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Cellphones

The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens 924

Posted by timothy
from the this-is-why-there-are-tasers dept.
theodp writes "The "average" movie theater reportedly has a capacity of 200-300 people. Which, thanks to the wonder of mobile devices, means that it also has hundreds of screens. And — thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and texting — hundreds of potential annoyances. Which prompts NY film critic David Edelstein to ask: How Should We Treat Texters and Talkers at Movie Theaters? 'Has our culture become so private that no one knows how to behave anymore in public?' Edelstein wonders. 'Is selfishness the rule rather than exception? Are people who say, "Shut up and turn off your phone" today's version of "You kids get off my lawn"?' Jason Bailey argues that the only way to solve movie theaters' talking and texting problem is to give in to it, perhaps with anything-goes phone-friendly talk-amongst-yourselves screenings in the seven and eight o'clock hours coupled with no-tolerance shows later in the evening. Any other ideas?" You could always throw it.
Wireless Networking

MIT Researchers Can See Through Walls Using Wi-Fi 75

Posted by timothy
from the upgrade-your-router dept.
itwbennett writes "MIT Professor Dina Katabi and graduate student Fadel Adib have developed a system they call Wi-Vi that uses Wi-Fi signals to visualize moving forms behind walls. How it works: 'Wi-Vi transmits two Wi-Fi signals, one of which is the inverse of the other. When one signal hits a stationary object, the other cancels it out. But because of the way the signals are encoded, they don't cancel each other out for moving objects. That makes the reflections from a moving person visible despite the wall between that person and the Wi-Vi device. Wi-Vi can translate those faint reflections into a real-time display of the person's movements.'"
Education

L.A. School District's 30,000 iPads May Come With Free Lock-In 232

Posted by timothy
from the crony-capitalism-in-its-native-habitat dept.
lpress writes "The Los Angeles Unified School District will spend $30 million over the next two years on iPads for 30,000 students. Coverage of the announcement has focused on Apple winning over other tablets, but that is not the key point. The top three proposals each included an app to deliver Pearson's K-12 Common Core System of Courses along with other third-party educational apps. The Common Core curriculum is not yet established, but many states are committed to it, starting next year. The new tablets and the new commitment to the Common Core curriculum will arrive around the same time, and busy faculty (and those hired to train them) will adopt the Pearson material. The tablets will be obsolete in a few years and the hardware platform may change, but lock-in to Pearson's default curriculum may last for generations."
Cellphones

Microsoft Research Adds 'Mood Detection' To Smartphones 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the used-it-to-detect-that-users-are-upset-about-mood-detection dept.
angry tapir writes "Researchers at Microsoft Research have produced a prototype software system that can be used on smartphones to infer a user's mood. The 'MoodScope' system produced by researchers uses smartphone usage patterns to determine whether someone is happy, calm, excited, bored or stressed and could potentially add a new dimension to to mobile apps (as well as, as the researchers note, open up a Pandora's Box of privacy issues). The researchers created a low-power background service for iPhones and Android handsets that (with training) can offer reasonable detection of mood and offers and API that app developers could hook into."
Android

Android On the Desktop 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the wait-what dept.
puddingebola writes "John Morris at CNET offers a brief review of PC Android devices, many of them hybrids running Windows 8 and Android. From the article, 'Microsoft has spent a lot of time and effort trying to get Windows onto smartphones and tablets — so far without a whole lot to show for it. Now several PC companies are trying the opposite approach, taking the Android operating system and porting it to PCs.' The article reviews the recent releases from HP, Acer, Asus, and Samsung. Does Android creeping onto desktop or 'traditional' PC devices have any kind of possible long term consequences? Could this be a way for Android and Google to develop a larger presence in corporate IT, or could Android ever really supplant the Windows foothold?"
Security

Black Hat Talks To Outline Attacks On Home Automation Systems 79

Posted by timothy
from the hal-do-you-do? dept.
colinneagle writes "If you use the Z-Wave wireless protocol for home automation then you might prepare to have your warm, fuzzy, happiness bubble burst; there will be several presentations about attacking the automated house at the upcoming Las Vegas hackers' conferences Black Hat USA 2013 and Def Con 21. For example, CEDIA IT Task force member Bjorn Jensen said, 'Today, I could scan for open ports on the Web used by a known control system, find them, get in and wreak havoc on somebody's home. I could turn off lights, mess with HVAC systems, blow speakers, unlock doors, disarm alarm systems and worse.' Among other things, the hacking Z-Wave synopsis adds, 'Zigbee and Z-wave wireless communication protocols are the most common used RF technology in home automation systems...An open source implementation of the Z-wave protocol stack, openzwave, is available but it does not support the encryption part as of yet. Our talk will show how the Z-Wave protocol can be subjected to attacks.'"
Books

