Apple Gatekeeper Flaws Lead to Security Advances in 2016

As Apple Gatekeeper flaws lead to security advances in 2016, we can expect all its services to be improved.

The weaknesses of Apple Gatekeeper still remain accessible for exploitation, in spite of the fact that the company did patch a couple of vectors previously disclosed. On a brighter note, the Apple Gatekeeper flaws lead to security advances in 2016.

Apple Gatekeeper is used to restrict applications that are not obtained and signed by the App Store, or by legitimate developers. As a result, if the app does not belong in the aforementioned category, Apple will impede it to launch on Macs with Gatekeeper. Synack research director Patrick Wardle stated that it is quite easy to profit from the flaws of Gatekeeper, as a legitimate application can be changed by another party and then simply swapped with the original one when a user is downloading what he or she thinks is the correct package. In the light of this security concern, Apple has decided to improve its security services this year.

First of all, thanks to System Integrity Protection Apple is able to restrict the aspects that can be altered on a Mac, and thus increase the level of security of OS X. Furthermore, the company has released FileVault, a feature used for full disk encryption, as well as protecting removable data. It can be managed with simple scripts or an MDM solution. MDM or Mobile Device Management lets organizations control iOS and Mac devices, more precisely the Apple security technologies mentioned earlier. However, it can also prove useful in installing printers, deploying fonts or controlling other settings. The feature also has extensions named remote wipe and remote lock.

Another recent feature is Sandboxing, which monitors the access an app can request for certain resources, such as memory, file system parts, network resources and so on. Attackers will face new challenges in identifying and using vulnerabilities thanks to the Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR). Furthermore, every Mac has its own anti-virus named Xprotect that searches for known apps and services that start on OS X. However, take note that this is not a full anti-virus.

As the most vulnerable part of an operating system remains the browser , Safari comes equipped with Antiphishing. People mainly infiltrate environments by phishing emails in order to obtain important information. Antiphishing warns you each time you visit a phishing website. The App Store is also closely monitoring the integrity of the apps that are available there. If you keep forgetting your passwords and would like to have a safe place for them, Apple provides you with iCloud Keychain, an encrypted keystore.

In the end, as Apple Gatekeeper flaws lead to security advances in 2016 we have to look on the bright side. Thanks to this mistake, Apple’s security systems will be improved, and our devices will rest safe and sound.

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Here’s How to Play the New Doom Level, Created by John Romero

Here's How to Play the New Doom Level, Created by John Romero

Here’s how to play the new Doom level, created by John Romero co-developer of the first Doom title. Roughly 21 years after the original Doom greeted us with its awesome destruction, Romero decided to jump on its revival bandwagon after fans across the world tried to port it to unlikely platforms – think of the Apple Watch and Apple TV.

The level boasts a new area where the player can shoot monsters and villains.

It took two weeks of Romero’s spare time to build the level, according to him. The game developer used the 1990’s Id Software modding tool, Doom WAD, in building the new level, as to be in touch with the same restriction and capabilities as back then.

Romero calls the level E1M8B – which is the boss level replacement for the level E1M8 almost 22 years later, says the developer.

It’s the 8th and last map of Knee-Deep in the Dead – the first episode of Doom.

In order to play it, you need the original Doom game, and ZDoom or similar software and tools. The new map can be played in deathmatch, co-op and solo. You can buy the game from Steam.

  1. Download the free Zdoom port.
  2. Copy the Doom.wad file to the Zdoom directory. Remember to unzip the installation package first.
  3. Drag and drop the new level – e1m8b.wad on top of the .exe, thus launching the game with the new level.

Romero is not part of the dev team that’s working on continuing the popular franchise. Bethesda took control over the series, and it plans on releasing a new modern Doom game sometime in 2016. There is no info on when that’s going to happen, but due to Amazon and the company’s confused bunch of employees, a potential leak was displayed a while back – June 30th, 2016.

Given the recent development – fans trying to port it to smartwatches, Bethesda revitalizing the franchise and Romero building another level, it’s quite impossible to see that Doom will die out anytime soon.

Did you know that there’s a dedicated gaming community called DoomWorld that has been modding and playing the game for about 20 years now?

Talk about loyalty.

The 2004 Doom 3 achieved Gold status, and it witnessed a huge popularity with fans and critics considering it a great sequel to the series. In 2012 Bethesda released a much improved Doom 3 version called Doom 3 BFG Edition – stylized as D00m 3 BFG Edition.

What we’ve seen so far, the Doom 2016 builds on top of the franchise, steering away from the 2004 title, but just slightly.

Download the new Doom level e1m8b.zip right here.

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Microsoft HoloLens to be Wireless, and Last Up to 5.5 Hours

Microsoft HoloLens to be Wireless, and Last Up to 5.5 Hours

Microsoft HoloLens to be wireless, and last up to 5.5 hours on a single charge. The company will start shipping the Developer Edition of the HoloLens within the next couple of months. The price? Hope you’re sitting down for this – $3,000.

