- Apple patent looks to create ‘secure magnets’ to unlock your device
It’s an Apple patent application: please be aware this is unlikely to wind up in your next device, please fasten seat belts and fix your tray table in the fixed and upright position. Inside the bezel of your iDevice or Mac is a magnet that operates a switch — that will only be activated when a “correlated” magnet inside a key-fob makes contact. That’s the thinking behind Cupertino’s newest patent application, attempting to turn magnets into a way of keeping your stuff secure. An example listed in the patent is using a stylus with specially encoded magnets to securely unlock an iPad, which we attribute to a zealous patent attorney and not a reversal of the “they blew it” rule. It may sound ridiculous when you first consider it, but given the magnetic-activation of the iPad 2′s smart cover, it’s not as outlandish as you believe. Still, we’ll believe it if we see it in a couple of years.
Apple patent looks to create ‘secure magnets’ to unlock your device originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 15:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Company turns to bribery for 5 star Amazon reviews
In a world where word of mouth and the judgment of the hive mind is worth more than any ad or the ruminations of many professional reviewers, companies will do just about anything to ensure a strong rating on outlets like Amazon. It’s clear that dummy accountssimply aren’t the way to go, but what about bribing your existing customers? Apparently VIP Deals thought that route was perfectly acceptable and offered rebates to people who rated their products on Amazon. Now, the offer letter (which you can see at the more coverage link) doesn’t explicitly ask for a five star review, but it is strongly suggested that the company expects one in exchange for receiving the product for free — in this case, a leather Kindle Fire case. VIP’s reviews and its products have all since been booted from Amazon, but it certainly raises plenty of questions about the ease with which some companies are able to game the system and how a reputable outlet can protect its customers from ratings scams. Hit up the source for the full story.
Company turns to bribery for 5 star Amazon reviews originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 14:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- MOTU sneaks in MicroBook II post-NAMM, ships this Spring for $269Looking to add some muscle to your mobile recording kit? MOTU waited to pull the curtain back on the MicroBook II until after NAMM, revealing a revamped portable audio interface for those who fancy tracking on-the-go. The studio-quality kit plays nice with both Mac and PC, offering a compact 4-input / 6-output, bus-powered recording option with 96kHz recording and playback support. Sporting inputs for mics (XLR), guitar, keyboard and powered speakers, the MicroBook II connects to your computer of choice via USB 2.0 and boasts on-board volume controls. All four inputs can be recorded simultaneously while internal CueMix tech allows for a unique stereo mix for each output pair. Speaking of outputs, the diminutive box houses six of said channels alongside TRS 1/4-inch, stereo mini, S/PDIF, and 1/4-inch headphone offerings. You’ll have to wait until Spring to snag one, but for now hit the PR after the break for a full list of specs.
MOTU sneaks in MicroBook II post-NAMM, ships this Spring for $269 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 12:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- HP Envy 15 review (early 2012)
If there’s one thing we took away from our jaunt at CES, it’s this: consumers’ appetites for mainstream laptops haven’t waned all that much. Even in the Ultrabook category, Intel expects half of the models to go on sale this year will have 14- and 15-inch screens — as strong an indicator as any that lots of folks aren’t yet ready to give up their slightly larger screens, their discrete graphics, their (gasp!) optical drives. While HP recently announced its first Ultrabook for the consumer market, the Envy 14 Spectre, it’s fully fleshed out its premium Envy series to include two additional models for people who crave more oomph.
The Envy 15 is the medium-sized member of the crew, with a 15.6-inch screen and the same overhauled design you’ll find across the Envy lineup. Delightfully, too, it marks the return of HP’s eye-popping Radiance display, and also comes with a generous two-year warranty and full copies of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. And with a starting price of $1,100, it sharply undercuts the 15-inch MacBook Pro, while taking direct aim at other high-end 15-inchers, like the Dell XPS 15z and Samsung Series 7 Chronos. So how does it stack up? Meet us after the break to find out.
