V-MODA unveils two new headphone accessories for the gamer market

Charles Gantt | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Aug 1, 2013 12:03 PM CDT

Today, V-MODA announced two new high-end accessories for use with its award winning Crossfade M-100 headphones. The BoomPro and CoilPro are aimed at enhancing the audio experience for even the most hardcore gamers as well as the Podcaster and Skype user. The BoomPro is a universal, hi-fi boom mic that instantly enhances voice clarity while greatly reducing background noise. It plugs directly into the audio jack of the CrossFade M-100 and a built-in on-cable Control Clip allows for quick adjustment of volume controls.

The CoilPro is a professional grade coiled extension cable that allows users to move up to 12 feet away from their battle station. The company says that this extension cable is perfect for the DJ booth, production studio, or for use while on a Skype call or other times when you may need to stay connected but move freely around your room or office. The cable is reinforced with an inner reinforcement strand of kevlar, which should prevent any stress breakage from occurring. Both of these new accessories are available from V-MODA and Amazon for $30.

"With the launch of these new accessories, V-MODA is raising the bar for headphone versatility. Up until now, there hasn't been a professional quality boom mic for high-end headphone enthusiasts and gamers," states Val Kolton, Chief Visionary Officer at V-MODA. "BoomPro opens up a world of opportunity, converting headphones like M-100 into an incredibly versatile headset for gamers, business professionals, podcasters and anybody who wants extreme clarity for their phone or conference calls. CoilPro bolsters M-100's appeal within the professional audio, music instrument and DJ community. As a musician, I can attest that the last thing you want to worry about is not having enough slack on your headphone cable while playing guitar or drums at home or spinning in the DJ booth. This gives you additional reach so you can focus on creating boundless music."

Continue reading: V-MODA unveils two new headphone accessories for the gamer market (full post)

Samsung is planning a new Galaxy flip phone dubbed the Galaxy Folder

Charles Gantt | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Aug 1, 2013 10:38 AM CDT

Today, a new user manual has surfaced for what appears to be a new flip style phone from Samsung. Engadget is reporting that the device will be part of the company's Galaxy line of smartphones. Dubbed the Galaxy Folder, this new phone will feature what appear to be 3.7-inch AMOLED displays on each side of the top half.

A dual-core QUALCOMM Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM, and full LTE support will also be onboard. The phone resembles the now old-school Motorola Razr, which was in its day was the king of the flip phone form-factor. We can see a rear-facing camera with what appears to be an LED-based flash along with a front shooter of unknown spec. The design is similar to a phone the company released last year in China, and for all intents and purposes, it is safe to assume that this is where the Galaxy Folder will end up as well.

There is no mention (that I can find) of what operating system the device will run, but it could theoretically feature Tizen or Android, but my bet is on Tizen. The company has been working long and hard on developing the new OS and this would be the perfect platform to show it off. If you are interested in checking out the user manual, head over to Source #2 below.

Continue reading: Samsung is planning a new Galaxy flip phone dubbed the Galaxy Folder (full post)

Snowden still stuck in Moscow airport after more than a month

Charles Gantt | Current Affairs | Aug 1, 2013 9:03 AM CDT

Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee who blew the whistle on PRISM, has been sitting in a isolated room at the Moscow Airport since June 23 and has not been allowed to leave or fly to another country. Today, he met with his lawyer in hopes of seeing his temporary request for asylum granted.

Today around 2:18 BST, Snowden met with his Russian Lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and shortly there after, the lawyer addressed the press saying that Snowden would be staying in the airport's transit zone for now. He said that the immigration officials are still looking at the request for asylum and are drawing the process out. Snowden withdrew the permanent request and filled a temporary one which would allow him up to one year, but comments from Kucherena seem to sound like Snowden might stay in Russia permanently.

He is not planning to leave for now. He asked for temporary asylum, which in the case of a positive decision, is granted for a term of one year. Currently his final country of destination is Russia.

Continue reading: Snowden still stuck in Moscow airport after more than a month (full post)

New BlackBerry BB10 update said to be deleting text messages randomly

Charles Gantt | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Jul 31, 2013 10:50 PM CDT

Reports are coming in that a new over-the-air update to BlackBerry's BB10 OS includes a major bug that is randomly deleting SMS messages on some devices. The update is meant to improve operational functionality of BB10 devices such as the Z10 and Q10, but no one expected it to begin deleting text messages at random.

Some reports are coming in that says the update has even blocked SMS messaging entirely on their device. The issue appears to be widespread, but the bug appears to affect each device differently. Some users just experience the message deletion, while some only delete random messages from a message chain, while still other devices are seeing the messaging blocked entirely. BlackBerry has yet to confirm the issue, and we would recommend that you do not install the update until a fix has been released.

Continue reading: New BlackBerry BB10 update said to be deleting text messages randomly (full post)

Canon enables the selfie video with the new Vixia mini

Charles Gantt | Cameras, Printers & Scanners | Jul 31, 2013 9:05 PM CDT

Too many times has a video been uploaded to YouTube of a person talking into their smartphone with it in portrait orientation, and way too many selfie videos have been ruined by a propped up smartphone falling to the floor. Canon noticed these issues and decided to take a stand and help bring forth a new era of selfie video production to the world. This morning, the camera making giant announced a new video camera dubbed the Vixia mini.

The Vixia mini features an f/2.8 fisheye lens which offers excellent low-light wide-angle coverage out of the box. This equates to a 160-degree field of view for video, but it can also capture still images at up to 170 degrees, which is said to be close to the 35mm format. The Vixia's 12.8-megapixel CMOS sensor is backed up by Canon's Digic DV4 image processor for lightning fast recording. Capable of full 1080p HD footage at 30 frames per second, the camera is also design to capture full HD stereo sound thanks to a pair of built-in mics. The Vixia mini is available now at major electronic retailers at an MSRP of $300.