Nook Failure, Lack of Foot Traffic Could Spell Doom For Barnes & Noble 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the dead-tree-viewing-gallery dept.
tripleevenfall sends in a story at Yahoo Finance forecasting the end of Barnes & Noble. Quoting: "The last nationwide book retailer may be writing its final chapter. Barnes & Noble's latest quarterly results show a 7.4% drop in revenues and a $122 million loss for the fourth-quarter of its fiscal year. B&N's disastrous focus on making Nook e-Readers is weighing heavily on the chain's operations. A 17% drop in Nook revenues and stunning $475 million loss for the device division in 2013 are hobbling the company's ability to keep its stores afloat. B&N appears to be cannibalizing itself with branded tablets and cross-platform e-reader applications, which render the stores increasingly irrelevant."
Cellphones

iFixit Giving Away 1,776 "iPhone Liberation Kits" 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the fix-it-yourself dept.
netbuzz writes "In a clever bit of self-promotion, the do-it-yourself repair evangelists at iFixit announced today that they will be giving away 1,776 free 'iPhone liberation kits' that will allow Apple customers access to the inner workings of their devices by replacing the difficult-to-remove pentalobe screws with standard Phillips screws. 'Get a free insurance policy,' iFixit says. 'In the unfortunate event that your iPhone needs repair, you will be set to make any necessary fix. For situations when you need to get the battery out of your iPhone as quickly as possible—such as after dropping the device into water—you will be ready.'"
Education

Surgeon Uses Google Glass and iPad To Capture Live Procedure and Stream It 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the cool-yet-gross dept.
MojoKid writes "Google (and many other tech manufacturers lately), have been evangelizing the mantra that technology is here to enhance and improve our lives, not get in the way; in the truest sense to 'serve humanity.' Recent events and breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, which make use of leading-edge technology, illustrate this vision better than any marketing or ad campaign could ever possibly hope to. Dr. Rafael Grossman strapped on his Google Glass eyewear to become the first 'Glass Explorer Surgeon.' The procedure involved is called Gastrostomy, a process by which a surgeon inserts a feeding tube into a patient's abdomen. In this case, the good doctor performed the procedure endoscopically, such that he was able to display the entire procedure and the view of it directly as it was being performed. The opportunities for remote medical consultation, mentoring and even real-time guidance are obvious with the sort of technology that products like Google Glass bring to the table. It's always nice to hear stories of how not only 'quality of life' is improved but how lives are actually saved as a result of these magnificent inventions we create."
Android

Android Fragmentation Isn't Hurting Its Adoption 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-but-what-about-the-narrative dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's developer Website offers a new, handy graph of iOS fragmentation — which, of course, highlights that the mobile operating system isn't fragmented much at all. A full 93 percent of iOS users are on iOS 6, the latest version; another 6 percent rely on iOS 5; and a mere 1 percent use an earlier iOS. Compare that to Google Android, which really is fragmented: some 33 percent of Android devices run some variant (either 4.1.x or 4.2.x) of the 'Jelly Bean' build, while 36.5 percent run a version of 'Gingerbread,' which was first released in December 2010 — ancient history, in mobile-software terms. (Other versions take up varying slices of the Android pie.) For years, Google's rivals have used the 'Android is fragmented' argument to hype their own platforms. But is Android's fragmentation really hurting the platform? Not as far as global shipments are concerned. According to recent data from research firm IDC, Android's market-share stood at 75 percent in the first quarter of 2013 — up from 59.1 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, iOS owned 17.3 percent of the market — compared to 23.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. Whatever the drawbacks of fragmentation (and people can name quite a few), it's clear that it's not really hurting Android device shipments or adoption."
Android

Sony, Microsoft Squabble Over Console Features, But the Real Opponent Is Apple 315

Posted by timothy
from the someone-out-there-must-care dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Now that Microsoft and Sony have unveiled their respective next-generation gaming consoles, the two companies have cheerfully resorted to firing broadsides at each other. Whether the current brouhaha has any effect on sales of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (if hardcore gamers keep complaining, they may even convince Microsoft to knock $100 off the new Xbox and bring its pricing down to the PS4's level), it's also drowning out what many perceive as the real issue: gaming consoles face an existential threat from mobile devices, most notably those running iOS (with some threat from Android). First, there are signs that the hardcore gamer market is soft: console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012, and sales of new video-game cartridges haven't fared much better. Second, PC/console games such as X-Com have begun appearing on iOS; if that trend continues, the console companies will have more rivals to fight against. Third, Apple is developing a game controller for iOS which could make it an even more dedicated opponent — and convince other tech companies to follow in its footsteps. But don't tell any of that to Microsoft and Sony, which seem content to fire at each other."
Firefox

