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Cellphones

Possible Cellphone Link To Cancer Found In Rat Study (nbcnews.com) 63

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: A giant U.S. study meant to help decide whether cellphones cause cancer is coming back with confusing results. A report on the study, conducted in rats and mice, is not finished yet. But advocates pushing for more research got wind of the partial findings and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has released them early. They suggest that male rats exposed to constant, heavy doses of certain types of cellphone radiation develop brain and heart tumors. But female rats didn't, and even the rats that developed tumors lived longer than rats not exposed to the radiation. The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, is still analyzing the findings. But John Bucher, associate director of the program, said the initial findings were so significant that the agency decided to release them. A 29-year-old study published earlier this month from Australia reassures us that cellphones are reasonably safe, and do not cause cancer.
Power

US Bans Electronic Cigarettes From Checked Baggage Over Fire Risks (foxnews.com) 131

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this month, the FDA announced it would regulate electronic cigarettes and other new tobacco products. Now, the U.S. Transportation Department announced it is permanently banning passengers and crew members from carrying electronic cigarettes in checked baggage or charging the devices onboard aircraft. They have cited a number of recent incidents that show the devices can catch fire during flight. Passengers can still carry e-cigarettes in their carry-on baggage or on their person, they just can't use the devices on flights. "Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent and important safety measure." The new rule covers e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, and battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in general. It does not prohibit passengers from transporting other battery-powered devices for personal use like laptop computers or cellphones.
Communications

Campaign Demands Telecoms Unlock the FM Radio Found in Many Smartphones (www.cbc.ca) 340

An anonymous reader cites an article on CBC: Your smartphone may include an FM radio chip but, chances are, it doesn't work. Now, an online campaign has launched in Canada, putting pressure on telecoms and manufacturers to turn on the radio hidden in many cellphones. Titled, "free radio on my phone," the campaign says that most Android smartphones have a built-in FM receiver which doesn't require data or Wi-Fi to operate. The U.S. arm of the campaign believes iPhones also have a built-in radio chip but that it can't be activated. Apple wouldn't confirm this detail. The radio chip in many Android phones also lies dormant. But the campaign says it can easily be activated -- if telecom providers ask the manufacturers to do it. In Canada, however, most of the telecoms haven't made the move to get the radio turned on. They'd prefer that you stream your audio, depleting your phone's costly data plan, claims campaign organizer, Barry Rooke.
Australia

Cellphones Do Not Cause Brain Cancer, Says 29-Year Study (gizmodo.com) 234

A study from Australia reassures us that cellphones are reasonably safe, and do not cause brain cancer. Chris Mills writes from Gizmodo: "The study examines the incidence of brain cancer in the Australian population between 1982 to 2013. The study pitted the prevalence of mobile phones among the population -- starting at 0 percent -- against brain cancer rates, using data from national cancer registration data. The results showed a very slight increase in brain cancer rates among males, but a stable level among females. There were significant increases in over -70s, but began in 1982, before cellphones were even a thing." What makes the study in Australia so authentic compared to other studies conducted in other countries is the fact that all diagnosed cases of cancer have to be registered by law.
Iphone

Slashdot Asks: What Do You Think Is The Most Influential Gadget Of All Time? (macrumors.com) 397

TIME has published a list ranking the 50 most influential gadgets of all time, from cameras and TVs to music players, smartphones, and drones. Can you guess what was the number one most influential gadget on the list? That's right, the Apple iPhone. "Apple was the first company to put a truly powerful computer in the pockets of millions when it launched the iPhone in 2007," according to TIME. "The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks."

There's a lot of interesting gadgets on the list that have had a profound impact on mankind in some form or another, for better or worse. Do you agree with TIME's number one choice? What do you think is the most influential gadget of all time?
It's funny.  Laugh.

