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Cook says Apple looking at new product categories

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 9:18 pm

During Apple's shareholder meeting today, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said that Apple is considering new product categories. "Obviously, we're looking at new categories. We don't talk about them, but we're looking at them."

 

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Rumors of an upcoming iWatch are running rampant and this could be the very category that Cook was thinking of when he made those comments. There have also been rumors of an Apple-built TV, though these have yet to prove to be true. Apple has missed analyst predictions numerous times when it comes to releasing an iTV.

 

In other Apple news, Cook believes Apple will move into the new "spaceship" headquarters in 2016.

Continue reading 'Cook says Apple looking at new product categories' (full post)

Sony's Xperia E gets experimental Firefox OS ROM

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 8:30 pm

When Sony announced that it would stand behind Mozilla's HTML 5 bases FireFox OS the tech world was somewhat shocked, now two days later the company has released the first experimental Firefox OS ROM for the Xperia E.

 

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In a statement Mozilla said that it is ready to begin the initial experiments on Firefox OS and wants the help of the community. They are looking for feedback in addition to allowing developers and early adopters to get on-board for testing and app creation.

 

 

The Xperia E is the only sony device that will support the freshly released ROM, however, Sony has stated that other Xperia smartphones will get the option to the OS over time. To flash the ROM you will need an unlocked Xperia E. Sony is providing a flash tool to aid in the install process and help prevent bricking. You can pick up the flash tool at Source #2 below.

Continue reading 'Sony's Xperia E gets experimental Firefox OS ROM' (full post)

Tweetbot battles pirated through public shaming

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 8:01 pm

Piracy is a big deal pretty much everywhere at this point, everything from Wii games, to smartphone apps are being installed with out a purchase made. Some companies simply deal with this by threatening legal action or actually filing suit. Tweetbot has came up with a unique method to combat people pirating their relatively cheap app.

 

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Tweetbot is considered by many to be the best iOS twitter app and as such, it is pirated a lot. The company has decided to combat this issue by coding recent versions of the app to post an embarrassing tweet to the users account if in fact their copy of the app has been pirated.

 

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As you can see in the above image, the tweet reads "I've been demoing a pirated copy of @tweetbot and really like it so I'm going to buy a copy" A quick twitter search brought me pages upon pages of users who have this tweet posted to their account. Normally I do not agree with most companies methods of dealing with pirates, but this one is about as funny as it gets.

Continue reading 'Tweetbot battles pirated through public shaming' (full post)

New in-car device brings accident notification capabilities to late model cars

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:31 pm

OnStar is a great service and, at times such as accidents and crashes, it can be a life saver. Unfortunately you need to own a GM vehicle manufactured in the last decade to be able to use the service. A new device dubbed Splitsecnd has changed that.

 

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Splitsecnd is a dongle that plugs into your cars cigarette lighter and just sits there and waits to be triggered by a crash. Upon being triggered, the device uploads your location to emergency services and, much like OnStar, a company rep will contact you to check if you are safe, seriously injured, or unconscious and will relay the information to authorities.

 

 

SplitSecnd also comes with an emergency button that lets you dial 911 in the event of a medical emergency, or something like a attempted car jacking. The unit retails for about $200 and includes a $15 monthly service fee. My question is, why do we not have a similar system in every car manufactured today? Such a simple and cheap addition could save thousands of lives annually.

LG shows off first TD-LTE smartphone in conjunction with China Mobile

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 6:32 pm

We have seen a lot from LG at this year's Mobile World Congress and it seems that the consumer electronics giant has no plans to slow down. Today we are hearing reports that LG, in conjunction with China Mobile, has demoed the first TD-LTE capable smartphone, the LG Optimus G.

 

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Most consumers have no idea that the acronym LTE actually stands for Long Term Evolution and that the LTE we are all use to is actually FD-LTE (Frequency-Division Long-Term Evolution). With FD-LTE, two frequencies are utilized for transmitting and receiving data. With TD-LTE (Time Difference LTE) the transmitting and receiving happen on the same frequency at the same time.

 

Both FD-LTE and TD-LTE offer similar performance with the major difference being that China has chosen TD-LTE as their new mobile data transmission standard. The service is expected to roll out in China during the second half of this year. Coincidentally LG will be releasing its first TD-LTE smartphone, the LG Optimus G in China around the same time.

AMD unveils new hair processing technique: TressFX

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 5:32 pm

Render. Rinse. Repeat! That's AMD's new recommended method of hair care. The company could have just very well ushered in a new era of 3D graphics with its new hair processing technique dubbed TressFX. The process showcases more "realistic" and "natural" hair for in game characters.