Foxconn Betting Big On Firefox OS 94

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-where's-the-ice-weasel-phone? dept.
jfruh writes "Foxconn is firmly identified in the public mind as the company that manufactures iPhones and iPads. But the company is looking to forge its own identity, and sees Firefox OS as the means to do so. To that end, Foxconn is hiring thousands of developers to help work on the open source phone OS and Foxconn's own suite of cloud services."
Handhelds

Next SurfaceRT To Come With Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, LTE 157

Posted by timothy
from the market-is-a-harsh-mistress dept.
recoiledsnake writes "Following up on our previous discussion of Microsoft selling discounted SurfaceRT tablets to schools (which fueled speculation about the future of Surface RT), Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is fast at work on the next Surface RT which will replace the current Tegra 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip which has stellar benchmarks against the likes of the upcoming Tegra 4, Apple A6X, and Exynos processors, especially in the GPU and graphics department. Since the SoC comes with 3g/LTE, this might be the first Surface to support integrated cellular data. There are also indications that there could be an 8" version, and that the new versions might be revealed alongside the Windows 8.1 preview bits at the upcoming BUILD conference, starting on June 26."
Cellphones

Ubuntu Phone Carrier Advisory Group Announced 40

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the open-phone-war-was-the-only-good-war dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the focus from Ubuntu on phones, seven carriers have signed onto their Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group including Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Telecom Italia, Korea Telecom, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, and SK Telecom. The group is designed for the carriers to let 'mobile operators shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy. Members receive advance confidential briefings and provide us with industry insight to ensure that Ubuntu meets their needs.'" Looks like Ubuntu Phone is getting serious. Mark Shuttleworth writes about their first meeting: "We mapped out our approach to the key question I’ve been asked by every carrier we’ve met so far: how can we accommodate differentiation, without fragmenting the platform for developers? We described the range of diversity we think we can support initially, received some initial feedback from carriers participating immediately, and I’m looking forward to the distilled feedback we’ll get on the topic in the next call. CAG members get a period of exclusivity in their markets."
Microsoft

Microsoft To Start Dumping Surface RT To Schools For $199 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the use-them-to-play-oregon-trail dept.
onyxruby writes "In a move that will remind many of Apple in the '80s, Microsoft is going to start dumping Surface RT computers to educational institutions. In an effort to try to gain mindshare for their struggling Surface RT platform, Microsoft is giving away 10,000 Surface RTs to teachers through the International Society for Technology in Education. They're also preparing to offer $199 Surface RTs to K12 and higher education institutions. The strategy of flooding the educational market was quite successful for Apple. Unfortunately for Microsoft, today's computers require management and the Surface RT presents significant management challenges in terms of the inability to join the computer to a domain or available management tools."
Cellphones

With an Eye Toward Disaster, NYC Debuts Solar Charging Stations 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-always-sunny-in-new-york-city dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City last fall, it left a sizable percentage of the metropolis without electricity. Residents had trouble keeping their phones and tablets charged, and often walked across whole neighborhoods to reach zones with power. Come the next disaster, at least a few citizens could communicate a little easier thanks to 25 solar-powered charging stations going up around the city. The stations—known as 'Street Charge' — are the result of a partnership between AT&T, Brooklyn design studio Pensa, and portable solar-power maker Goal Zero (with approval by the city's Parks Department). The first unit will deploy in Brooklyn's Fort Green Park on June 18, followed in short order by others in Union Square, Central Park, the Rockaways, and other locations. Each station incorporates lithium-ion batteries in addition to solar panels; charging a phone to full capacity could take as long as two hours, but the time necessary for a partial charge is much shorter. But a couple of charging stations also won't help very much if half the city is without power: In order to help mitigate the effects of the next hurricane, New York City major Michael Bloomberg has put forward a $20 billion plan for seawalls, levees, and dozens of other improvements. 'Sandy exposed weaknesses in the city's telecommunications infrastructure — including the location of critical facilities in areas that are susceptible to flooding,' reads one section of the plan's accompanying report. The city will harden the system 'by increasing the accountability of telecommunications providers to invest in resiliency and by using new regulatory authority to enable rapid recovery after extreme weather events.'"
Wireless Networking

2013 U.S. Wireless Network Tests: AT&T Fastest, Verizon Most Reliable 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the tmobile-took-the-'at-least-they're-trying'-prize dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "For the fourth year running, PCMag sent drivers out on U.S. roads to test the nation's Fastest Mobile Networks. Using eight identical Samsung phones, the drivers tested out eight separate networks for four major carriers across 30 cities evenly spread across six regions. Using Sensorly's 2013 software, a broad suite of tests were conducted every three minutes: a 'ping' to test network latency, multi-threaded HTTP upload and download tests including separate 'time to first byte' measures, a 4MB single-threaded file download, a 2MB single-threaded file upload, the download of a 1MB Web page with 70 elements, and 100kbps and 500kbps UDP streams designed to simulate streaming media. Nearly 90,000 data cycles later, the data not only revealed the fastest networks (AT&T) and the most consistent (Verizon), but also other interesting points. The tests recorded the fastest download speed (66.11 Mbits/sec) in New Orleans and the best average in Austin (27.25 Mbits/sec), both for AT&T's LTE network. The tests also found T-Mobile's HSPA network to have the worst Average-Time-To-First-Byte, even when compared with AT&T HSPA network. Also according to the tests, Sprint's LTE network didn't even come close to competing with other LTE networks, to the point that in some cities its LTE network speed averaged less than T-Mobile's HSPA network speed."
Cellphones

