Archive for  May 2015

Home / May 2015
11 Posts

A new bug has emerged that allows malicious users to crash someone’s iPhone and even reboot it unexpectedly. Tech official Mikal Watts reported that when a certain text string is received the receiver’s messaging app will continuously crash. If the message is received while the receiver is on the lock screen the receiver’s phone will reboot.

This isn’t the first time that iOS has faced this exact same problem. In the past other strings have been used to cause the same headaches. Apple has been very prompt in fixing the bugs, but waiting for a software update while someone is attacking your phone is a little frustrating to say the least.

Fortunately, the text string in question can only be sent from one iPhone to another. If you have an Android phone and want to mess with your Apple loving friends then you’re out of luck.

The person who sent you the original message can simply send you another message to fix what they’ve done. You can also send yourself a text from Siri or from your Mac.

The search for love is not an easy one. It can be hindered by many factors, not the least of which is finding a compatible someone in reasonable proximity to you. Now, thanks to the magic of digital technology and social media, that hunt has been made easier for many people with Skout.

Skout is the brainchild of Swedish entrepreneurs Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom. In 2007, the two created a social network site for mobile devices that they thought would provide a service similar to Facebook. Instead, they discovered subscribers were using it as a type of dating service. Wiklund and Lindstrom, who also serve as the company’s C.E.O. and chief technology officer respectively, were quick to see the potential in such an app. Today, Skout emphasizes the service’s generalized user location feature, and claims that it has attracted more than 500,000,000 users. Skout is available in 180 countries, and can support 14 languages. It was one of 2013’s top dating apps, and consistently appears on Top Twenty lists for dating apps.

Skout (wikipedia.com) operates on iOS and Android systems. Its software utilizes GPS to help users within a general radius track each other. This GPS tracking feature is only available to adult subscribers, and teenaged and adult subscribers are segregated. Subscribers of all ages can use Skout to create profiles and post recent activities for others to view, as with other social network sites. Subscribers can also use Skout’s app to exchange instant messages and virtual gifts. A feature unique to this app is “Shake To Chat”, which is activated by two users shaking their cellphones at the same time.

As a result, Wiklund and Lindstrom have branched out into other digital venues. As the dating app field has become far more competitive, the two began looking for new, different and entertaining ways to convince romance seekers to connect with each other via social networking. Fuse is an app that allows users to create their own social network, using their cell phone’s address book. The app is available worldwide. And in 2014, the duo purchased Nixster which allows users to purchase tickets and see nightlife opportunities in major American cities such as New York and Los Angeles.

California’s drought has been causing serious consequences to the state. The residents there have been under severe water restrictions for a very long time now. The state has been in a financial crisis for just as long. Though the sunny place to live is usually known for its beautiful beaches and fresh salty air, it is becoming more like a desert each day that passes. To ease the drought and bring relief to the people living there, a desalination plant is being built, and it will hopefully be completed by this fall. The ocean water is filled with salt which has to be removed before it can be used for drinking or household use. BibleMoneyMatters even reports that only 50 million gallons will be produced by the plant. This hardly puts a dent in the water needed, but it is a start. It takes an enormous amount of power to run the plant, making it harsh on the environment. It is not cost effective to run the plant. This high power use will lead to a sharp increase in the cost the Californian resident pay for the water they receive.

For anyone who loves to text, there is a bit of a limited experience offered with the traditional texting application built into mobile devices such as the iPhone and Android devices. This is namely the problem with international texting, group texting and other tasks that are just not heavily supported. While someone can make an international text from an iPhone, they are going to be hit with a large text fee from their carrier. In order to prevent this and to take advantage of mobile technology throughout the world, my friend Paul Mathieson shares some solid text applications new to the mobile world that can drastically improve how people interact with one another (examiner.com).

WhatsApp

This application has been around for a while now and it has the largest mobile user following. It now comes with a yearly subscription of around $1, which is about what it would cost to send or receive a handful of text messages internationally. Now, it is not able to make video calls or provide special emoticons or provide strong encryption, but it has the most users and is extremely helpful in this regard.

Kik

This application does not have location adding to the contacts but is great for textures who like to include visual stickers and icons with their international texting habits.

Viber

This is for someone who wants to make both text and audio/video calls internationally for free, as long as the other individual has such an application installed on their device.

If you knew there was a chance your cell phone caused cancerous brain tumors, would you stop using it? The on-going debate about the risk of radiation exposure from excessive cell phone use leaves many of us confused.

Are cell phones hazardous to our health? It depends on who you believe. The folks who run the PurinaStore selling Beneful dog food are concerned.

Recently, a new “Right to Know” ordinance was passed in Berkeley, California that limits cell phone merchandising, without an accompanying warning about exposure to radiation.

