"When you think about electronics manufacturing, you probably don’t automatically think about Africa. You are about to meet somebody who would like to change your mind about that. His name is Tony Smith, and he is the CEO and Founder of Limitless Electronics." That's how Slashdot Editor Timothy Lord introduces this video. And that's what it's about: Former Microsoft employee Tony Smith at CES 2013 talking about his efforts to bring electronics assembly and distribution to his native country, Cameroon, through his company, Limitless Electronics.
Nerval's Lobster writes "For quite some time Mozilla has been working on Firefox OS, a lightweight mobile OS built in HTML5. Now it's whipped the curtain back from the first developer preview phones. The developer preview phones are unlocked, requiring the user insert their own SIM card. If those specs seem a little underpowered compared to other smartphones on the market, it's because Firefox OS is intended for lower-end smartphones; target markets include developing countries such as Brazil and China. (The first developer preview phones will be available in February.) The Firefox OS (once known as 'Boot to Gecko') is based on a handful of open APIs. The actual interface is highly reminiscent of Google Android and Apple iOS, with grids of icons linked to applications." The specs really aren't that bad; reader sfcrazy points out that they include the usual features baked into medium- and high-end phones these days: Wifi N, light and proximity sensors, and an accelerometer (though no mention of NFC).
Bennett Haselton writes "Here are three hacks that I adopted in the last few weeks, each of which solved a minor problem that I had lived with for so long that I no longer thought of it as a problem — until a solution came along, which was like a small weight off my shoulders. None of these hacks will help impress anyone with your technical prowess; I'm just putting them here because they made my life easier." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
Incarnate-VO writes "Long running space-MMO Vendetta Online, which debuted with Linux support back in 2002, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support a major gameplay expansion, including player-owned stations, capships, and territorial conquest. If the Kickstarter succeeds, an upcoming iPad version could also gain some added polish, joining the existing mobile support for Android. (The Kickstarter video is also available on YouTube in HD)."
Trailrunner7 writes "Up to a million Android users in China could be part of a large mobile botnet, according to research unveiled by Kingsoft Security, a Hong Kong-based security company, this week. The botnet has spread across phones running the Android operating system via Android.Troj.mdk, a Trojan that researchers said exists in upwards of 7,000 applications available from non-Google app marketplaces, including the popular Temple Run and Fishing Joy games." Update: 01/19 12:54 GMT by S : Changed summary to reflect that these apps didn't come from Google Play.
another random user sends this news from the BBC: "Nokia is releasing design files that will let owners use 3D printers to make their own cases for its Lumia phones. Files containing mechanical drawings, case measurements and recommended materials have already been released by the phone maker. Those using the files will be able to create a custom-designed case for the flagship Lumia 820 handset. The project makes Nokia one of the first big electronics firms to seriously back 3D printing."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday launched a new mobile app powered by Windows Azure called HelpBridge that lets you both ask for help after a natural disaster, as well as offer to give it. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the launch is an excellent initiative to rally everyone around one cause: supporting each other during a time of need. You can download the app right now from the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and the Windows Phone Store. Unfortunately, it's only available in the US right now, but hopefully Microsoft will be expanding regional support soon."
YokimaSun writes to point out a Kickstarter project that may warm the cockles of your heart: "Fans of emulation and homebrew have not had much to cheer about over the years; the recent generation of consoles has pretty much killed off any hacking by constant firmware updates. The days of PSP homebrew have died a death and consoles like the Caanoo, GP2x and even the mighty Openpandora never really lived up to the massive expectation. There is a glimmer of hope from a team of homebrew developers who have developed a new console called the GCW-Zero, a new open source handheld system which uses the OpenDingux Linux OS. The specs are impressive, with a Ingenic JZ4770 1 GHz MIPS processor, Vivante GC860, capable of OpenGL ES 2.0, 3.5 inch LCD with 320x240 pixels; 4:3 aspect ratio, 512 MB DDR2 and 16GB of internal memory which can via external memory card be extended by another 32GB. N64 and PS1 emulation and everything below should be at full speed in time."