Echolocation For Your Cell Phone 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the map-it-out dept.
sciencehabit writes "In a few years, an iPhone app may give you a 3D layout of a room as soon as you step into it. Researchers have developed an algorithm that spits out the shape and contours of complex structures (including Switzerland's Lausanne Cathedral) using data compiled from four randomly placed microphones. The technology, which relies on the same sort of echolocation bats and dolphins use to navigate, could be used to develop more realistic echoes in video games and virtual reality simulations and to eliminate the echo from phone calls."
Censorship

Saudi Arabia Set To Ban WhatsApp, Skype 122

Posted by timothy
from the and-clear-envelopes-only-please dept.
Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia's government, after banning Viber within the kingdom, is poised to prohibit at least two other such communication apps: Skype and WhatsApp. Says the article: "Conventional international calls and texts are a lucrative earner for telecom operators in Saudi Arabia, which hosts around nine million expatriates. These foreign workers are increasingly using Internet-based applications such as Viber to communicate with relatives in other countries, analysts say." With fewer legal options, a wide-scale Internet censorship regime would be easier to implement, too.
Cellphones

AT&T Rolls Out iPhone Wireless Emergency Alerts 199

Posted by timothy
from the big-brother-speaking dept.
First time accepted submitter TigerPlish writes "AT&T has rolled out Wireless Emergency Alerts for iPhones. The alerts are for huge catastrophes (a Presidential Alert), for weather / natural calamities, and for AMBER alerts. One can turn off the latter two, but the Presidential alert cannot be turned off. The article mentions only 4S and 5 get this update. That said, I have a 4 and it got the update this morning. This was enacted in 2006, for those keeping track of such things. I, for one, do not care for this any more than I like the idea of them reading my communications to begin with. Oh, I'm sorry, the "metadata" from my communications." As promised.
Open Source

Wi-Fi Light Bulbs Shipping Soon 401

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-tell-me-i-can-play-quake-on-my-light-bulbs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Computerworld has an interview with an Australian startup called LIFX, producing WiFi-connected LED light bulbs. Each light bulb is a small computer running the Thingsquare distribution of the open source Contiki operating system that creates a low-power wireless mesh network between the light bulbs and connects them to the WiFi network. The wireless mesh network lets the light bulbs be controlled with a smartphone app. Through a Kickstarter project, the company has already raised a significant amount of money: over one million USD. "
Google

Google Floats Balloons For Free Wi-Fi 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the shannon-hartley-bernoulli-theorem dept.
New submitter BrokenHalo writes "Google has revealed that it has 30 balloons floating over New Zealand in a project to bring free Wi-Fi to earthquake-stricken, rural or poor areas. They're calling it Project Loon. '[W]e’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters.' Eventually, as the balloons move across the stratosphere, consumers in participating countries along the 40th parallel in the Southern Hemisphere could tap into the service. The technology will be trialled in Australia next year, possibly in Tasmania. If the latter happens to be true, then you'll probably hear the telcos' screams in New York."
Wireless Networking

802.11ac: Better Coverage, But Won't Hit Advertised Speeds 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-you-implying-marketers-would-lie-to-us?!? dept.
New submitter jcenters writes "Apple's new AirPort routers feature the new 802.11ac protocol, promising Wi-Fi speeds in excess of 1 Gbps, but Glenn Fleishman of TidBITS explains why we are unlikely to see such speeds any time soon. Quoting: 'When Apple says that its implementation of 802.11ac can achieve up to 1.3 Gbps — and other manufacturers with beefier radio systems already say up to 1.7 Gbps — the reality is that a lot of conditions have to be met to achieve that raw data rate. And, as you well know from decades of network-technology advertising, dear reader, a “raw” data rate (often incorrectly called “theoretical”) is the maximum number of bits that can pass over a network. That includes all the network overhead as well as actual data carried in packets and frames. The net throughput is often 30 to 60 percent lower.'"
Cellphones