Phone-Friendly Movie Theaters For Millennials Could Be Reality Soon (variety.com) 321

An anonymous reader writes: AMC Entertainment realizes Millennials' increasingly growing love for and reliance on smartphones for things, which is why it says it is open to the idea of phone-friendly movie theaters. "When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don't ruin the movie, they hear 'please cut off your left arm above the elbow,'" Adam Aron, AMC Entertainment CEO tells Variety. "You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That's not how they live their life." Aron believes that AMC needs "to reshape our product in some concrete ways so that millennials go to movie theaters with the same degree of intensity as baby boomers went to movie theaters throughout their lives." AMC also realizes that if it allows people to use cellphones in theater, and text and talk to their friends, this might disturb the fellow citizen who just want to watch the god-damn movie in peace. He says the company is "going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't disturb today's audiences. [...] That's one possibility. What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting-friendly."
Businesses

Company Creates Gun That Looks Like a Cellphone (nbcnews.com) 678

Earthquake Retrofit writes: Sometimes you want to carry your gun in peace, but people keep drawing attention to your piece. This very issue plagued Kirk Kjellberg, the creator of Ideal Conceal, a [.380-caliber pistol] that folds up to look like a smartphone. "A boy spotted me in [a] restaurant and said loudly, 'Mommy, Mommy, that guy's got a gun!' And then pretty much the whole restaurant stared at me," Kjellberg told NBC News. He developed Ideal Conceal to avoid those awkward situations. According to NBC News, "In locked position, the two-shot plastic gun with a metal core can be discreetly slipped into pockets, like a real phone. But 'with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire,' Ideal Conceal claims. The Department of Homeland Security has contacted him about the pistol, and he plans on giving them x-rays of it so law enforcement can distinguish it from cellphones during airport screenings. An Ideal Conceal prototype is slated for June, with sales beginning in October. The gun is listed for $395."
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Glare On Cellphones? 135

An anonymous reader writes: As far as I know, I am not particularly sensitive to glare; I've used CRTs in offices full of overhead fluorescent lights, and just ignored the terrible reflections, and I've worked in places where the natural sunlight cleverly funneled in by architects was bounced around by glass walls and mirrors in just the right way to irritate. Still, I never found it much of a problem. Now, though, I work in a field that has me both working outdoors a lot, and traveling by car a fair amount, too. Now that days are getting longer, especially up here in the Pacific Northwest, I know that I'll be squinting and cursing a lot at my phone. My question(s): Are there are any modern smart phones you can recommend with a truly or even passably day-light readable screen? I don't care if it's e-ink (that would be cool), transflective (long promised!) or maybe just a secondary screen with some daylight-readable technology. Barring that, how do you deal with glare on a phone, when you need to use it on a sunny day? Same answer could apply to laptop use, I suppose. Do you build a little glare shield, of the kind that camera operators use? Wear a giant hood of privacy and darkness? I know I'm not alone — I see lots of others squinting and cursing at their cell phones, cupping it with their hands at their eyes, or ducking into scant shade just to see whether the call that's coming is one they need to take, or to read a text. I've tried quite a few phones that have been praised by reviewers for their bright, crisp, daylight-friendly displays, but I think those reviewers probably lived in New York or San Francisco, and were reading in either shadow or fog, because even the brightest Samsungs, Motorolas, and LGs I've seen cannot hold a candle to the summer sun north of Seattle.
Democrats

NJ Legislator Proposes Fine For Walking While Phone-Distracted (philly.com) 194

schwit1 writes: A bill proposed this week by Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D., Camden) would impose a fine of up to $50 and possibly 15 days in jail for pedestrians caught using their cellphones without hands-free devices while walking on public sidewalks and along roadways. If the bill becomes law, 'petextrians' — people who text while walking — would face the same penalties as jaywalkers in New Jersey. From the article: Researchers say distracted walkers are more likely to ignore traffic lights or fail to look both ways before crossing the street. ... Lampitt said she wants that message to hit home in New Jersey for pedestrians and motorists who could easily be distracted while looking at mobile devices. Her bill, however, faces an uncertain future in the Legislature. It has not been posted for a vote and Lampitt acknowledged she might have a tough time getting it passed." Distracted pedestrians surely pose some risks, but they don't budge the needle compared to overbearing officialdom.
PlayStation (Games)