Microsoft Bruce Harris spoke about Microsoft’s augmented reality headset during an event in Tel Aviv. He notes that any universal Windows 10 app will work on the device, adding that if developers want to take advantage of all of the headset’s features, they will have to build 3D apps.

Harris says that the headset will also be connected to the internet and other units. This means that if you have friends that own a HoloLens you can all interact with each-other in the same virtual world.

The AR headset is expected to go under the 2.5 hour mark for more demanding tasks so game sessions, or whatnot, will be somewhat short for early adopters. The device’s battery life is quite disappointing, but considering how powerful the machine is, it isn’t shocking news. The machine projects hologram-like images that looks like they were projected against real-life objects in the consumer’s room.

According to Harris, battery life will be improved with time, and the projections from the device will look exactly like watching videos on a 15-inch screen from 2 feet away.

Unlike the device’s rivals, the HoloLens will be completely wireless, and the device uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to function. Also, there will be no wired-version of the device, says Harris.

We thought that $600 for a virtual reality machine – Oculus Rift; was incredibly steep, and the rumored $800 for PlayStation’s VR was just downright insulting, but $3,000 for the HoloLens dev kit has put things in perspective.

Yet, still, we don’t want to jump on the band-wagon and bash Microsoft’s developer kit just yet. We have to see it in action first. The hefty price tag will most likely drop a few pounds, and bring it to more affordable levels, but we are quite shocked given this initial price confirmation.

The first Oculus Rift dev kit was priced at $300 – with re-sellers putting it on Amazon and Ebay at well over $1,000.

At the moment of writing this, Microsoft has not specified a release date for the consumer-ready model of the HoloLens.

Will the HoloLens be even more costly when it will hit its consumer street date? Or will we see a drop in price? Regardless, we hope that Microsoft’s HoloLens will have enough content to make use forget that humongous price.

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Google Cardboard Receives Serious Upgrades

In the recent light of the success of virtual reality, Google Cardboard receives serious upgrades from its makers.

Google Cardboard will soon come quite close to reality.

As virtual reality piques the interest of more and more people, Google Cardboard receives serious upgrades from the multinational technology company. The latest pieces of information on the matter are that the Cardboard feature will soon have surround sound, that Google has partnered with GoPro and that it has created a new arm for virtual reality.

Google is extending its reach over numerous other fields, as it has recently announced its involvement in self-driving cars. One such field is virtual reality, which is gaining more popularity with each passing day. You do not need to go to a museum or have a complex device in order to enjoy this experience, since it is also available on your smartphone. All you have to do is buy a Google Cardboard, encase your phone into it and look through the two small lenses. The low price of the device has made it extremely popular, and thus Google has decided to make some improvements.

In this regard, the company has created a special arm that focuses exclusively on virtual reality. The division is helmed by Clay Bavor, the man who came up with the idea of Google Cardboard and also worked on Google Docs and Gmail. The division will include people from other famous companies, such as GoPro, which is masterfully developing small, efficient cameras. We can only assume that the virtual reality content will be filmed using their cameras and later incorporated into Google Cardboard. Lastly, the feature will come as close as it can to reality thanks to the new system that includes surround sound. No, you will not need speakers in every corner of your room, the sounds will still come solely from your smartphone.

The competition in the virtual reality field is tough as it includes huge companies such as Microsoft and Facebook, and highly acclaimed displays like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. As a result, Google has another project set to aid filmmakers in creating 360-degree videos, involving the GoPro Odyssey, a 16-camera array.

Google Cardboard can be downloaded from the Apple Store for iOS devices, or from Google Play for Android phones. You can buy the cardboard online, either from the company’s website or other online stores. However, if you enjoy a challenge you can build the device yourself after reading the instructions found on the Google website. You will need some cardboard, velcro, a rubber band, magnets and lenses, but the website lists everything that you need and the places where you can find them.

Google Cardboard receives serious upgrades from its makers also because it has proven useful for other purposes than entertainment. It seems it can truly help children suffering from autism, and thus it is only rational to improve it in order to help as many people as possible.

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Dell Latitude E7440 Review – The Office Ultrabook

Dell Latitude E7440 ReviewDell is well known for its ability to produce high quality laptops and ultrabooks that can compete head to head with most portable computers that were designed for business purposes and less so when it comes to entertainment. The way they achieve that is through the very way ultrabooks are constructed – with the basic principle that they employ high-end specifications at the price of battery life.

The Dell Latitude E7440 is no exception and is actually forced to face these issues head-on on a number of fronts. It finds itself in the midst of a market that – although not lacking popularity and demand – is not void of many other competitors. Many titles such as Sony Vaio, Lenovo and HP bring their own take of capable hardware into the fray and come at a point where it’s hard to differentiate between the various models.