CWmike writes "It's starting to look like the BlackBerry store will be well stocked with apps when Research In Motion launches BlackBerry 10 (see YouTube preview) at the end of this month. The company held an event over the weekend where it offered app developers incentives to port their programs to the BlackBerry 10 platform and managed to attract 15,000 app submissions. 'Well there you have it. 37.5 hours in, we hit 15,000 apps for this portathon. Feel like I've run a marathon. Thanks to all the devs!' wrote Alec Saunders, vice president of developer relations at RIM, in a Twitter message. The 'port-a-thon' event was held in two parts: One aimed at Android developers and the other at apps written in other platforms, including Appcelerator, Maramalade, Sencha, jQuery, PhoneGap and Qt. RIM was offering $100 for each app ported and subsequently approved for sale in the BlackBerry 10 app store, up to certain limits. Developers could also win BlackBerry 10 development handsets and a trip to RIM's BlackBerry Jam Europe developer event." It's hard to believe that many current iOS or Android users are leaping toward Blackberry, though. If you're in one of those camps, is that so crazy?
netbuzz writes "A mysterious GPS-tracking glitch has brought a parade of lost-phone seekers — and police officers — to the front door of a single beleaguered homeowner in Las Vegas. Each of the unexpected visitors – Sprint customers all — has arrived absolutely convinced that the man has their phone. Not so, police confirm. The same thing happened in New Orleans in 2011 and Sprint got sued. Says the Las Vegas man: 'It's very difficult to say, 'I don't have your phone,' in any other way other than, 'I don't have your phone.''"
tsamsoniw writes "Microsoft has filed a patent for a mobile technology called Inconspicuous Mode, aimed at helping you not be 'that guy' who disrupts movies, meals, or meetings with noisy, bright-screened phone alerts. It's a setting that would effectively put your phone in stealth mode when the device sensed it was in a movie theater (thanks to location information) and that the lights had gone down. The idea is, you could still receive alerts if a call or text came in, but no one around you would be disturbed by phone sounds or screen flashes."
In January, 2012, Slashdot carried a story about the launch of a $10 million X-Prize for Tricorder design. This year, at CES, Timothy Lord met Alan Zack, who works for the X PRIZE Foundation, and learned a little more about the Tricorder prize and what it's going to take to win it. "Ultimately," says the www.qualcommtricorderxprize.org page, "this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements." If the success of the Ansari X PRIZE is any indication, it's a rational goal -- and the competition will be exciting to follow as it cranks up.
zacharye writes "The Sunday evening Wall Street Journal article claiming that Apple had cut its iPhone 5 display orders drastically for the March quarter made quite a splash. The way WSJ wrote its piece seemed to support the original Nikkei claim about Apple cutting its iPhone 5 display orders in half from the originally planned order of 65 million units. This would be a massive adjustment. But Apple uses the same new display type for both iPhone 5 and the latest iPod touch. Neither WSJ nor Nikkei addressed this, however — both seemed to be referring to just iPhone 5 displays. The math just doesn't add up."
An anonymous reader writes "With CES all wrapped up, an article at CNET discusses a definite trend in the laptops on display from various manufacturers this year: touchscreens. Intel and Microsoft are leading the way, and attempting to grab the industry's reins as well: '... just to make sure the touch message was crystal clear, Intel issued an edict to PC partners during its CES keynote: all next-generation ultrabooks based on its "Haswell" chip must be touch.' With tablets and detachable/convertible computers coming into the mainstream, it seems the manufacturers have something to gain by condensing their production options. The article says, 'What does that mean to consumers? Your next laptop will likely be touch, whether you like it or not.'"
An anonymous reader writes "This year's Consumer Electronics Show has shown off more interconnected devices than I would know what to do with. Not only are existing devices I use getting modern, Internet-connected interfaces (cars, ovens, and security systems, for example), but companies are now putting out addons for smartphones that replace existing ones (blood pressure and glucose monitors, for instance. An article at the NY Times points out that the smartphone is quickly becoming life's remote control — a portal through with you'll soon be able to control far more of your electric devices than you might expect (or care to). 'For several years, technology companies have promised the dream of the connected home, the connected body and the connected car. Those connections have proved illusory. But in the last year app-powered accessories have provided the mechanism to actually make the connections. That is partly because smartphones have become the device people never put down. But it is also because wireless sensors have become smaller, cheaper and ubiquitous.'"