locate your missing item in seconds.

Forget expensive GPS systems or tracking services. Nobody wants to pay expensive monthly subscription fees. We understand how stressful these things can be, and this is the reason why TrackR was created. This device is your VIP when you need to take care of more important things in life.
Remember the car scenario above? If you have the TrackR, you can just hide it under your car's floor mat, in the trunk or in the glove compartment. Somewhere it won't be found if your car gets stolen.

If you forget where you parked your car, whip out your smartphone and open the TrackR app. Tap on the "lost item" icon on the screen and the app will tell you the exact coordinates of the last known location of the TrackR.

The article was published on : studylifestyle

Black Friday set a record as the first $1 billion mobile shopping day in U.S. history

Online shoppers in the U.S. made $1.2 billion of purchases via their phones and tablets on Black Friday, marking the first billion-dollar mobile shopping day in U.S. history, according to estimates from Adobe. The estimate marks a 33 percent increase over last year’s mobile sales total for the day.

Overall, Adobe predicts that total online sales reached $3.34 billion on the huge discount shopping day, on which retailers are increasingly running the same discounts online as they do in their stores.

Large retailers who have invested heavily in their mobile websites and apps are seeing big gains this holiday season. At Fanatics, an online retailer of licensed team sports apparel, 56 percent of Thanksgiving day sales happened on mobile — 42 percent via phones and 14 percent via tablets. These numbers were likely helped by consumers making purchases while watching the day’s slate of football games.

American consumers are increasingly comfortable making purchases via their phones, and the popularity of larger screen sizes is one contributor. Payment methods that simplify the checkout experience — think Apple Pay, Android Pay and PayPal One Touch — are starting to help, too.

Still, when it comes to mobile commerce, the U.S. lags way behind some international markets such as China. On Singles Day, China’s biggest shopping day, mobile commerce accounted for more than 80 percent of sales on Alibaba’s shopping sites.

The article was published on : verge

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Skype Insiders Program lets iOS, Android, and Mac users test new features

Microsoft is launching a new program to allow Skype users to test new features before they're rolled out to everyone. Dubbed Skype Insiders Program, the new feedback program launches today just hours after Microsoft also opened its Xbox Insider Program to the public. Skype users can sign-up to access early features and service improvements, and Microsoft says it will help the company "iron out any quirks before we release them broadly."

Skype users will be able to test the new versions of software for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows alongside existing stable versions. Microsoft has already started testing out new versions for iOS, Android, and Mac, with the iOS and Android versions mostly including bug fixes. A beta version of the Skype for Mac client includes emoticon search, and tweaks to options for call forwarding and voicemail. Microsoft is still testing its Skype universal app for Windows 10 through the main Windows Insider Program, but you'll be able to get access to any desktop app changes through the Skype Insiders Program.

The article was published on : theverge

Everyone I’ve ever met has warm, fuzzy feelings about the disaster of Microsoft Office’s Clippy and the hideous design choices of 1997-era Powerpoint. It’s hard to say why. Maybe it just reminds you of a simpler time, when all you were expected to do was type “Causes of the Cold War” in bubble letters in order to get a pat on the back and a gold star. Maybe you are just more at home with slowly blinking paper clips than you are people. Maybe 1997 is just generally your favorite year because that is when the Julia Roberts film My Best Friend’s Wedding was released. None of that is my business. 

Today, designer Michael McMillan has introduced a free WordArt generator that you can use to make all kinds of beautiful words (with the help of Clippy, of course).

You can share your creations on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr, and there’s also an option to export your design to Zazzle and buy custom t-shirts, mugs, three-ring binders, or mousepads.

The article was published on : theverge

Apple deals gift cards to lure Black Friday shoppers

After a one-year absence, Apple today returned to Black Friday by offering gift cards worth up to $150 with the purchase of select company hardware.

In some cases, only a line's older products were eligible for the accompanying cards.
For example, a $50 Apple Store gift card was offered with the purchase of an iPhone 6S Plus or iPhone 6S, but the newer iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were not included in the deal.

Apple took the same approach with its newest MacBook Pro laptops. The models equipped with the Touch Bar -- launched Oct. 27 -- were not eligible. Instead, the older $1,299 13-in. and $1,999 15-in. MacBook Pros came with a $150 gift card. Those cards represented 8% to 12% of the system's list price.