It is also a general rule that most ultrabooks don’t go easy on the price tag either so picking one out for your office-related tasks and needs may be a relatively tricky thing to do. So let’s take a closer look at the Dell Latitude E7440 and see if it has what it takes to come out superior to all the other highly successful models that are present on the market.

Pros:

  • Great hardware specifications
  • High build quality
  • Sturdy
  • Replaceable battery
  • HD display

Cons:

  • Expensive, especially when diving into the optional features
  • Rather poor battery life with no alternatives,
  • Not many security options unless you’re willing to pay extra

Dell Latitude E7440 Design

When it comes to the Dell Latitude E7440’s design, opinions may very well be split into two definite categories. On one hand we can obviously see the build quality and how the way the device is made simply inspires sturdiness. Coming with a durable aluminum exterior, featuring a powder-coated base only hides the real titan that is underneath. The chassis of the Dell Latitude E7440 is composed of a tri-metal compound that has undergone and passed intensive MIL-STD-810G testing.

Dell Latitude E7440 Design

Then, on the opposite end of the rope, you will find opinions of the individuals who prefer devices more like the HP Elitebook Folio 1020 G1. Ultra slim, smooth and sleep looking, the kind that most likely takes its design inspiration from Apple devices. Compare the Dell Latitude E7440 to one of those and the ultrabook suddenly feels bulky, heavy and thick. Even if the numbers do not necessarily pertain to these impressions.

The overall dimensions of the Dell Latitude E7440 are 13.2 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches in width, height and thickness, weighing a total of 1630 grams with the battery included. Compare it to HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1’s dimensions: 12.2 x 8.27 x 0.62 inches and 1200 grams in weight. The difference is not immense and yet, the overall feel of the Dell is a lot different than the one of the HP.

The outer shell featuring metal and carbon-composite materials used in its construction doesn’t exactly spell out sleekness and a suave coat of delicacy hiding the great power that the ultrabook has inside. It goes for a matte black finish instead (at least on the default model). The lid is made of a soft-touch carbon fiber material with a rugged surface. The hinges that connect the lid to the body of the Dell Latitude E7440 ultrabook are made of reinforced steel and allow the lid to open up to a satisfactory angle.

In terms of port placement and more specifically the types of ports that the Dell Latitude E7440 offers its user, it’s obvious that the ultrabook takes upon its role of a business laptop seriously. You can find an USB 3.0 port on the right hand side, along with the wireless switch and a 3.5 mm headphone jack slapped in between the two. On the opposite side you can find the SD and smart card ports. On first look you’d think that’s about it, but the back edge of the Dell Latitude E7440 hosts many surprises. You’ll find another 2 3.0 USB ports, a mini-DisplayPort (surprisingly to say the least), an HDMI output and a full-fledged Ethernet port to allow direct connectivity to the internet.

Dell Latitude E7440 Left Side Design

Dell Latitude E7440 Right Side Design

While the mere presence of an Ethernet port is something extremely well received on laptops in general and – to some degree – excuses some of that extra thickness that the Dell Latitude E7440 packs, the decision to place some of these ports on the back of the E7440 is not optimal. The HDMI and mini-DisplayPort were wise to be placed there, but you may find that USBs are not that pleasant to reach and operate when on the back of the ultrabook.

Dell Latitude E7440 Back Design and Ports

For some reason, the designers decided to place the LEDs that signify whether the laptop is on and/or connected to power on the back too, which is a bit of a baffling fact for me.

Dell Latitude E7440 Display

Dell Latitude E7440 Screen

Probably part of the reason the Dell Latitude E7440 jumps so high up on the price scale on some of the configurations as there is an optional touchscreen capability included in the list. On the other hand, the default model only hosts a matte finish display that helps reduce glare and makes for a fairly bright screen scoring 351 nit brightness peak.

The 14” display is undeniably a strange size to go for, being marginally larger than the classic 13.3” but not quite as large as the 15” version that laptop models usually aim for. However, the display can go up to a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, giving anything you view on it an amazing amount of sharpness and detail.

Some figures suggest that the Dell Latitude E7440 display isn’t quite the perfect tool for color accuracy – scoring an average DeltaE of 7.6. In other words, any kind of work regarding graphic design that relies heavily on color hues would not render you amazingly great results if you were to use the E7440 for it.

The display is a LED-backlight LCD which means that although you get a great, crisp quality along with it, it is one of those devices that are particularly power hungry and tax your battery a lot more. You may find yourself tinkering with the display’s brightness settings to manually reduce power consumption when on the road for example.

If you opt for the touchscreen capable display, the price does spike up a fair amount, but you’ll find the screen to be responsive and resilient. Covered from edge to edge with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass NBT, the display doesn’t seem to collect smudges and fingerprints.

Dell Latitude E7440 Specs & Configurations

Dell Latitude E7440 Hardware

There is a fair amount of tweaking you can do before you purchase one of the Dell Latitude E7440 ultrabooks in the sense that they offer a variable setup depending on how much power you are truly looking for in a business laptop.