Sony Is Bringing PlayStation Games To iOS and Android Devices (gizmodo.com) 48

An anonymous reader points us to Bryan Lufkin's report on Gizmodo: A year ago, Nintendo announced its long-overdue plans to bring its games to smartphones. Now, Sony's doing the same thing. You'll soon be able to play original Sony games on your iOS or Android device, the company announced today. Sony is setting up a new business division called ForwardWorks, which will focus on mobile services, bringing 'full-fledged game titles' and Sony's PlayStation characters and intellectual property to handheld smart devices. And it could be happening pretty soon -- the press release says ForwardWorks kicks off operations next month.
Communications

Paris Terrorists Used Burner Phones, Not Encryption, To Evade Detection (arstechnica.com) 161

An anonymous reader writes from an article on Ars Technica: New details of the Paris attacks carried out last November reveal that it was the consistent use of prepaid burner phones, not encryption, that helped keep the terrorists off the radar of the intelligence services. As an article in The New York Times reports: "the three teams in Paris were comparatively disciplined. They used only new phones that they would then discard, including several activated minutes before the attacks, or phones seized from their victims." The article goes on to give more details of how some phones were used only very briefly in the hours leading up to the attacks. "Everywhere they went, the attackers left behind their throwaway phones, including in Bobigny, at a villa rented in the name of Ibrahim Abdeslam. When the brigade charged with sweeping the location arrived, it found two unused cellphones still inside their boxes." At another location used by one of the terrorists, the police found dozens of unused burner phones "still in their wrappers." As The New York Times says, one of the most striking aspects of the phones is that not a single e-mail or online chat message from the attackers was found on them. But rather than trying to avoid discovery by using encryption -- which would in itself have drawn attention to their accounts -- they seem to have stopped using the internet as a communication channel altogether, and turned to standard cellular network calls on burner phones.
Iphone

Apple Unveils Smaller iPhone SE, Starting At $399 (techcrunch.com) 158

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has officially unveiled a smaller, cheaper iPhone designed to make a splash in the budget-friendly smartphone market. The new device, called the iPhone SE, looks nearly identical to the iPhone 5S but with a new rose gold color configuration. It's the internal specifications that differ significantly. The new iPhone SE will feature a NFC chip for Apple Pay, A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor, 12-megapixel camera sensor with the ability to capture 4K video, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Unfortunately, it does not feature Apple's new 3D touch functionality. The iPhone SE will come in two models, 16GB and 64GB, priced at $399 and $499 respectively. You can buy the new iPhone starting March 31, and it will make its way to 100 countries by May.
Blackberry

Facebook and Whatsapp Discontinue Support For Blackberry (canadajournal.net) 138

Meshach writes with a link to news that as of yesterday, Facebook and WhatsApp have both discontinued support for Blackberry smartphones including BlackBerry 10 and BBOS platforms. Apparently Blackberry fought to have the support continue but in the end they were not successful. BlackBerry has had to replaced their official Facebook App with a native app that uses a simple web interface. If you're still using a Blackberry, it would be interesting to know why. (You like the interface? Business requirement? Just being contrarian?)
Microsoft

Microsoft Finally Rolls Out Windows 10 Mobile To Older Phones (engadget.com) 44

An anonymous reader writes: One year after Windows 10 Mobile was announced, Microsoft is finally rolling out their new OS to older mobile devices, specifically devices running Windows Phone 8.1. Here's the complete list of supported phones: Lumia 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1GB, 636 1GB, 638 1GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q, and the MCJ Madosma Q501. Depending on where you live and which carrier you have, the update will be handled differently. Microsoft has said "many older devices are not able to successfully upgrade without an impact on the customer experience." For an OS that continues to lose market share [to] iOS and Android, it makes sense for Microsoft to be so concerned about the user experience as it is crucial for the success of Windows 10 Mobile.
Cellphones