Continue reading: Canon enables the selfie video with the new Vixia mini (full post)

Apple feels pressure from Google Chromecast, refurb Apple TV now $75

Charles Gantt | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Jul 31, 2013 6:03 PM CDT

As I predicted, set-top box manufacturers are scared of Google's new Chromecast HDMI media streaming dongle, and rightfully so. The little device costs just one-third of what comparable devices cost from other major brands. With companies like Netflix, Vimeo, Spotify, HBO, and PLEX either supporting Chromecast or planning support, the $35 dongle looks more appealing than anything else.

Today, Apple has dropped the price on its refurbished Apple TV box from about $85 to just $75. Is this because of Google's success with the $35 Chromecast? That could be it, but Apple does have a history of reevaluating their refurbished prices and dropping them if the market is slow, so it really could be either of the reasons. A brand new Apple TV unit retails for about $99 new, so there is little value in choosing the refurb over the new, but my bet is to go with the $35 Chromecast.

Continue reading: Apple feels pressure from Google Chromecast, refurb Apple TV now $75 (full post)

AMD and Intel in bed with NSA? Are backdoors built into processors?

Charles Gantt | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Jul 31, 2013 4:04 PM CDT

The Australian Finance Review has just published a new story that suggests that the NSA may have hardware level backdoors built into current generation AMD and Intel processors. Leading security expert Steve Blank says that he first caught on to the practice when he noticed that the NSA had access to Microsoft emails before they were encrypted. He says that he would be extremely surprised if the NSA did not have access to a processor microcode level backdoor on every PC in America.

His reasoning behind the theory is quite simple. The sheer power needed to brute force crack AES 256-bit encryption on a single file would be equivalent to "the power of 10 million suns" and that a hardware backdoor would require almost no effort to enter and would allow agents access inside your PC in a matter of minutes. Jonathan Brossard, another expert in the security field, demonstrated this as a proof of concept at last year's Black Hat conference. These backdoors are made possible because they are placed inside the microcode which is stored on the chip itself and gets updated every time Microsoft, Apple, or any other OS pushes out an update.

Continue reading: AMD and Intel in bed with NSA? Are backdoors built into processors? (full post)

Xbox 360 gets new stand-up comedy app from Comedy Central

Charles Gantt | Gaming | Jul 31, 2013 3:03 PM CDT

Yesterday, Comedy Central launched its new CC: Stand-Up app on the Xbox 360. The new stand-up comedy app brings over 6,000 videos from more than 700 comedians straight to your living room for the first time ever. Comedy Central says that the app is different from the iOS and Android versions as the Xbox app focuses more on long term viewing rather than on discovery of new comedians and new material.

"We're looking opportunistically at all these different platforms, moving down the chain from biggest to smallest," said Ben Hurst, Viacom Entertainment Group's vice president of mobile and emerging platforms. "We want to get digitally distributed content everywhere." When asked if the company is worried about the new digital content leaching off viewers from its cable channel, Hurst said "We've now introduced fans to a new comedian or have gotten them excited to watch the new special. We view this as additive, not cannibalistic."

Comedy Central also launched a companion site to the Stand-Up app earlier this month named CC: Stand-Up Direct in which users can access the full stand-up library over the net and pay $5 per stream or download. The new Xbox CC: Stand-up app is available free of charge to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, which costs just $5 per month with a one-year agreement.

Continue reading: Xbox 360 gets new stand-up comedy app from Comedy Central (full post)

Samsung responds to benchmark cooking allegations, denies everything

Charles Gantt | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Jul 31, 2013 2:05 PM CDT

Late last night, reports started to surface that accused Samsung of rigging the code in its Exynos 5 variant of the Galaxy S4 to boost clock speeds when the device ran specific benchmarks. Our own Anthony Garreffa covered the story shortly after the news broke. This morning, not 12 hours later, Samsung has responded and as one would expect, the company denied everything.

Samsung says that the "BenchmarkBooster" used on the Exynos 5 is not intended to boost frequencies when running certain benchmarks. Normally, I would tend to give the company the benefit of the doubt, but with the code being named "BenchmarkBooster," I am finding it hard to drink this glass of Koolaid. However, regardless of benchmark performance, the Galaxy S4 is still one hell of a phone and with the code in question only boosting performance by 7 percent, does it really matter? Everyday average users could care less about a benchmark result that says this phone performs 1.3564 percent better than another phone.

Samsungs full statement is below.

Continue reading: Samsung responds to benchmark cooking allegations, denies everything (full post)

Next-gen Kindle Fire HD to feature high-end specs, but low price

If we were to just look at the amount of employees Amazon has, and the amount of extra jobs they're creating across the US, one would think they're preparing for the company to get bigger in the near future.

Well, according to a report on BGR, Amazon are looking to refresh its Kindle Fire HD, which would include a huge performance boost from the current device. Amazon are looking to bake in the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC to reach that high-performance category. We are to expect three new devices from Amazon, ranging from 7 inches up to 8.9 inches.

The first, would be the entry-level 7-inch Kindle Fire, which would receive a refreshed 1280x800-pixel display. The other two models would replace the current Kindle Fire HD 7- and 8.9-inch models, and would include the super-fast, and very capable Snapdragon 800 SoC.

Continue reading: Next-gen Kindle Fire HD to feature high-end specs, but low price (full post)