The basic model will offer you a 4th generation Core i5 processor (either the 4310U, 4300U or the 4210U versions), 4 GB of DDR3L @1600 MHz RAM memory, Intel Integrated HD Graphics 4400 and a regular 500 GB SATA hard drive. If we are to take only that amount of specifications into account, then you’ll find that the Dell Latitude E7440 ultrabook has more than it would ever need for a business laptop. Depending what your line of work really implies, but the hardware that has been put into the 0.8 inches of thickness should more than suffice your office work smoothly and without interruption. While the core processing unit is a relatively old piece (released somewhere in 2013), it’s still a fairly fast processor that makes use of an internal, integrated GPU to handle the graphic rendering of programs and applications.

That being said, this is not the kind of laptop you’ll be using to handle graphic design or music production as it will turn out to be quite overwhelmed by that degree of hardware requirements. However, all office work-related types of activity will have little to no problem being handled by it. Multitasking capability is empowered thanks to the generous amount of RAM and the highly capable processor, however. While I have mentioned this before, the fact that Dell Latitude E7440 offers you Ethernet connectivity is something that you rarely find on laptops and notebooks alike these days and will give you the best an internet connection can ever offer.

The Dell website lists the best configuration that the Dell Latitude E7440 ultrabook can go up to as being a setup that makes use of aan Intel Core i7 4600U model, up to 16 GB of DDR3L @1600 MHz of RAM and a 512 GB Solid State hard drive. While the addition of an ultra fast SSD hard drive into the fray is something that any user will be thankful for, there doesn’t seem to be any possible upgrade to the graphics processing unit. Meaning that neither does the integrated GPU receive an uplift on the high-end version of the Dell Latitude E7440, but there is no option to add a dedicated card either.

Dell Latitude E7440 Features

Dell Latitude E7440 Keyboard

Dell Latitude E7440 Keys

The keyboard that the E7440 ultrabook comes with is a fairly capable addition to the laptop, albeit it lacks a full format – the type that incorporates a num pad on it too. You do, however, still get all the necessary utilities on it, along with basic controls made available through the function button. There is also a tiny, blue pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard that will allow you control things from that side just as well.

The keys are separated from one another, improving your accuracy by a decent amount. The buttons overall feel punchy and responsive without being noisy. There is a small issue with the central part of the keyboard as it tends to feel bouncy and a little too flexible. However, that has not felt like a huge hindrance from a proper typing experience so far.

The most notable part of the keyboard is the existence of backlighting possibilities. Once again, the type of feature you don’t realize the true benefit of until you’ve tried it, but backlit keyboards can be a lifesaver in multiple situations. And because the backlighting has 4 separate levels, you can adjust it as needed to reduce power usage for example.

Dell Latitude E7440 Touchpad & TrackPoint

Dell Latitude E7440 Above View

One of the biggest issues that anyone who has ever used a laptop will most likely report will be the accidental tap they may do onto a touchpad without realizing while editing a document, resulting in multiple moments of frustration. While the Dell Latitude E7440 didn’t seem to display such an issue with the trackpad, there is a chance you may fall in a similar trap with the track point instead.

Dell Latitude E7440 Trackpoint

Regardless, the trackpad itself feels smooth and highly responsive and comes with the better alternative of two separate buttons placed at its bottom that will mimic their correspondents on a mouse. It’s been built to support Windows 8’s gestures so you will be able to make use of some degree of multitouch control.

Dell Latitude E7440 Security features

Because no ultrabook can truly be taken seriously as a business laptop unless it offers some degree of security, the Dell Latitude E7440 has brought its own input in this perspective with both default and optional security options. The ultrabook is equipped with the latest Intel vPro technology which allows both secure activity as well as remote access and control features.

Encryption, contact-less smart card readers, secure credential storage thanks to a FIPS 140-2-certificed TPM, Dell ControlVault meant to apply another layer of hardware security – all these are security features that you can make use of on the Dell Latitude 7440.

Unfortunately, however, most of them do not come by default and will only be able to be obtained as an optional purchase or only available on the higher end models of the Dell Latitude E7440. A very good example is the feature that allows remote data deletion through an Intel vPro extension.

Dell Latitude E7440 Docking Station

Dell Latitude E7440 Docking Station

And while we are on the topic of optional purchases, Dell offers a docking port that is priced at somewhere around $270 which will allow you laptop to connect wirelessly to peripherals such as mice and keyboard as well as monitors. While this is one way to not have to rely on external cables, it is not as highly performant as a straight out, cabled connection.

Dell Latitude E7440 Battery Life

The battery life of a portable computer, and an ultrabook meant for business purposes at that, is one of the most important aspects that you should worry yourself with. Sadly, the 4-cell 45 Whr Lithium Ion battery did not seem to fare amazingly well. With brightness set on medium and basic office work usage, an entire charge lasted somewhere around 7 hours at best.