LG Releases First Smartphone With DAB+ Chip (thestack.com) 53

An anonymous reader writes: LG have released the first smartphone with built-in DAB+ circuitry,allowing users to listen to digital radio without consuming mobile data bandwidth. The LG Stylus 2 will initially be released in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands (perhaps not coincidentally these are among the highest-rate adopters of DAB/DAB+). Patchy coverage and often-poor bitrates have hindered the take-up of DAB/+, which has been in development since the early 1980s, and it's hoped that the shift from the motoring to the smartphone space will alleviate some of the coverage problems that users experienced with the push to DAB-based car radios. No benchmarks on power consumption of the integrated DAB+ circuitry is currently available.
Communications

Chicagoan Arrested For Using Cell-phone Jammer To Make Subway Commute Tolerable (chicagotribune.com) 518

McGruber writes with this story from the Chicago Tribune: Last Fall, certified public accountant Dennis Nicholl boarded a Chicago subway train while carrying a plastic bag of Old Style beer. Nicholl popped open a beer and looked around the car, scowling as he saw another rider talking on a cellphone. He pulled out a black device from his pocket and switched it on. Commuters who had been talking on their phones went silent, checking their screens for the source of their dropped calls. On Tuesday, undercover officers arrested Nicholl. Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police allege he created his own personal 'quiet car' on the subway by using an illegal device he imported from China. He was charged with unlawful interference with a public utility, a felony. This is not the first time Nicholl has been charged with jamming cell calls. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in June 2009, according to court records. He was placed under court supervision for a year, and his equipment was confiscated and destroyed.
Cellphones

McAfee Says He Lied About iPhone Hacking Method To Get Public Attention 171

blottsie writes: McAfee, who founded of one of the first companies to offer antivirus software, claimed on CNN and Russia Today, as well as in a Business Insider column, that he could bypass the advanced encryption protecting the phone without Apple's help. But he lied in these interviews, he said in an interview with the Daily Dot, to "get a shitload of public attention."
Cellphones

Samsung Galaxy S7's Moisture Warning Prevents Charging When Wet (hothardware.com) 74

MojoKid writes: The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge don't officially launch for a few more days, but some carriers appear to have shipped pre-orders early and some phones are already in consumers' hands. One early Galaxy S7 Edge owner appears to have tested his phones' water-resistance already and uncovered another new feature in the process. The user submerged his Galaxy S7 Edge in water and snapped a photo, then about four hours later plugged the phone into its fast charger and a warning popped-up on screen that stated, "Moisture detected in charging port", and the phone wouldn't charge. The user dried the phone and let it sit for a while, and it eventually started to charge again, but it wouldn't quick charge any longer. Frustrated, the user RMA'd the phone and plans to send it back to T-Mobile. The Galaxy S7 is IP68 rated, which means it is sealed against dust and can handle continuous submersion in up to 1 meter of water. However, the water detection feature that's apparently built into the Galaxy S7 is a good idea. Though the devices are IP68 rated, a few drops of water in the charging port could easily cause a short when the phone is plugged in.
Security

Fingerprint-Protected Phones Vulnerable To Inkjet Attack (softpedia.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: Two researchers have come up with a new method of hacking smartphones that use fingerprint biometrics to protect and lock the user's data. Their method only needs a regular inkjet printer, three AgIC silver conductive ink cartridges, a normal black ink cartridge, and special AgIC paper. The entire attack takes no more than 15 minutes. Current tests only included a Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Huawei Hornor 7. The researchers said that while the Samsung was easy to crack, the Huawei phone needed more tries.
IOS

iOS 9.3 Will Tell You If Your Employer Is Monitoring Your iPhone (mashable.com) 137

An anonymous reader writes: Nobody likes being monitored. But even if you suspected your company is following your activities on the iPhone, would you know where to check? In the next iteration of its smartphone operating system, iOS 9.3, Apple is looking to make this an easier task. According to Reddit user MaGNeTiX, the latest beta of iOS 9.3 has a message telling users their iPhone is being supervised. The message is as prominent as can be, both on the device's lock screen and in the About section. "This iPhone is managed by your organization," the message on the lock screen says. And in the About screen, you get a little more detail, with a message saying your iPhone's supervisor can monitor your Internet traffic and locate your device.

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