Other Macs, including the MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac and Mac Pro, also came with $150 cards.
Apple added $100 cards with iPad Pro orders, $50 cards with iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini purchases, and $25 cards with iPhone 5SE, Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple TV orders.

This year's Black Friday deal was like what Apple ran in 2013, when it last used Apple Store cards and capped their value at $150. In 2014, Apple switched to iTunes gift cards, which were valid only for digital purchases, and lowered the maximum to $100.

The gift card deals were good through Apple's online store and at its brick-and-mortar outlets. Customers could also place an order online and then pick up the item at a local Apple store.
As has become the norm, rival retailers beat Apple's deals. Target, for instance, sold a 32GB 9.7-in. iPad Pro for $150 off list, while B&H Photo discounted last year's 15-in. MacBook Pro by $300, reducing that laptop to $1,699.

The article was published on : ComputerWorld

SanDisk reveals world's first 1TB SD card

SanDisk today showcased its upcoming 1TB SDXC card prototype at a European trade show for photo and video professionals. 

"There is no definitive timing for availability as of now," a company spokesperson said in an email to Computerworld. "Western Digital plans to monitor industry trends and demands, and introduce the card in retail accordingly. Price would depend on market conditions at the time it’s released." 

The Western Digital subsidiary, which just two years ago debuted the first 512GB SD card, said doubling the capacity of its Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Memory Card was necessary to address the increasing demand for high-resolution content, such as 4K and 8K videos, virtual reality and 360-degree videography. 

SanDisk's 512GB SD card sells for $345.77 on online retail sites.
"Sixteen years ago we introduced the first SanDisk 64MB SD card and today we are enabling capacities of 1TB. Over the years our goal has remained the same: continue to innovate and set the pace for the imaging industry," SanDisk stated in its news release. 

The new 1TB SD card represents more than 16,000 times the capacity of SanDisk's first 64MB SD card. 

The article was published on : ComputerWorld

Windows 10 annoyances and solutions

 If you think back just 10 years or so, we lived in an era where we simply couldn't rely on our PCs to work consistently for long periods of time. Snarl-ups and crashes would come with frustrating regularity. And if a PC were used heavily, reinstalls of Windows would usually need to be performed every year, if not more often.
Since then, the reliability of Microsoft's operating system has improved significantly -- and it needed to. We're used to buying tablets and IoT devices, on which the operating system is embedded on a chip, not a volatile hard disk, and where simply turning the thing off and on again will fix most problems.
Yet, despite our PC's newfound reliability, problems do still occur. And when they do, they're probably more frustrating than they were a decade ago. This is for two reasons. First, because we expect things to work, and second because we are using our PCs and computing devices more often and for more things than we used to. 

When you encounter a problem, though, how can you get going again quickly and with as little fuss as possible? Nobody wants to be without his or her PC for days on end while it's professionally repaired, usually at great cost. Fortunately -- and very ironically in the view of this tech professional -- as the reliability of Microsoft Windows has increased, so have the number of bundled tools and utilities you can use to fix problems. I'd like to guide you through some of these, so you can learn about what goes wrong, and what the quick solutions might be. 

The article was published on : Computerworld

Mate 9: Hands-on with Huawei's Galaxy Note 7 rival

Huawei has launched new large-screened smartphones in the wake of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 disaster.

The Mate 9 handsets are among the first to be powered by Android 7 and come in two designs: a model with a 1080p "full HD" display, and a Porsche-branded edition with nearly twice the resolution.

The Chinese company says it has also tackled smartphones' tendency to slow down over time.
But one expert said Western consumers were still uncertain about its brand.
"Huawei has never been a company to miss an opportunity, and it seems as though it has moved mountains to get the Mate 9 to market as quickly as possible," said Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy.

"But the phone is not a like-for-like comparison with the Note 7 - for one, it doesn't have a stylus.

"Huawei's brand also doesn't have the status of Samsung as yet.
"That's why it seems to be blending its brand with others.
"So, for the camera, it has partnered with Leica, and for the limited edition model, it has worked with Porsche.

"But Blackberry also partnered with Porsche in the past, and although that generated interest and created a halo-effect for other products, they didn't sell massive volumes."

The article was published on : bbc

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