And it’s quite a shame that you can’t exchange your battery for a stronger power pack either as the 45 Whr seems to be the most capable available pack on the Dell website. Charging, however, seems to be fast enough as it will most likely take between an hour and an hour and a half to get a full charge back on this Dell Latitude Laptop.

Dell Latitude E7440 Verdict

All in all, the Dell Latitude E7440 seems to be a very sturdy choice for anyone willing to purchase a business ultrabook. The website and qualified retailers seem to offer a fair amount of customization along with it, even though two major aspects of it are bluntly left out. More specifically, the GPU and the battery power pack.

The downside of the laptop in question is, however, its pricing. While a lower end model of it won’t take you much higher than $850, the high-end spec versions can go to as much as $2,000. Surely, most of that would be caused by things such as touchscreens and other optional features, but it’s still something to take into account, especially given the fact that you’re not exactly getting the absolute best hardware specs out here with the Dell E7440. However, in the end it comes up as being superior to many other Dell business laptops, thanks to the Latitude E7440 specs but design and resilience too.

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Impressive Machine Learning Dataset Released by Yahoo

The impressive machine learning dataset released by Yahoo will lead researchers to new discoveries in the field.

As the competition between technology corporations becomes fiercer with each passing day, companies are trying to get the support of the research community. The impressive machine learning dataset released by Yahoo can surely prove this point. The announcement was made this morning through a blog post of the company.

So what does the 13.5 TB dataset contain? The information is focused on the interaction between Yahoo users over the course of four months, from February 2015 to May 2015. It seems 20 million users have accessed the Yahoo websites, including its homepage, Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Real Estate, Yahoo Sports and more. Researchers will be able to conduct studies using the new data that refers to device information, key phrases and the age, gender and summary of users. Thus they will be able to find certain patterns in the field of machine learning.

The director of personalization science of Yahoo Labs, Suju Rajan, stated that such data is crucial in research projects of machine learning. Unfortunately, this type of information was only provided to data scientists and machine learning researchers who work at big companies. This will change with the impressive machine learning dataset released by Yahoo, which will be available to academic researchers as well. Furthermore, freelancers will also have access to the it. This will truly continue with important discoveries, as scientists can finally test the theories they have known for so long.

For the moment, we know that some of those who will use this data are from the San Diego based University of California, the Data Science Center of UMass Amherst and the Carnegie Mellon University. Their knowledge areas such as information retrieval, machine learning and artificial intelligence will surely be improved. On Yahoo’s part, the company wants to better understand processes like computational advertising and search ranking, apart from the ones listed above.

Yahoo is not the first corporation to attempt to help the research field. Google, Amazon Machine Learning, IBM Watson and Azure Machine Learning are all working hard to improve their services as well as increase their profits. The announcement of Yahoo also made reference to the purpose of their release: inspiring scientists and researchers to prove their previous theories by testing them in a practical environment.

The impressive machine learning dataset released by Yahoo can be accessed at the Yahoo Webscope website here: http://webscope.sandbox.yahoo.com. It seems technology advancement never takes a break, as every day we receive new information on its progress. With this particular new tool, researchers will surely stay busy for the next period.

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New Date and Venue for Google I/O 2016

The new date and venue for Google I/O 2016 have just been announced.

Google I/O 2016 will take place between 18 and 20 May in Mountain View, California, at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

It seems we have a new date and venue for Google I/O 2016, the annual conference by Google. The event will take place between 18 and 20 May in Mountain View, California, at the Shoreline Amphitheater. Apparently, the special feature of this year will be self-driving cars that are currently in development. Car producers are quite determined in bringing the independent vehicles to the streets as soon as possible, and Google is hard at work.

Although there is no clear information on whether Google I/O will feature autonomous cars, we have a few hints pointing in this direction. First of all, the company avoided accessible and popular auditoriums like the ones in San Jose or San Francisco in favor of the Shoreline Amphitheater. The reason for this is that the venue in Mountain View has much more outdoor space including a huge parking lot. Secondly, it is very close to the Google campus, which would make transportation easier.

However, the choice of Shoreline Amphitheater also underlines the infrastructure and inequality issues of both San Jose and San Francisco, which exist in part because of tech companies. We are currently witnessing big tech firms based in smaller towns that are trying to remain suburban, while implementing larger levels of employment.

Shoreline Amphitheater can be considered an unpractical venue, because there is no public transportation leading straight to it. The closest bus station is located about half a mile from the venue, while the closest train station is at a distance of three miles. Furthermore, there are no restaurants or hotels nearby, and lodgings are quite expensive, reaching $300 per night. Apparently Google has found a solution for transportation that will consist of a series of special Google buses, the same buses that were the target of protests in both 2013 and 2014. The purpose of the manifestations was to highlight the fact that some towns do not build enough houses and apartments for the workers of corporations.