Prosecutors Push For Anti-Phone-Theft Kill Switches 257

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-doesn't-love-a-kill-switch? dept.
New submitter EdPbllips writes "Law enforcement officials nationwide are demanding the creation of a 'kill switch' that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, New York's top prosecutor said Thursday in a clear warning to the world's smartphone manufacturers. Citing statistics showing that 1 in 3 robberies nationwide involve the theft of a mobile phone, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the formation of a coalition of law enforcement agencies devoted to stamping out what he called an 'epidemic' of smartphone robberies. 'All too often, these robberies turn violent,' said Schneiderman, who was joined at a news conference by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. 'There are assaults. There are murders.'" Apple described a system like this in their presentation about iOS 7 at WWDC.
Microsoft

Microsoft Office Finally Gets iOS App 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-exactly-peanut-butter-and-jelly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After years of rumors and months of bickering with Apple over revenue splits, Microsoft has finally released an official iOS app for Office 365 subscribers, allowing people to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their iPhones and iPads. According to a hands-on report with the software, the Office app has basic functionality, but is missing some key productivity features. 'These include: font options, text alignment, bulleted lists and, again, more color choices, all of which you can find in, say, the Google Drive app.' They say it's a fairly useful addition for current subscribers, but certainly not enough to make it worth the Office 365 subscription fee on its own. 'We can't tell if Microsoft deliberately handicapped Office Mobile for iPhone, or if it's simply saving some features for a later update. (A company rep declined to comment on what we can expect from future versions.) We're willing to believe Microsoft still has some unfinished items on its to-do list, but even so, it's a shame that iPhone users waited this long for an Office app, only to get something with such a minimal feature set. All told, Office Mobile represents a good enough start for Microsoft, and in some ways it's better than Google Drive, particularly where spreadsheets are concerned. Still, it's miles behind other office apps for iOS, including Apple iWork.'"
Hardware

World's Smallest Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 Module? 42

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-in-your-ear dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Variscite has unveiled what it claims is the world's tiniest Cortex-A9 system-on-module, measuring 52 x 17mm. The Linux- and Android-compatible DART-4460 board is based on a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, is available with up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, and can run at 400MHz on just 44mA. The module provides interfaces for display (HDMI, RGB, DSI), wireless (Bluetooth, WiFi), audio, camera, USB, and more, and it consumes as little as 5mA in suspend and 44mA while running from a 3.7V battery at 400 MHz, according to Variscite. And in case you were wondering, the iconic Gumstix form-factor is 12 percent larger, at 58 x 17mm."
Communications

Ask Slashdot: How To Bypass Gov't Spying On Cellphones? 364

Posted by timothy
from the excuse-me-while-I-snap-this-glove dept.
First time accepted submitter jarle.aase writes "It's doable today to use a mix of virtual machines, VPN, TOR, encryption (and staying away from certain places; like Google Plus, Facebook, and friends), in order to retain a reasonable degree of privacy. In recent days, even major mainstream on-line magazines have published such information. (Aftenposten, one of the largest newspapers in Norway, had an article yesterday about VPN, Tor and Freenet!) But what about the cell-phone? Technically it's not hard to design a phone that can switch off the GSM transmitter, and use VoIP for calls. VoIP could then go from the device through Wi-Fi and VPN. Some calls may be routed trough PSTN gateways — allowing the agencies to track the other party. But they will not track your location. And they will not track pure, encrypted VoIP calls that traverse trough VPN and use anonymous SIP or XMPP accounts. Android may not be the best software for such a device, as it very eagerly phones home. The same is true for iOS and Windows 8. Actually, I would prefer a non cloud-based mobile OS from a vendor that is not in the PRISM gallery. Does such a device exist yet? Something that runs a relatively safe OS, where GSM can be switched totally off? Something that will only make an outgoing network connection when I ask it to do so?" And in the absence of a perfect solution, what do you do instead? (It's still Android and using the cell network, but Red Phone — open sourced last year — seems like a good start.)
Wireless Networking

iPhone Apparently Open To Old Wi-Fi Attack 90

Posted by timothy
from the any-old-wireless-port-in-a-storm dept.
judgecorp writes "Security researchers say that iPhone and other Apple devices are vulnerable to an old attack, using a fake Wi-Fi access point. Attackers can use an SSID which matches one that is stored on the iPhone (say "BTWiF"), which the iPhone will connect to automatically. Other devices are protected thanks to the use of HTTPS, which enforces HTTPS, but iPhones are susceptible to this man in the middle attack, researchers say."
Transportation

