This Week in Tech – Tues 24th Feb -Sunday 3rd March – 2013
Welcome to tech news today where you can read up on everything happening in technology today. Whether breaking news or the latest gadgets and games, you can find all of your tech news here. You can check back tomorrow for an update on tomorrows news, and check back on Sunday for a full update on everything that happened in tech for the whole week. Have a hot tip or see a tech story that we missed? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your story idea (we will give you credit).
Samsung Announces S4 Release Date
Sunday isn’t our usual day to post tech news, but Samsung has just announced that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be launched on March 14th. This is following the handout of invitation cards at the World Mobile Congress after a disappointing lack of tech from Samsung. Likely the Korean company is looking for more news than coverage at the WMC , which explains the later release date. Samsung’s new S4 is rumored to have a 5 inch Full HD screen, Exynos 5 Octa 8-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13Mp camera, 2Mp front facing camera, wireless charging capabilities, and run on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. We will get to see the full specs on the 14th, and will put up a special coverage of the event for anyone interested in the new Samsung phone.
Tech News Today – Saturday March 2nd 2013
Evernote is one of the most popular (and recommended) free apps for sharing data and notes across devices, but they’ve just reported a hack. Evernote released an advisory warning people to change their passwords, but considering that many Evernote Users signed up via Facebook, it might be a good idea to change social passwords as well. According to the company 50 million passwords were hacked and stolen, and reset by Evernote before any damage could be done.
If you like cartoon cats this might be a good thing, but developer Feross Aboukhadijeh is using it to demonstrate a loophole found in new HTML5 browsers. By linking multiple websites, the loophole can download unlimited data to your computer, all without asking. While the cartoon cats are relatively harmless and stop when you say stop, an exploit would be a lot more dangerous. So far Feross says that Firefox stops downloads at 5mb, while Google Chrome, Safari, and other popular browsers allow literally gigabytes of downloads. Are you vulnerable? Check here or watch how it works to see it in action.
Pirated films have long been a problem to the film industry, but now pirated film content in apps is vying as the worst growing problem. Apps focusing on everything from quizzes to actually showing media have been making use of film clips, images, and even titles without licensing, and according to Reggie Pierce, head of IP Lasso, this ‘new band of villains’, are posing a serious threat to the entertainment industry in its move to mobile. Apps taken down include a The Hobbit Wallpaper app, and apps that take concepts from everything from Ted to the Green Lantern.
DARPA has been involved in a lot of up and coming tech lately but one of the most fascinating is the Big Dog robot, a four legged robot that walks, follows people, and now throws cinder blocks. The tech was developed by Boston Dynamic and originally designed to carry supplies and gear in the field for soldiers. Now, Big Dog creators are talking about other applications including search and rescue, and more. Big Dog has been in development since 2005 and you can see the video of it throwing the cinder block here.
Last year Samsung lost 1 billion in revenue to a lost copyright suit against Apple, but now U.S. Judge Lucy Koh has cut the award by 40%. The same judge set a second court hearing to reassess the damages and then potentially raise or lower Samsung’s payout, meaning that Samsung and Apple will once again face each other in court. The money was originally intended to pay for damages due to 14 patents that Samsung allegedly infringed but according to the judge, the jury may have incorrectly calculated part of the damages. Currently Samsung now owes Apple 600 million in lieu of the 1 billion.
For those who have to work online, the day of celebrating not using power is pointless and rather difficult, but for everyone else, maybe it’s time to turn off all those electrical gadgets, light up a few candles, and enjoy the day minus electric. The national day of unplugging is meant to celebrate saving power, and you can participate by turning off the lights, your phone, and your computer.
Tech News Today – Friday 1st, March – 2013
We have smart phones, smart TVs, and even smart watches, but now smart canes could be the next big thing. The walking sticks were developed by Fujitsu in Japan and use monitors built into the grip to check heart rate and then stream it online. The cane also includes handy features for voice control, and automatically streams heart rate data online where concerned nurses or family members can check up, if they have the password. The Next Generation Cane can also automatically dial an emergency number in case of irregular heartbeat. Fujitsu says that while the cane was originally intended for the elderly, it would also be useful for temporarily disabled patients as well.