Many guests are expected to rent cars or use services like Uber, which will undoubtedly lead to traffic jams on both Shoreline Road and the 101 freeway. Furthermore, the Bay Area is a bayfront depression in the form of a bowl which can flood from heavy storms, as it happened in 1998 because of El Niño, a phenomenon that will take place this year as well.

Even though we are all excited to witness the progress of technology and these self-driving cars, the prospects of the new date and venue for Google I/O 2016 are not too bright. Let’s hope that Google will be able to properly organize and manage the conference.

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The Tale and Gadgets of CES 2016

CES 2016 Consumer Electronics Show

The Trends of CES 2016

It’s virtually impossible to attempt to cover every crazy little thing and gadget that happened and was showcased at CES 2016. Every single year seems to maintain a linear level of wacky, but that’s only because we always compare it to what we’ve seen last time. Last year we had weird, smart pacifiers and portable photo printers, this year we have wireless pregnancy tests and a completely wireless phone charger that is making me as excited as it’s making me uneasy. See what I mean?

The world moves forward and while we may be able to adapt to the changes at an amazing rhythm, the Consumer Electronics Show is still one of those places where we’re truly given reasons to marvel. And considering we live our days throughout the year having most of these things spoiled by nosy internet diggers and various types of leaks and rumors alike, that’s saying something for sure.

So CES 2016 has finally come to an end and there are some trends that we can define the year by. The most prominent of them all is the presence of car technology. This may not be new as geeks and automotive developers alike turn into excited kid-in-a-candy-shop-like creatures at the mere mention of beautifully lit autonomous cars that talk back to you in a pre-recorded voice of an attractive, British accented young lady. Or handsome young man, take your pick. 2016 is definitely a year where automobiles shined once again and showcased us where we should expect the industry to be in 5 years and 15 years from now, respectively.

Drones in all sizes and pocket gadgets were omnipresent too, whipping past the visitors’ ears in the never ending undertone of buzzing tech and the distinct smell of heavily polished devices. Full-fledged men looking awfully lost and confused from far away, making unexplainable hand motions, turned out to be lost in virtual reality as many of the showcased sets of headgear awed and gave way to a new age of gaming.

And because the market seems to always be able to handle a few more fitness trackers that come in a huge number of shapes and sizes, you could find a whole bunch of those too. And because you also need to store all that healthy food that the fitness trackers tell you to eat in order to lose weight, Samsung came up with a smart fridge that gives you a little piece of its computerized mind too.

CES 2016 Showroom

And what kind of electronics show doesn’t have robots in it? Without an unfeasible amount of HD and Ultra HDTVs beaming colorful images and vibrancy that goes way ahead of how things look in real life? Not to mention that one that everyone agrees was an absolutely convincing proof that we are living in the future – the rollable LG display.

It’s hard to choose which of these gadgets and new-gen devices were the most outstanding. It would be simply unfair to have to take our pick of, say, 5 or 10. Because of that, we’ll leave it as an open, unlimited list of the many, many things that deserve a mention following the shows at CES 2016.

The Baffling Gadgets of CES 2016

  1. CES 2016 – LG’s Dual-Sided OLED Video Wall and the Fabled Rollable Display

We’re adding them both here because they’re both products of LG and because they kind of resemble each other to some extent.

The dual-sided video wall is probably one of the craziest ideas for a TV anyone could have ever come up with. And frankly, I’m unsure to what length of applicability it could ever go to. While the design of it all is downright outstanding and really something you would expect to see in some Sci-Fi piece of work, I’m not sure who would consider this one a viable option for their homes.

CES 2016 1.	LG’s Dual-Sided OLED Video Wall

And that is simply because I don’t exactly see why you would want to watch anything on this squiggly display that is bound to make things look a little strange. Same goes for the ability to watch anything on either side of the TV. Most likely, this will make it into a great advertising tool for brands and companies – I can totally see these gracing malls and shopping centers everywhere.

Then there’s the LG rollable display that made the technology headlines for about 3 days after it first made it into daylight. It is basically an 18 inch super thin, super flexible sheet of a display that shows ridiculously large amounts of potential for the development of mobile devices in the not-so-far future. Does this mean we should be expecting rolls o’ screen to be the kind of thing you take with you along your portable, wireless mouse and keyboard? Chances are that yes.

CES 2016  LG rollable display

  1. CES 2016 – The Batmobile. I mean the Faraday Future FFZero1 Concept.

This is pretty much as close as anyone can get to a real Batmobile. No kidding either, even the interior has a striking resemblance to the way it look in the 90s series of the Batman Animated Series. The vehicle is, naturally, only a concept and not fully functional (sadly), but it’s fully electric, can hit 60 mph in about 3 seconds and can go as fast at 200 mph. But it can’t shoot missiles or eject the driver through the roof with the use of parachutes. Yet.