Another Study Confirms Hands-Free Texting While Driving Is Unsafe 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-that-anybody-who-texts-behind-wheel-will-stop dept.
schwit1 writes with a followup to a story we discussed in April about how using voice-activated texting while driving was no safer than using your hands. Now, a study by AAA has found that using voice commands to send texts is more dangerous than simply talking on your cellphone. "Texting a friend verbally while behind the wheel caused a 'large' amount of mental distraction compared with 'moderate/significant' for holding a phone conversation or talking with a passenger and 'small' when listening to music or an audio book, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a report released today. Automakers have promoted voice-based messaging as a safer alternative to taking hands off the wheel to place a call and talk on a handheld phone. About 9 million infotainment systems will be shipped this year in cars sold worldwide, with that number projected to rise to more than 62 million by 2018, according to a March report by London-based ABI Research. 'As we push towards these hands-free systems, we may be solving one problem while creating another,' said Joel Cooper, a University of Utah assistant research professor who worked on the study. 'Tread lightly. There's a lot of rush to develop these systems.' The findings from the largest U.S. motorist group bolster National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman's call to ban all phone conversations behind the wheel, even with hands-free devices."
Portables

Half a Billion PCs To Ship In 2013, As Desktops and Laptops Dip But Tablets Grow 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-keep-the-lights-on-for-another-year dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets) is expected to see almost half a billion units ship this year, 493.1 million to be exact, representing 7 percent year-on-year growth. Unsurprisingly, the key driver behind this growth will be tablets, accounting for 37 percent of the overall market and seeing 59 percent growth to 182.5 million units. The latest estimates come from Canalys, an independent analyst firm. Nevertheless, it's worth emphasizing that these are estimates, though they do line up with what the broader industry is seeing: desktops are down, laptops are down, but tablets are up."
Google

Google Glass Teardown 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you-got-your-money's-worth dept.
saccade.com writes "Ever wonder how Google packed all of the Google Glass functionality into a slender eyeglass frame? Find out by checking out this teardown by Scott Torborg and Star Simpson. Goodies found inside include proximity, light and inertial sensors, sound transducers, a TI OMAP CPU, flash, RAM, camera and tiny projection display."
Cellphones

Proposed NJ Law Allows Cops To Search Phones At Crash Scenes 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-they-could-just-ask-the-NSA dept.
New submitter WML MUNSON sends this quote from NJ.com: "License, registration and cell phone, please. Police officers across New Jersey could be saying that to motorists at the scenes of car crashes if new legislation introduced in the state Senate becomes law. The measure would allow cops — without a warrant — to thumb through a cell phone to determine if a driver was talking or texting when an accident occurred. It requires officers to have 'reasonable grounds' to believe the law was broken. There were 1,840 handheld cell phone-related crashes in New Jersey in 2011, resulting in 807 injuries and six deaths, according to the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety. 'Think about it: The chances of the cop witnessing the accident are slim to none,' said the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Ocean), who has worked as a county and municipal prosecutor. 'He’s dispatched, and by the time he gets there — unless they’re unconscious and the phone is in their hands, or some passenger says they were on the phone — then he’s got to do what? Subpoena the service to see if the phone was actively used or not?'"
Cellphones

First Look At Ubuntu Touch, the Smartphone OS 60

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-nsa-approved dept.
colinneagle writes "The first developer preview of Ubuntu Touch – aka 'Ubuntu for Phones and Tablets' – was unveiled just a few short months ago. And, just a few weeks back, it was announced that the team was shooting for having a fully functional (aka "can use it as your actual phone, on a daily basis") version by the end of May. May is now over, so Bryan Lunduke published some screenshots and analysis of the core features of the Ubuntu OS for smartphones and tablets."
Cellphones

Apple's War Against Jailbreaking Now Makes Perfect Sense 321

Posted by timothy
from the sacrifice-the-phone-to-save-your-world dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple has always been extremely anti jailbreaking, but it might now have a good reason to plug up the exploits. As Hardware 2.0 argues, Apple's new iOS 7 Activation Lock anti-theft mechanism which renders stolen handsets useless (even after wiping) unless the owner's Apple ID is entered relies on having a secure, locked-down OS. Are the days of jailbreaking iOS coming to a close?" I can see a whole new variety of phone-based ransom-ware based on this capability, too.
Cellphones

Mobile Devices Will Outnumber People By 2017 130

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-only-because-of-famine dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "According to the latest report from analysts at CCS Insight, there will be more mobile phones and tablets in use in four years' time than there are people on the planet. With the machines well and truly taking over, will we be using them or will they be controlling us?"
Portables

Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches 138

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-like-a-weird-baby dept.
MojoKid writes "Dell recently combined two trending PC design styles into a single system and called it the XPS 18 Portable All-In-One Desktop. The machine has all the power of an AIO desktop system and some of the portability of a tablet. To be clear, Dell isn't suggesting you'll want to tote this thing across town in ways that you might use an iPad. It's portable in that you can snatch up the 18.4-inch Full HD display from your home office and take it to the living room to switch gears from Google Docs to gaming with the kids, or take it upstairs for some late night surfing before bed. ... The main attraction, however, is that the PC itself is a portable display featuring an 18.4-inch IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution and full touch support. Performance-wise the XPS 18 holds its own versus mainstream all-in-one touch PCs, but with added ability to pick the 5 pound system up go virtually anywhere with it on a moment's notice."
IOS