Nearly a year after his controversial arrest and the shutdown of his site Megaupload, Kim Dotcom has another storage site, and is still in court. The judge denied prosecutors showing evidence as the ruling being held now is not to determine if Dotcom is guilty, but instead of the U.S. has a valid case against him. Kim Dotcom is currently out on bail and launched his site Mega earlier this year.
Facebook has been moving more into advertising in the past few years, but now they’ve purchased Microsoft advertising suite Atlas to help boost profits. Atlas is an ad analysis program and Facebook is probably hoping to use it to offer extra services to both advertisers and marketers. The terms of the deal have not yet been released, but chances are Facebook paid a great deal of Atlas.
If you use Adobe Photo Sharing, your photos are likely to be moved to the services other storage platform, Adobe Revel. Revel is a cloud photo storage and editing system, similar to what Google and Microsoft have been doing with Docs and Skydrive, only aimed towards photographers and amateur photo lovers. The free version gives you 50 photos per month while the premium version costs $5.99 per month and offers unlimited importing and photo storage.
Tech News Today – Thursday 28th, February – 2013
3D printing is hitting the news pretty much everywhere you look, but now scientists have worked on something else, 4D printing. MIT scientists unveiled the new technology at the TED conference (Technology, Entertainment & Design) along with a video. 4D printing uses lengths of pre-made plastic material that are combined with water that then self-assemble. The water provides the energy and the mass for the object to expand once the printer is finished with it. 4D printing is a technology that could be incredibly useful if applied in hard to reach areas, or even for repairs on satellites in space. Watch the video linked above to see how 4D printing works.
Transparent Computer Awes With New Touch Functions
The Spacetop 3D computer is not only transparent, but users can actually reach inside to touch digital content. The concept computer is remarkable, beautiful, and actually works. Designer Jinha Lee worked on the project with Microsoft as part of what he sees as fulfilling the human need to touch and interact with objects in their space. Spacetop 3D is essentially a 3D version of touch that allows you to pick up the computer and flip through it like a book, taking touch controls and motion to a new level. You can check the video hosted by MIT for more information.
Music piracy has long been depriving rockstars of gold plated hummers, but new studies reveal that globally, piracy is at a low. Illegal downloads of music fell by 17% from last year, creating an upswing of 0.3% in profit, creating the first year of growth for the record industry in more than a decade. An estimated 21 million people still illegally download music each year, and record companies are profiting. The 21 million P2P sharers is compared to an estimated 33 million in 2005, which is a huge downswing for illegal downloads. Movie and television piracy rates are not slowing quite as much, but they too are on a slightly downward swing.
Samsung introduced a ‘Wallet’ function similar Apple’s Passbook which is making headline tech news because almost everyone expected Apple to be the first to launch a competitor. The Samsung Wallet requires developers to build apps for the wallet, and the initial developer release has already been launched so Samsung phone users can expect to see it on their mobiles before long. Unlike the Passbook, Samsung wallet will allow the scanning of bar codes, but will not include NFC. Is this the start of another Apple vs. Samsung litigation? History says 90% likely yes.
ARM chips have been famous for their use in computers and smartphones for decades, and from the looks of things, ARM wants to keep their title. New technology includes battery saving chips with more power, better speed, and other desirable features. The Big Little chip down processes power usage which according to ARM, can save as much as 70% of power. The iPhone 5 currently uses an ARM A15 and can offer about 8 hours of talk time. Part of the power consumption is due to the chip being used for the extra technology, meaning that with a Big Little, the battery could last much longer.
Anyone looking forward to Starcraft Heart of the Swarm can jump on board and watch their exciting trailer now. The trailer was launched yesterday and is now live on the Youtube channel for the site. Heart of the Swarm will be released on March 12th for PC and Mac, you can pre-order the extension for $39.99 on Amazon, or you can snag the collectors addition for $79.99
Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness
Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness is being released today. The game is available only for PC and will be available on DVD and via Steam. Buyers can also purchase the game on Amazon for $29.99 as a direct PC download. Gameplay features multi- and single player modes as well as a number of heroes and quests and is a bit different from the other Might & Magic Heroes games.
Tech News Today – Wednesday 27th, February – 2013
Anti-Piracy Crackdown Begins
A new anti-piracy policy known as 6-strikes has been released in the United States. As part of the program, anyone suspected of internet piracy will be warned a total of 6 times, after which their internet will be limited to basic sites. Initial action against anyone accused of piracy will simply include alerts and directions towards legal places to get content, and after the 6th alert, some companies will actually reduce internet speed in order to prohibit downloads.