Other states have unsuccessfully tried to pass “Right to Know” legislation, but conflicting evidence makes it difficult to uphold.

According to a 2010 study, researchers at Interphone found regular cell phone users were not at risk for brain tumors, however, excessive cell phone users were at risk for glioma tumors, and that data was ruled inconclusive in the end.

Then, in 2011, mobile phone use was labeled a carcinogenic hazard by the World Health Organization (WHO), yet this information is usually doubted and ignored.

The FCC also has guidelines that limit the amount of RF energy emitted from wireless devices. They also summarize distances at which electronic devices should be held away, to protect from excessive exposure to radiofrequency energy.

 

These days, if there’s a need for transportation, Uber will find a way to exploit the service.

Uber has launched an air and maritime service in China and France.

UberChopper offers a helicopter shuttle service in Shanghai, which will cost about $ 484 and includes transport in a Mercedes-Benz from or to the heliport.

UberChopper in Shanghai is only a beta service right now, designed to introduce the services, and measure interest in air services. Adam Sender thinks it has room to grow for sure.

In March, the company also launched a water taxi service in south Hangzhou.

Uber is still considered a newcomer to the Chinese market and there is stiff competition from local companies.

Many of the largest taxi companies in China are owned by local government entities.

Uber has also launched a helicopter taxi shuttle service to transport clients from the airport to the Cannes Film Festival.

Each May, the Cannes international film festival typically pulls in a crowd of 200,000. The closest airport is in Nice, about an hour away, but Uber can shuttle clients via helicopter to Cannes in 7 minutes, at a cost of $180.

Of course, service can be ordered on the Uber app.

The LightSail is a solar-propelled spacecraft first proposed by Carl Sagan. The craft uses the sun as a power source, and the current prototype created by The Planetary Society is the size of a breadbox with four large sails. The prototype is set to have a test flight to space on May 20, 2015, but The Planetary Society still needs another $1.2 million dollars to fund its first full mission in 2016. Bill Nye, the CEO of The Planetary Society, has turned to Kickstarter to help fund his LightSail project. The starting goal is a modest $200,000 but there are stretch goals to $1 million.
That is what Ricardo Guimarães BMG likes to see. If the project gets fully funded, people can look forward to seeing the LightSail liftoff in 2016 with the help of SpaceX.

But what if there was a means to stop that, even reverse it? Well researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are currently working on just that, a small molecule drug that ‘perks up’ old stems cells in both the brain and in muscle. David Schaffer, director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center said. “We established that you can use a single small molecule to rescue essential function in not only aged brain tissue but aged muscle.” The new drug interferes with the production of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1), which accumulates over time and ages the cells. TGF-beta1 not just responsible for the aging of cells, it is also responsible for swelling. The new drug would stop this from happening, creating a ‘younger’ cell.

Thanks Alexei Beltyukov for showing me this science news. Check him out on Google+

Every year consumers spend millions of dollars on computers and computer accessories. A decent computer with ample space will cost no less than 250 dollars. One computer company is working to change that. Meet CHIP, the world’s first nine dollar computer. There is a lot of skepticism around this nine dollar digital wonder. A large amount of computer lovers are asking how reliable such a cheap computer can be.

Thankfully, Boraie Development says that there are a few beta testers who were willing to put CHIP to the test. The first question one would ask, is where the makers of this device get such cheap equipment. CHIP engineers have successfully gutted some incredibly inexpensive Chinese tablets to get the workings of CHIP. After a few tricks and flips, the makers can add specific ports depending on what the buyer wants. For example, if someone were to want a CHIP computer with a reliable HDMI port, they would have to pay 15 dollars instead of 9.

They’re willing to pay 6 dollars more for a computer that they can carry in their pocket and hook up to any television set. The project is a Kickstarter which means CHIP won’t be available for a while.

Remember the sci-fi movies or futuristic TV shows that would show people being able to strap on headsets and immerse themselves in an entirely different world? Well, the fantasy has become reality. Facebooks’s $2 billion dollar projecthas been confirmed to be shipped out to stores in early 2016.

Sam Tabar (bloomberg.com) is excited to learn that a consumer version of the highly-anticipated and very long-delayed headset will be available the first quarter of the upcoming year, according to a tweet posted by company executive Nate Mitchell. “We are incredibly excited to announce that the Rift will be available to consumers in Q1 of 2016!” He wrote along with a photo of the sleek black headset.

Oculus was acquired by Facebook in 2014, and is the first of many companies that are striving to create quality, cost-effective virtual reality devices and define the way that people play video games. The full announcement of the Rift is sparse with details, not even including a price as of yet, but it does provide a brief description of what users ca expect that reads as follows:

“The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality. It’s a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers, and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be.”