Categories
mobile news

All your drones are belong to us…

Hacking genius, Samy Kamkar, responsible for taking down MySpace with an exploit back in 2005, is back again. This time, with a drone hijacking scheme. Kamkar has provided all the necessary specs for creating a SkyJack system which will hijack the wireless controlling a Parrot AR drone. This comes in the wake of Amazon announcing that it will begin delivering packages by drone.

 

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/12/flying-hacker-contraption-hunts-other-drones-turns-them-into-zombies/

 

Categories
mobile news

Simple concept, wonderful implications

Imagine communicating without an internet connection, SMS, or any sort of data transfer. Pretty wild huh? There is an app called Tin Can which creates a communication net using only a phone’s WiFi radio signal. It uses phones with the app as relays to one another, passing off a message to another nearby phone. The range is limited to 100 feet, however should enough users exist in close proximity (densely populated areas like NYC for example) one message could spread to many phones in a short period of time until it finds the intended receiver                                                                                                                                                                                . The usage of this app is not universal. Certainly it would be cumbersome for daily use, however in areas where reception is difficult to come by, such as concerts, protests or festivals, this is a perfect fix.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/11/tin-can-app-relays-messages-to-phones-without-internet-cell-reception/

Categories
mobile news

First Google Glass related ticket written in California, of all places.

California is famous for being one of the first states to enact any sort of device-usage while driving laws. It seems they are making headlines once again with the first Glass related ticket. While the perpetrator, Cecilia Abadie, had been pulled over for speeding, the officer continued to write her a second ticket for viewing a “monitor visible to the Driver (Google Glass)”. This raises a few questions and will stir up a bit more controversy than the officer was expecting. This sort of conflict was inevitable, but it also indicates how slow our legal system is in comparison to the rapid pace of technological advancement. While the laws allows a provision for GPS enabled devices (which the Glass is) there are a plethora of other things the Glass does which may distract a driver.

Google clearly has an extremely vested interest in the case which will arise from this simple speeding ticket.

 

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/police-ticket-google-glass-wearing-driver-for-watching-tv-in-car/

Categories
disruptive technology

New version of Google Glass?

More like a simple minor modification. Due to some concerns about hearing the Glass while in crowded public areas, Google has added a mono earbud to the right side of the device. It will still retain its bone conduction speaker, and the earbud is reportedly removable. To me this seems like a pretty obviously important feature for such a device and its somewhat laughable that this comes a later addition.  I don’t really think that it was a design oversight. The earbud looks a little goofy and I don’t think that Glass would have made the desired impression Google had in mind if the bud was initially included.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/google-shows-off-new-version-of-google-glass-complete-with-earbud/

Categories
mobile news

Drones air dropping textbooks

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/10/need-a-textbook-in-a-hurry-startup-will-send-it-by-drone/

Possibly one of the most relevant uses of drones for colelge students I have ever witnessed. An Australian company, Zookal, in conjunction with the University of Sydney’s “Flirtey” program are developing a business model for delivering textbooks by pilotless drone. There are no cameras on the drone, but it does have a collision avoidance system. This could be hugely beneficial for towns in the backcountry of Australia as there are many places where it is difficult for mail to reach in a timely manner.

Commercial use of drones is still not legal in the US as the FAA is still trying to figure itself out.

Categories
mobile news

Stranger than fiction…

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/10/dick-cheney-altered-implanted-heart-device-to-prevent-terrorist-hack-attacks/

Everyone’s favorite, friendly-firing, ex-vice president made an interesting announcement on a recent episode of 60 Minutes. He has deactivated his pacemaker from remote monitoring, citing a report that was released back in June about there being backdoors in various medical devices of similar nature. This concern really came to the front after an episode of Showtime’s Homeland featured a plot point in which an assassination was carried in a similar manner.

Categories
mobile news

Bending over backwards, now thats just crazy talk.

This is getting just a tad out of hand. The “bendy smartphone” era is upon us! They’re really just curved smart phones, but its still ridiculous. LG has entered its contender the “G Flex” to compete with Smasung’s Galaxy Note 3 spin-off, the Galaxy Round. While these phones certainly look interesting, with a neat bit of curvature to their display, the actual usability is still questionable. Many tech blogs are calling this a “flexible display fad” and I couldn’t agree more. Due to the curved nature of these phones, the internals cannot be constructed traditionally as they have been for years. This is evident in the lack of solid battery life, which may be the one this that really kills this fad. God I hope so…

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/bending-it-the-right-way-how-lg-and-samsung-curved-their-phones-differently/

Categories
disruptive technology

Aaron Swartz: Unfinished Business

Aaron Swartz is by far one of the most revered men to ever grace the technological world, and its a shame he passed away 9 months ago. Swartz was a major leading internet activist and advocated the freedom of information. He is probably best known for his participation in the founding of Reddit and even worked with W3C for a while. He committed suicide 9 months ago after getting into a legal battle with the Supreme Court for downloading a massive amount of academic journals and then uploading them to the web for free.