Apple was sued in 2011 for having in-app permissions that allowed children to purchase game currency without the use of a password. One father claimed that his nine year old purchased more than $200 worth of in-game currency without permission. While the tech giant has now made the issue obsolete, they are offering a settlement to parents involved in the issue. 4 plaintiffs will be awarded $1,500 each, while everyone else can either submit details of $30 or more purchases for a full reward, or receive $5 in iTunes store credit.
The British Academy of Film & Television Award is the highest achievable award for the entertainment industry and now Gabe Newel of Valve will be given the prestigious award for his outstanding contribution to video gaming. Newel will receive his award in London on the fifth of March in honor of his three decades of game development.
Amazon Cloud is a relatively new cloud service, and now they are beefing up security. Internet Security program Qualys is now working directly with Amazon to protect Amazon Cloud users from risks and threats, which is good considering that 2 new vulnerabilities are discovered for PC users every second. The connecter protects users from virtual changes and scans, and makes Amazon the first cloud service to include extended security as part of their services.
John Rogers recently won a $500,000 prize for his work in bendable electronics, but now he could be introducing flexible batteries. Flexible electronics including batteries and even smartphones would allow for more durable, versatile electronics. While the technology is appealing on its own, investors are also taking notice and apparently investing heavily in the new technology.
Tech News Today – Tuesday 24th, February – 2013
It is day two of Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress and some of the tech to be revealed so far includes a talk with Sony boss Kazuo Hirai talked about the future of film, and of Sony. Samsung and Huawei have each announced new handsets and tablets, Nokia has revealed a few cheaper additions to their smartphone range, and a Skype Enabled Robot was unveiled as well. Interested users can go to the Mobile World Congress website to watch the live feed, or check back on the first of March for our full coverage of the entire event.
The theory that screams cannot be heard in space was made popular by the movie trilogy Alien, but now Indian researchers from the University of Surrey have decided to test it out. Their plan includes an app built for the purpose which will test a couple of especially high pitched screams. But while the test itself might seem a bit ridiculous, the test of the technology used to achieve the smartphone in orbit is nothing short of phenomenal. The smartphone, code named Strand 1, will be in orbit for 6 months, and is the first smartphone to ever actually be in orbit. The phone was launched using pulsed plasma thrusters which miraculously did not damage the device. Strand 1 will take photos which will be posted to the 360 App smartphone page for users to view.
Facebook is popular enough to do whatever it wants, including block apps, but one app developer is fighting back. The app which is known as Vintage Camera allows users to create vintage style photos using their mobile. Vintage Camera currently has more than 8 million users and supposedly only a one in one thousand rate of bad photos uploaded to Facebook as compared to good ones. App maker studio Presslight claims that the ban was a result of ‘misuse’ by app users, but Facebook refuses to restore the app. While the app could have been banned due to the negative reviews, others speculate that Facebook isn’t prepared to support apps that compete with Instagram which Facebook recently paid 1 billion in cash for.
Mozilla announced their Firefox mobile OS some time ago, but now they have previewed the first commercial build for the operating system, as well as the 18 partners they will be working with. mérica Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom include a few of the partners, but we will likely be seeing more within a few months. Firefox OS smartphones utilize open web, meaning that anyone can develop apps using an open web HTML5 application.
Anyone who watched Spider Man 2 will likely remember how he stopped a train using his web, but for skeptics, it’s actually possible to stop a train with nothing more than extremely thick spider web. James Forster, Mark Bryan and Alex Stone, physics students at the University of Leicester, used a model scaled towards actual spider web and proved that the impossible feat is actually possible. You can download a PDF of the journal their study was published in by clicking on the title.
Any fans of Wild Tangent might be happy to learn that the games are now going to be available on any Sony Xperia smartphone or tablet. Wild Tangent announced late yesterday that Sony Xperia gamers can now download, purchase, and rent games directly from the Wild Tangent app, which is already available for most Android devices including the Amazon Kindle. The announcement is perhaps in line with Sony’s recent update on the Sony Xperia Z which will cost $499 and will be available later this year.