Gallery: HP Envy 15 review (early 2012)
- Mozilla to overhaul Firefox’s default home and tab pagesDespite Mozilla kicking its release schedule into overdrive, not all parts of Firefox have gotten the tender love and care they truly deserve. Take for example, the browser’s default homepage, which hasn’t evolved much since its humble beginnings nearly a decade ago. That’ll change soon in a two pronged effort, with Mozilla first adding a function bar to version 12 (seen after the break), followed by a later and more extensive revamp (up-top) which incorporates apps, top sites and chat functionality. Also planned is a Chrome and Safari-esque Top Sites “New Tab” view and savvy URL autocompletion in the address bar. A more in-depth preview awaits at the source, or we suppose, you could live dangerously and hop aboard Mozilla’s nightly release train. You decide.
Mozilla to overhaul Firefox’s default home and tab pages originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 11:05:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Forrester: Apple makes strides into enterprises, users iWork hard for the money
Forrester has announced the results of its latest survey, which encompassed 10,000 enterprise computer users, across 17 countries. It looked at the degree of Apple product adoption in businesses and support for them within IT services. There’s plenty to chew on, but here’s the big one; over a fifth of those surveyed uses an Apple product for work. This, however, includes workers using their personal devices for work tasks, with 11 percent using their iPhone, 9 percent their iPad and 8 percent working on their Macs. Half of the enterprises included in Forrester’s survey plan to increase the number of Macs used by 52 percent, while nearly half of the firms are already issuing Apple PCs to employees, gaining even more traction within IT departments in the US and Western Europe. Unsurprisingly, given its premium pricing, those using Apple gear are more likely to be higher paid, while also (paradoxically) younger and in a senior rank. More specifically, 43 percent of those making over $150,000 a year use an iPhone, iPad or Mac. No cause or effect here, ladies and gents, but we’ll be putting in our expense claim for a new set of business iPads very soon.
Forrester: Apple makes strides into enterprises, users iWork hard for the money originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 09:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- F-BOMB $50 surveillance computer hides in your CO detector, cracks your WiFi
What happens when you take a PogoPlug, add 8GB of flash storage, some radios (WiFi, GPS) and perhaps a few sensors, then stuff everything in a 3D-printed box? You get the F-BOMB (Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors), a battery-powered surveillance computer that costs less than $50 to put together using off-the-shelf parts. The 4 x 3.5 x 1-inch device, created by security researcher Brendan O’Connor and funded by DARPA‘s Cyber Fast Track program, is cheap enough for single-use scenarios where costly traditional hardware is impractical. It can be dropped from an AR Drone, tossed over a fence, plugged into a wall socket or even hidden inside a CO detector. Once in place, the homebrew Linux-based system can be used to gather data and hop onto wireless networks using WiFi-cracking software. Sneaky. Paranoid yet? Click on the source link below for more info.
F-BOMB $50 surveillance computer hides in your CO detector, cracks your WiFi originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 08:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Google tells Android devs to kick the menu button to the curb, seriously you guys
If you’ve seen Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus in action, then it should be clear that the menu button has no future in the Android ecosystem. In order to drive that point home, Google has posted over at the Android Developer blog urging app creators to “say goodbye to the menu button.” With the until now standard key getting the boot, big G wants devs to start designing interfaces that focus on the ActionBar introduced with Honeycomb. Of course, there’s only so much room on the screen, and that’s where the “action overflow” button comes in handy. Those vertical elipsis hide useful, but perhaps secondary options, that don’t fit in the action bar. It also pops up on the far right of the navigation bar as a replacement to the menu button… basically because it behaves the same as menu, just in a different location. If nothing else at least Google is pushing Android and its apps towards a more uniform design. Check out the source for more details.
Google tells Android devs to kick the menu button to the curb, seriously you guys originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 06:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Plasmonic cloak makes objects invisble, but only in the microwave region of the spectrum
Okay, so we’re not up to USS Pegasus levels yet, but for the first time researchers have been able to cloak a three dimensional object. Don’t start planning your first trip to the Hogwarts library restricted section just yet though, the breakthrough is only in the microwave region of the EM spectrum. Using a shell of plasmonic materials, it’s possible to create a “photo negative” of the object being cloaked in order to make it disappear. The technique is different to the use of metamaterials, which try to bounce light around the object. Instead, plasmonics try to deceive the light as to what’s actually there at the time — but because it has to be tailored to create a “negative image” of the object you’re hiding, it’s not as flexible, but it could be an important step on the road to that bank heist we’ve been planning.
Plasmonic cloak makes objects invisble, but only in the microwave region of the spectrum originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 04:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.