CES 2016 Faraday Future FFZero1 Concept

In all seriousness, however, the company that produced it – Faraday Future – announced that they plan to start mass producing this car sometime this year.

  1. CES 2016 – Nanoleaf Aurora

Maybe it’s not that awe-inducing as one would expect but it’s certainly the first of its kind and an amazingly great touch of futuristic to your home. The Nanoleaf Aurora that was showcased at CES 2016, despite only being a prototype, is a fully functional set of LED panels that have a very simple method of connecting to one another in order to allow you full freedom in the way you set them up on your wall.

CES 2016 Nanoleaf Aurora

The purpose is not much more than just a very creative way of lighting and decorating your home. Each panel can light up into a number of colors, allowing you to choose every single detail of what the final product is going to look like – whether you decide to control it through your phone or the clever looking hub. And the best thing about it is that it’ll become available for purchase later this year and it’s not even horribly expensive (somewhere around $150 for a set of 10 LED panels).

  1. CES 2016 – Daqri’s AR Helmet

Ah, it’s happening again. All those projects that got inspired by Google Glass’ take on augmented reality don’t always have a whole lot of utility outside giving you some degree of hands-free access to various sources of information. Now, the Daqri is actually taking it to the next level by giving it a purpose in the field of industry.

CES 2016 Daqri’s AR Helmet

It basically incorporates things such as blueprints, details and instructions that would otherwise require to either be held or stored within arms’ reach and away from getting lost or destroyed in hazardous scenarios. That way, the person using it could be guided to the source of a leak, directed through the process of fixing it and so on.

The AR helmet will be made available for purchase for enterprises sometime in Q1 of 2016 and it will come in bundles for a pretty spiky price – somewhere around $10,000 a piece.

  1. CES 2016 – Segway Ninebot

It’s certainly cute. And it’s certainly equally creepy. Also not tilting the utility scales either; but it’s certainly something that can see plenty other improvements in the future. The Segway Ninebot was made through a partnership between Intel, Segway and Ninebot and ultimately resulted in a really friendly device that can carry you around.

Featuring a simple display that acts as the little robot’s eyes which constantly blink and seem to turn into a very happy expression most of the time it’s idle (you wouldn’t like carrying people around on your back all the time either, would you?), I kind of expected a very different voice to be used for it. Even if it seems to have a great sense of humor.

CES 2016 Segway Ninebot

The robot can stream video through its front camera, has voice recognition, can check things out for you such as find out why your home alarm just went off while you were away and has an attachable set of arms. And while his hands have no opposable thumbs, the developer says that the Segway Ninebot can even pick things up.

  1. CES 2016 – EHang 184 Passenger Drone: The Flying Taxi

This is basically a flying car; well, I guess not so much since it has no wheels to roll down happily down the road. What it does have, however, is eight blades that give it its octocopter title. The developer – EHang – claims this is the world’s first electric personal autonomous aerial vehicle. So that has me wondering: there is a company that is capable of making a flying vehicle that can take from place A to place B without you touching a thing and yet autonomous cars are still on the to do list for 2020 and beyond.

CES 2016 EHang 184 Passenger Drone

I guess an independently functioning car in the midst of New York’s crazy traffic is a little different and more dangerous than a take to the skies. Entering a collision course with another vehicle is potentially more problematic that entering a collision course with a sparrow for sure.

And yet, here we are. The EHang 184 can fly for 23 minutes on a full charge, it will probably require your lifetime savings as it’s priced at $300,000 and is illegal to fly in the United States right now too. So the hour of personal flying cars is still probably really far away.

  1. CES 2016 – Immersit: Indoor Roller Coaster

No, okay, it’s not exactly a real roller coaster, but it makes you think it is. Afraid of heights? Terrified of your adrenaline levels going haywire in a potentially unsafe environment? Why not get over your fear of roller coasters in the safety of your own home? By making use of virtual reality gear and a rocking chair, Immersit can give you a rather realistic experience of what those Disney crazy rides would be like.

When I said rocking chair, I didn’t refer to one of those things you’d most likely be setting on your porch or by the fireplace, but something that looks very much like a regular – and particularly comfortable – leather armchair that does a little of those things that massage chairs do; but a little more intense than that.

CES 2016 Immersit

There’s no pricing currently available for the Immersit, not any clear news of when this will be made available.

  1. CES 2016 – Genworth Aging Suit

Occasionally referred to as the Aging Exoskeleton, this is one of those inventions that simply elicited a “why?!” from me. But then I thought that this may actually show some interesting use in other fields such as preparing astronauts for space travel. That one is simply a personal hunch though.

Regardless, the Genworth Aging Suit is an entire exoskeleton that simulates the way aging would affect your life and body. It’ll make you experience joints that aren’t as flexible as you’re used to, vision and hearing loss, muscles that feel like you’re carrying double your weight and so on.

CES 2016 Genworth Aging Suit

I’m pretty sure this one was not made to increase sympathy towards the elderly, but has a medicinal and scientific purpose. Still, it seemed to be a particularly popular gadget at CES 2016.