 

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AMD says that the new technique allows for individual strands of hair to be rendered out, and everything will flow more naturally with unique physics properties and collision detection. Long gone are the days when you have to suffer trough Laura Croft's pony tail bouncing within a seemingly flat plane.

 

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AMD's blog stated:

 

Simply: realistic hair is one of the most complex and challenging materials to accurately reproduce in real-time. DirectCompute is additionally utilized to perform the real-time physics simulations for TressFX Hair. This physics system treats each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links, permitting for forces like gravity, wind and movement of the head to move and curl Lara's hair in a realistic fashion. Further, collision detection is performed to ensure that strands do not pass through one another, or other solid surfaces such as Lara's head, clothing and body. Finally, hair styles are simulated by gradually pulling the strands back towards their original shape after they have moved in response to an external force.

Spotify for iPhone gets updated with a new interface, now on par with Android

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 4:29 pm

If you are a Spotify junkie like I am and an iPhone user, then you are in luck! The music streaming company has released an update for its iPhone app this morning. The update brings Spotify on iPhone up to the level of functionality seen on its Android version of the app.

 

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The major changes to the user interface is the addition of a swipe-across menu that lets you quickly navigate to other sections of the app. This is very similar to how the Facebook for iPhone app works. Additionally, the "now playing" bar will quickly become your favorite feature. It adds Play and Pause buttons to album and playlist screens and lets you swipe your finger in either direction to load up the previous or next song.

 

There are also a few bug fixes bundled in with the update as well, which fix issues such as album display on lock screen, track availability and performance issues. The updated app is available now in Apple's App Store.

New iOS app analyzes your urine

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 3:20 pm

Over the years we have seen some weird apps pop up in both the Apple App store as well as the Google Play Store, but this one may take the cake. Myshkin Ingawale, a graduate of MIT, has created an app that will analyze your urine and spits out a breakdown of several key parameters that allude to your state of health.

 

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I know what you are thinking and there is no reason to worry. The app works by taking an image of a test strip that was dunked into a cup on urine. Dubbed Uchek It works by taking photos at set intervals and analyzing the color changes on the test strip. By doing this it is able to measure the levels of glucose, bilirubin, proteins, specific gravity, ketones, leukocytes, nitrites, urobilinogen and hematuria present in the urine.

 

Ingawale says that the app replaces much larger and more expensive machines which can cost between $1K and $10k. Those machines use proprietary test strips that can cost upwards of $100. For $20 Ingawale gives you a packet of test strips, and the app is only a $0.99 purchase in the Apple App Store. An Android version of the app is currently in development with the release date currently unspecified.

Chrome 26 beta gets released, includes improved spell checking and more

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 12:38 pm

Google have just pushed out Chrome 26 in beta form, which includes improved spell checking abilities with updated dictionaries and added support for Korean, Tamil and Albanian. You can also sync custom dictionaries across multiple devices.

 

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Added dictionaries aren't the only things Chrome 26 receives, support for grammar, homonym and context-sensitive checking, which is the same technology we see baked into Google search and Docs. The improved engine will correct proper nouns, such as the misspelling of Stephen Spielberg - whereas "Steven" is the correct way of spelling his name. This feature is currently locked to English users who have to enable the "Ask Google for suggestions" spell check option.

Continue reading 'Chrome 26 beta gets released, includes improved spell checking and more' (full post)

Yahoo CEO bans working from home for Yahoo, builds a nursery in her office

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 11:33 am

Last week, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer pissed off a bunch of her employees by banning them from working remotely. Working from home can be great for some people, but now if you did that at Yahoo, you'll have to completely change your day-to-day life and work at a Yahoo office.

 

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Jackie Reses, Yahoo's Human Resources boss, sent a memo out, advising that all remote employees would need to be working in Yahoo offices by June. This will mostly affect parents of young children, where working from home can be a massive benefit. Where it gets weird, is that Mayer herself had a child last year, and is a CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world - so how does she do it? How does she balance the trials and tribulations of motherhood, with the responsibilities of being a CEO?

 

Well, she builds her own nursery in her office, that's how! This will not bode well with mothers at Yahoo who currently work remotely, and so they should be upset. If it's good for Mayer, and not for them, what does that mean for working parents at Yahoo? Why not just build a nursery and staff it within Yahoo to keep everyone happy? I know that's what I'd do - keep your employees happy, at all costs.

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