In this modern era, “whistleblowing” is becoming a common thing. Eric Snowden was able to get away with it for a short time due to advanced training, however the average person does not have federal level tech training and therefore is unable to safely distribute information without detections… Until now.

SecureDrop is a project that was originally coded by Swartz and Wired Magazine as a way to receive encrypted information for sources “not willing to meet in a park”. This service enables a user to be assigned with a specific encryption key and communicate directly with the server of any news organization which opts to participate in the program.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/aaron-swartzs-unfinished-whistleblowing-platform-finally-launches/

Categories
mobile news

The Smartwatch thats not so smart.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/death-by-incompatibility-a-samsung-galaxy-gear-review/

In an effort to be the first in the market of smart watches, Samsung jumped the gun a bit and paid dearly for it. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is a rubbish piece of equipment that essentially adds to the Smartphone experience in no way what so ever. It lacks a majority of the necessary functionality that is to be expected of a smart watch. It can receive spoken commands but does not talk back. It allows you to answer calls not talk into the watch. In short, this product accomplished absolutely none of its goals, but hey… Samsung was the first!

Categories
mobile news

And *POP!* goes the 3D videogaming bubble

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/10/the-2ds-pokemon-x-and-y-and-nintendos-wavering-commitment-to-stereoscopic-3d/

Nintendo, a company which needs know introduction, has been on the frontlines of handheld gaming technology for the better part of two decades. The hugely succesful Nintendo 3DS systems have had a grasp on the mobile gaming market for some time. Initially, the product’s success was widely attributed to the fact that it brought 3D functionality to handheld system, but it turns out that may not be the case.

It seems as if the most recently released member of the family, the flat 2DS, is changing the way Nintendo is thinking. Its time to revaluate what 3D actually means for the gaming experience. The 2DS offers all the same hardware and compatability as the older models, except the 3D features have been removed… and it seems to still be selling rather well. This sends the message to Nintendo that maybe, 3D gaming was just too gimmicky and didn’t add very much to the experience of the user.

Categories
disruptive technology

Beauty is in the eye of the DJ…

http://www.youredm.com/2013/09/30/nicky-romeros-view-tomorrowworld-google-glass/

Nicki Romero has taken an interesting step into the world of mobile technology. At the TomorrowWorld Music Festival this past weekend, Romero played the opening of his set wearing a Google Glass. This event has quite a few implications. For the DJ, it shows his point of view of the crowd and also portrays his skills behind the deck. For the audience, this introduces a new device, being endorsed by a world famous DJ. This is wonderful publicity for Google, as there have been some concerns about the Glass becoming “normal” in every day life. This technology has just been showcased by a world famous DJ to a rather diverse (yet ultimately targeted, upper class) demographic. I’m very interested to see the aftermath of this publicity stunt.

Categories
mobile news

The thumbdrive James Bond would use..

http://gizmodo.com/5854506/victorinox-presentation-master-for-only-the-most-top-secret-of-powerpoint-presentations

Victorinox, maker of Swiss army knives and other fun gadgets, achieved some Mission Impossible level tech with this newest product. The definition of “mobile security” the Presentation Master offers 256 bit AES hardware/software encryption and thumbprint biometrics for access. It requires living tissue in order to be activated, though I’m sure it could be opened with a similar method to how people are cracking the iPhone 5s/c. The drivers for the finger print reader can be rather picky, but after the initial setup you’ll never have difficulty unlocking it.

The best part about this thing is how it handles those that aren’t meant to be handling it! If someone tries to physically tamper with it, the drive will actually self destruct.
If someone tries a brute force software entry, it will display dummy folders and nonsense, giving the hacker a false and short lived sense of victory, just out of spite.

Categories
iOS iPhone mobile news

The “Space Gray” iPhone 5S will make you look like a lesbian according to everybody…

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/09/im-not-leaving-without-a-gold-one-tales-from-the-iphone-5s-line/

Lee Hutchinson, one of my favorite Senior Editors at Ars Technica, writes about his experience acquiring an iPhone 5s. He talks about the atmosphere that he is in as well as the people in line. He recounts the story of the woman behind him, who clearly had some huge sense of entitlement about getting a gold iPhone 5s. He raises some very interesting points..