  1. CES 2016 – The Smartest Fridges Out There: brought to you by Samsung and LG

Samsung has showcased its own take on the smart fridge technology with its Family Hub – a fridge that’s equipped with cameras inside and a generous display on the outside. You can check what you have inside without ever having to open the door. And if you sync it to your phone, you can do this all the way from the supermarket too. Given its huge LCD display, it can act as a part-time entertainment center for you while you cook for example.

CES 2016 Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

The LG’s refrigerator is not as smart but insanely perceptive. It can tell when you’re standing in its vicinity and knows to open the door by itself. Similarly, it’ll turn on its inside lights when you knock on its glass panel too.

CES 2016 LG Smart Fridge

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New Trip Experiences Feature Will Be Launched by Uber

The new Trip Experiences feature will be launched by Uber to make your trip more pleasant.

It seems traveling by car will become more pleasant as the new Trip Experiences feature will be launched by Uber. It all begun with the introduction of Uber API that has given access to all app developers to the Uber system. Thus, applications can now access trip history, display pickup times, transfer a destination to Uber, provide fare estimates and so on. Trip Experiences is set to allow developers to activate their services during the Uber ride.

More precisely, you will be able to use the time of your trip in a useful or entertaining way. Third-party developers will receive information when you are on a Uber trip, if you are waiting for your ride, how much time the trip will take, as well as track the location of the Uber car, and the pickup location and destination. For instance, if your trip takes ten minutes, you will have access to a ten minute playlist from Spotify of your preferred music genre. If you wish to find out the latest news in just five minutes, you will be provided with a five minute news update. Furthermore, if you are planning a night out, you will be given restaurant reviews, reminders to turn off the lights when you leave your house or turn on the heat when you return.

However, if you prefer a peaceful ride you can always turn off these notifications, since Uber does use permissions. Lastly, Uber users will earn virtual points for each trip they make, which can lead to real-life rewards. The new service is also a great opportunity for advertising, which might become annoying for users, but the company has already warned developers that they will not be able to distribute unwanted promotions or spam.

Uber is available in over three hundred cities and is valued at $6.2 billion. This is truly the biggest update for the company after the introduction of Ride Request last year. The change comes as Uber is trying to improve its services and transform into something more than just a car service, as well as attract more users. Its plans include package and food delivery, self-driving cars and partnering with third-party apps such as Facebook Messenger, OpenTable, United Airlines and StubHub.

There is currently no information on when the new Trip Experiences feature will be launched by Uber, but we can assume it will happen quite soon. Uber has to face a fierce competition, from both traditional taxi drivers and similar services like Lyft.

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HTC Vive Pre-orders Start On 29 February, Watch Out Oculus

HTC Vive Pre-orders Start On 29 February, Watch Out Oculus

HTC Vive pre-orders start on 29 February, watch out Oculus, you’re in a for the fight of your life. Given that virtual reality enthusiasts all over the world were utterly shocked last week upon the news that Palmer Luckey doesn’t know what in the same ballpark means, the HTC Vive might just have the upper hand.

Cher Wang, HTC CEO, has spoken to the Telegraph and said that the company has chosen to shift its focus on virtual reality, and drive away from the smartphone industry, because now, HTC, is more realistic.

HTC has partnered with game maker supreme Valve to design an immersive virtual reality headset. It will sell world-wide starting with April of this year, competing directly with the much-awaited Oculus Rift. Sony’s PlayStation VR is out of the question at the current moment as there is no information available on pricing or release date. What we do know is that Sony has stated, over and over again, that the company will release their virtual reality headset only when they have enough content available – the Japanese company is known for working on more than 100 titles for their VR headset.

For the HTC Vive, Valve will be in charge of the gaming platform with their beloved Steam – as well as offering a place for Oculus Rift lovers.

Even though we have an official pre-order date, we still don’t know what the price of a Vive headset will retail at. Yet, we will have details in the upcoming weeks regarding the cost of a Vive, notes Cher Wang.

But why the sudden shift from the smartphone industry?

Well, because the huge competition from Xiaomi and Apple, with both companies pumping a ton of money on marketing and communications. There are also a lot of other Chinese competitors that offer low-quality devices with staggering specifications, notes the CEO of HTC.

During CES 2016, HTC displayed and demoed their 2nd-gen dev kit, the Vive Pre. Those who were present, were the first to witness the huge difference between the two dev kits.

However, regardless of the change in design, the price needs to meet the expectations of VR enthusiasts across the world so the adoption rate soars, and brands jump on the bandwagon.

You need a powerful PC to run a VR headset. A PC that will make you cough up something between $500 and $1000. Dell’s Alienware has already started offering bundles that shave $200 off the base price of an Oculus Rift, and, Cher Wang says, that HP and Asus will be releasing VR-ready PCs in the upcoming months.

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