The Strange History of Apple and FlatWorld 89

Posted by timothy
from the surreal-world dept.
Fnord666 writes "When a company called FlatWorld Interactives LLC filed suit against Apple just over a year ago, it looked like a typical 'patent troll' lawsuit against a tech company, brought by someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits. Court documents unsealed this week reveal who's behind FlatWorld, and it's anything but typical. FlatWorld is partly owned by the named inventor on the patents, a Philadelphia design professor named Slavko Milekic. But 35 percent of the company has been quietly controlled by an attorney at one of Apple's own go-to law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple's touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world."
IOS

What Features Does iOS 7 Need? 262

Posted by timothy
from the built-in-route-to-nsa dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's iOS 7, which is heavily rumored to make its debut at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, will almost certainly feature a totally redesigned interface. According to recent rumors (including a few key postings on the Apple-centric blog 9 to 5 Mac), the OS will stand as a shining example of "flat" design, which eliminates "real world" elements such as texture and shading in favor of stripped-down, basic shapes. That means certain iOS environments such as Game Center (with its casino-like green felt) and Newsstand (with its wooden shelving) could soon look completely different. But what about iOS 7's actual features? What could Apple change that would improve the operating system's chances against the increasingly sophisticated Google Android, not to mention the new-and-improved BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8? What would you do to iOS with Apple's full resources at your disposal?"
Network

Private Networks For Public Safety 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the sounds-timely dept.
JonZittrain writes "Projects like the New American Foundation's Commotion are designing ad hoc mesh networking to keep communications open when governments want to censor. Former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and I argue that mutual-aid-based networks can be helpful for public safety, too, after attacks or natural disasters. There should be easy practices for anyone to open up an otherwise-closed Wi-Fi access point if it's still connected to broadband and is near people in trouble, and separately, to develop delay- and fault-tolerant fallback ad hoc networks so users' devices can communicate directly with one another and in a mesh. This can happen even while full packet-based ad hoc mesh is being figured out. The ideas have been developed a little in workshops at Harvard's Berkman Center and the FCC. Why not bring the human rights and public safety communities together towards a common goal?"
Handhelds

It's Time To Start Taking Stolen Phones Seriously 282

Posted by samzenpus
from the something-worth-stealing dept.
itwbennett writes "'Find My iPhone' is neat, but it's time for smartphone makers and carriers to stop pretending their anti-theft measures are anything more than minimum viable products, says blogger Kevin Purdy. He's not the first to point this out: As reported in Slashdot, 'NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said overall crime in New York City was up 3.3% in 2012 due to iPhone, iPad and other Apple device thefts.' And now San Francisco and New York attorneys general are calling a 'Smartphone Summit' where representatives from Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft are due to meet and discuss the implementation of a industry-wide 'kill switch' system."
Google

Google Patents Frowns and Winks To Unlock Your Phone 89

Posted by timothy
from the your-tic-is-your-password dept.
Excelcia writes "Users could soon be asked to pull a series of faces to unlock their Android phones or tablets. Google has filed a patent suggesting users stick out their tongue or wrinkle their nose in place of a password. Requiring specific gestures could prevent the existing Face Unlock facility being fooled by photos. The software could monitor if there were changes in the angle of the person's face to ensure the device was not being shown a still image with a fake gesture animated on top."
Iphone

iPhone 4, iPad 2 Get US Import Ban 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-one-generation-after-it-matters dept.
Bent Spoke writes "The U.S. trade agency has banned the import of older Apple iPhone and iPad models due to the violation of a patent held by Samsung (PDF). 'The president can overturn the import ban on public-policy grounds, though that rarely happens. Apple can keep selling the devices during the 60-day review period. ... Apple pledged to appeal the ITC decision. The underlying findings will be reviewed by a U.S. appeals court specializing in patent cases. ... The decision could mean fewer choices for AT&T and T-Mobile customers who want to get an iPhone without paying the higher cost of the iPhone 5. Samsung told the commission that Cupertino, California-based Apple could drop the price of the iPhone 5 if it was worried about losing potential customers. All of the iPhones are made in Asia.' It's getting so complicated we need a scorecard to keep track of who's winning these offensive patent battles in the smartphone coliseum."
Input Devices

Wi-Fi Signals Allow Gesture Recognition All Through the Home 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the physical-input-devices-are-passe dept.
vinces99 writes "Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air and your lights will power down. Want to change the song playing on your music system in the other room? Move your hand to the right and flip through the songs. University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality. They have shown it's possible to use Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras. By using an adapted Wi-Fi router and a few wireless devices in the living room, users could control their electronics and household appliances from any room in the home with a simple gesture."
Mozilla