While it is not of any cost difference, it is still flashy. The gold is offered as a standard option, however on release day, Apple imposes artificial scarcity on a product to add to its supposed ‘value’. From a tech perspective, it is just an Apple iThing like any other. But to her, it was the difference between whether or not people thought she looked like a lesbian, which is a huge concern for her. So much so, that Hutchinson structures the article like the steps to dealing with imminent death. This is clearly a psychological ploy executed with great subtlety, the monicker of a truly great marketing strategy. And just like that, Apple has taken itself from the realm of building technology for the sake of itself, and crossed the line into status symbol territory…

 

Categories
Android iOS

Yo dawg, I heard you like cameras…

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/sonys-wi-fi-camera-lenses-for-your-smartphone-are-finally-official/

Here is an interesting little gadget. Weird, but interesting. Basically, it is the body of a camera, compacted into just the lens, which is then attached and tethered to your smart phone. Your phone can have a 435 bajillion megapixel camera, but the lens is still tiny. Sony has just released a line of cameras to pair with your mobile device, either iOS or Android. They would allow for more professionally captured images, using your device as processing and storage.

What I find somewhat hilarious about this is what is the target audience? Serious Hobbyist Photographers? At somewhere between 250$ and 500$ a pop for this lense, would it not make more sense to just buy a real camera?

Categories
Android disruptive technology iOS mobile news

Fist bump

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/google-buys-bump-the-smartphone-file-sharing-company/

 

Bump, the file sharing app, has been around for some time and now its just been acquired by Google. Its not totally clear what Google plans to do with this acquisition, however it makes for a more interesting interface between technologies in my opinion. Airdrop has been released with iOS7 and its all well and good, but Google is going to turn the Bump transfer system into an iconic feature (much like *sliding* on an iPhone) with future devices its developing (Glass, among other things). Just pull up the app, and press the spacebar on your laptop with your phone. DONE.

 

Categories
mobile news

The phone a ninja would use… or is it?

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/09/worlds-most-secure-smartphone-looks-like-snake-oil-experts-say/

A new mobile manufacturer, QSAlpha, is breaking out onto the world stage with one specific goal in mind, along with some lofty rhetoric. CEO and found Steve Chao, is claiming that his company is setting out to create “The World’s Most Secure Smartphone” and while that idea sounds all well and good, its akin to the Holy Grail. The marketing team is pro, the kickstarter page is up, but the illusive technical documentation is leaving the security expert community a little more than skeptical.

Information made public about the ‘Quasar IV’ states that “Instead of having a third-party hosting or giving out the public key, we have managed to create what we call a seed public key matrix that produces all possible keys up to 10^77 of keys for all the users out there.” This key will be implemented by an onboard chip in the phone. Supposedly, the only way to hack this level of sophisticated encryption is by using a quantum computer.

While this sounds like a good idea, I’m certainly not putting down a Kickstarter pledge so soon.

Categories
mobile news

Why Nokia? Why NOW?

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/09/the-nokia-purchase-microsoft-starts-turning-in-to-microhard/

There are a couple interesting things to note about the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia that no one really seems to be talking about. This is not the first time that Microsoft has attempted to enter the mobile market. Does anyone else remember how semi-succesful the T-Mobile Sidekick was? Well, back in the day MS aquired the phone’s developer, Danger, and basically broke it by trying to force it to fit within Microsoft’s corporate culture.

Nokia already has a well established structure that shouldn’t be tampered with. The structure is in place and I believe that Microsoft won’t repeat the mistake. The purchase is an obvious move for Microsoft to become more like Apple (big surprise). Since it’s creation Microsoft has always been focused on software. Seeing how mobile devices are the upcoming battlefield, this merger makes a lot of sense, and Microsoft can’t afford to make the same mistake.

Microsoft bought Nokia’s hardware production, but completely disregarded their branding. After the merger, Microsoft will be produceing Lumia phones, however they will NOT have the Nokia name on them. Microsoft is trying to become an Apple clone.

 

Categories
mobile news

Split personalities

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/08/vmwares-dual-persona-tech-hits-big-name-android-models-but-not-iphone/
This is actually pretty freak’n genius and would add a whole mess of new possibilities to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) method of business. You would be able to have seemless dual boots on a mobile device, one for work, one for personal use. You aren’t bothered by work apps during leisure time, and your boss doesn’t get to see what sort of pr0n you’ve been looking up off the clock. Its a win-win situation.

Categories
mobile news

Taking Biometrics to another level

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/09/futuristic-bracelet-uses-heartbeats-as-a-password-but-is-it-secure/
This is a pretty nifty idea that would totally flip mobile security on its head. While there are a few key issues that need to be worked out (such as loss of bracelet and/or paired mobile device, various possible hacks, etc.), it seems like a really neat way to add biometrics to daily life. That is, of course, under the assumption that ECGs are as unqiue as the creator, Bionym, says they are.