Mozilla, Foxconn Confirm Firefox OS Partnership 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the teaming-up dept.
hypnosec writes "Mozilla has confirmed reports that indicated a probable collaboration with Foxconn for development of Firefox OS based devices. Announcing the 'wide ranging partnership' with Foxconn, Mozilla's SVP of Mobile Devices noted in a blog post that collaboration between the two companies 'demonstrates the full potential of Firefox OS,' and it would not only enable the smartphone 'but also a wide range of mobile devices.'"
Canada

CRTC Unveils New Wireless Code To Protect Canadian Customers 230

Posted by samzenpus
from the great-white-phone-plan dept.
FuzzNugget writes "The CRTC has unveiled a code of conduct that brings many positive changes for Canadian wireless customers, most notably:
1.) Carriers must provide the option to unlock a cell phone after 3 months for subsidized phones within the contract period, or immediately if the device was purchased outright.
2.) Contracts are now capped at two years, and cancellation fees are limited to the amount of the subsidy.
3.) Carriers can no longer charge outrageous data overage and international roaming charges. Without explicit consent from the a customer, such charges are capped at $50 and $100 per month, respectively."
Security

Researchers Infect iOS Devices With Malware Via Malicious Charger 201

Posted by timothy
from the nobody-wants-some-iphone-with-a-social-disease dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the upcoming Black Hat security conference in late July, three researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology plan to show off a proof-of-concept charger that they say can be used to invisibly install malware on a device running the latest version of Apple's iOS. A description of their talk posted to the conference website describes how they were able to install whatever malware they wished on an Apple device within a minute of the user plugging it into their malicious charger, which they're calling 'Mactans' after the scientific name of a Black Widow spider. The malware-loaded USB plug is built around an open-source single-board computer known as a BeagleBoard, sold by Texas Instruments for a retail price of around $45. The researchers have contacted Apple about their exploit but haven't heard back from the company and aren't sharing more details of their hack until they do."
Portables

Pi to Go: Hot Raspberry Pi DIY Mini Desktop PC Project 134

Posted by timothy
from the tab-a-slot-b-fruit-x dept.
MojoKid writes "Hot Hardware recently set out to design a custom mini desktop system with the popular Raspberry Pi single board computer. People have configured the device for a variety of applications, from micro-servers to low cost media players. Basically, the goal was to turn what is currently one of the cheapest bare-bones computer boards into a fully enclosed mini desktop computer that could be taken anywhere without the need for cabling or setup. This small DIY project is just one of many examples of the flexibility of the Raspberry Pi's open architecture. And to think you can even run Quake and Minecraft on it."
The Media

Chicago Sun Times Swaps iPhone Training For Staff Photographers 316

Posted by timothy
from the cross-training-nervous-reporters dept.
frdmfghtr notes (via Cult of Mac) that "the reporters of the Chicago Sun-Times are being given training in iPhone photography, to make up for the firing of the photography staff. From the CoM story: 'The move is part of a growing trend towards publications using the iPhone as a replacement for fancy, expensive DSLRs. It's a also a sign of how traditional journalism is being changed by technology like the iPhone and the advent of digital publishing.'"
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Portable High-Resolution External Displays? 141

Posted by timothy
from the just-don't-get-mugged dept.
First time accepted submitter paragonc writes "I am a software engineer who works remotely. I'm amazingly lucky to live in Austin, Texas where I have access to multiple high quality co-working facilities within biking distance. While these places are great for networking and establishing a rhythm to daily life, not having a permanent desk forces me to pack my gear in and out each day. This means i pack light. My current Go Bag includes a 13.3 inch MacBook pro, and an iPad running avatron Air Display. This has worked well, but i'm sorely missing having a real high resolution external monitor. I've looked at a few of the USB powered external displays, but the resolution seems to only hit 1366 X 768. I'd be curious if slashdotters have any tricks up their sleeves on how to implement a high resolution portable external displays."
Bug

Bug In Samsung S3 Grabs Too Many Images, Ups Data Use 99

Posted by timothy
from the my-t-shirt-size-is-sx-s-m-l-xl-and-xxxxl-simultaneously dept.
First time accepted submitter Emmanuel Cecchet writes "Researchers of the BenchLab project at UMass Amherst have discovered a bug in the browser of the Samsung S3. If you browse a Web page that has multiple versions of the same image (for mobile, tablet, desktop, etc...) like most Wikipedia pages for example, instead of downloading one image at the right resolution, the phone will download all versions of it. A page that should be less than 100K becomes multiple MB! It looks like a bug in the implementation of the srcset HTML tag, but all the details are in the paper to be presented at the IWQoS conference next week. So far Samsung didn't acknowledge the problem though it seems to affect all S3 phones. You'd better have an unlimited data plan if you browse Wikipedia on an S3!"

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