Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

Nike’s self-lacing sneakers turn into bricks after faulty firmware update

February 21st, 2019
A pair of Nike Adapt BBs next to an iPhone, which was clearly the primary development platform.

Enlarge / A pair of Nike Adapt BBs next to an iPhone, which was clearly the primary development platform.

Nike users are experiencing some technical difficulties in the wild world of connected footwear. Nike's $350 "Adapt BB" sneakers are the latest in the company's line of self-lacing shoes, and they come with the "Nike Adapt" app for Android and iOS. The app pairs with the shoes and lets you adjust the tightness of the laces, customize the lights (yeah, there are lights), and see, uh, how much battery life your shoes have left. The only problem: Nike's Android app doesn't work.

Android users report that their new kicks aren't paring with the app properly, and some customers report failed firmware updates for the shoes, which render them unable to pair with the app at all. Nike's app on Google Play has been flooded with 1-star reviews in response to the faulty update.

One user writes, "The first software update for the shoe threw an error while updating, bricking the right shoe." Another says, "App will only sync with left shoe and then fails every time. Also, app says left shoe is already connected to another device whenever I try to reinstall and start over."

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Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e hands-on: Samsung is slowly getting better

February 21st, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO—Samsung presented not one, not two, not three, but four new phones at its Unpacked event in San Francisco yesterday. The devices included three variants of the conglomerate's S-series flagship phones—the Galaxy S10 as the default model, the S10 Plus as a larger variant, and the S10e as an iPhone XR-like lower-priced alternative, though in this case, the more affordable one is smaller than both of the other two. Samsung also introduced the radical (and extremely pricy) Galaxy Fold.

After the public briefing, we were hurried to a crowded demo room to see three of those phones, as well as some wearables and a tablet that Samsung also presented.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to do a whole lot with the devices on a crowded show floor. For example, there was no time to set up a fingerprint to see if the reader is fast enough, and the Adobe Premiere Rush CC app announced during the presentation was not installed on any of the phones. Also, Samsung did not offer hands-on opportunities with the 5G Galaxy S10 or its new folding phone. We were told more information about the folding phone will be released at Mobile World Congress later this month.

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Posted in Samsung, samsung galaxy s10, Samsung Galaxy S10e, Tech, wireless charging | Comments (0)

Beyond HoloLens: Microsoft expands its augmented-reality vision with iOS, Android apps

February 21st, 2019
Remote Assist, with its green augmented reality arrow pointing out something of interest, on an Android phone.

Enlarge / Remote Assist, with its green augmented reality arrow pointing out something of interest, on an Android phone. (credit: Microsoft)

With HoloLens 2's big reveal just around the corner, Microsoft has broadened its augmented-reality (AR) ambitions with new apps for Android and iOS.

Remote Assist is an app designed for service engineers operating in the field, letting them show what they can see to a remote expert, who can then use a mixture of voice and AR drawing and annotation on what they see to provide guidance, troubleshooting, and instruction. This feature is already available for HoloLens and is being used by real service engineers. A preview of Remote Assist is coming to Android; while it won't offer the same hands-free convenience as the HoloLens, it also won't require the $5,000 headsets, instead running on a smartphone.

Product Visualize is a sales app that salespeople can use to show customers the products that they're buying in context, letting them see how big machinery and equipment is, check if it will fit in the space they want to use it, and so on. It's similar to, but simpler than, a HoloLens app called Layout, which similarly allows 3D models to be placed and laid out in the real world. A preview of Visualize is being released for iOS; an Android version may follow, depending on customer demand.

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Posted in Android, augmented reality, enterprise, hololens, iOS, microsoft, Tech | Comments (0)

Guidemaster: The least-awful Android phones

February 21st, 2019
These two got new phones, and look at how happy they are!

Enlarge / These two got new phones, and look at how happy they are! (credit: Ron Amadeo)

So you want to buy an Android phone, eh?

It's often said that a strength of the Android ecosystem is the sheer number of manufacturers out there producing devices, but that also means there is an absolutely intimidating amount of devices to pick from. Over 400 Android devices were released just in 2018—and the idea of buying a single device and then living with it for years can be daunting. Throw in tons of different price points, carrier compatibility, and user preferences, and "What Android phone should I buy?" can be a very complicated question.

We're here to sift through the absolutely crazy amount of choices and point out the phones we think would be best for most people. These are the best Android phones you can buy.

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Posted in Features, Tech | Comments (0)

Microsoft culls secret Flash whitelist after Google points out its insecurity

February 20th, 2019
Microsoft culls secret Flash whitelist after Google points out its insecurity

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

In 2017, Microsoft changed its Edge browser so that Flash content would be click-to-run (or disabled outright) on virtually every site on the Web. A handful of sites were to be whitelisted, however, due to a combination of Flash dependence and high popularity.

The whitelist was intended to make it easier to move to a world using HTML5 for rich interactive content and to limit the impact of any future Flash vulnerabilities. At the same time, the list would still allow sites with complex Flash-dependent content to keep on running. If only a few trusted sites can run Flash content by default, it should be much harder for bad actors to take advantage of Flash flaws. A similar approach was adopted by other browsers; Google, for example, whitelisted the top-10 Flash-using sites for one year after switching Chrome to "click-to-run."

But Google figured out how Edge's whitelist worked (via ZDNet) and found that its implementation left something to be desired. The list of 58 sites (56 of which have been identified by Google) including some that were unsurprising; many of the entries are sites with considerable numbers of Flash games, including Facebook. Others seemed more peculiar; a Spanish hair salon, for example, was listed.

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Posted in browsers, EDGE, flash, microsoft, Tech, Web | Comments (0)

Samsung refreshes wearable line, including new Galaxy Watch Active

February 20th, 2019

Along with the S10 smartphones and the new Galaxy Fold handset, Samsung officially announced new wearables in its Galaxy family at its Unpacked event today. The information leaked just days ago purportedly by Samsung's own Galaxy Wearables mobile app has been proven correct as Samsung showed off a new Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch, a Galaxy Fit tracker, and new true wireless earbuds called the Galaxy Buds on stage.

Starting in the audio department, the Galaxy Buds are Samsung's latest shot at the cord-less earphone market popularized by Apple's AirPods. Samsung says they get six hours of battery life on their own per charge, with an additional seven hours available through their charging case. That case supports wireless charging, and can be powered by one of those new Galaxy S10 phones.

The company claims the Galaxy Buds's case is 30 percent smaller than that of its previous Gear IconX earbuds. Samsung's much-maligned Bixby assistant is built into the earphones by default, letting users perform a modicum of smartphone controls with their voice—send texts, answer calls, change songs, and more—but the earphones can also use Google Assistant if desired. They connect over Bluetooth 5, and Samsung is touting easier connectivity with its own devices. The company says the Galaxy Buds' audio has been tuned by its AKG subsidiary, though we'll have to give them a listen before making any judgments there.

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Posted in fitness tracker, Galaxy Fit, galaxy watch, Galaxy Watch Active, Samsung, smartwatch, Tech, wearables | Comments (0)

Samsung officially debuts Galaxy S10 smartphone after weeks of rumors, leaks

February 20th, 2019
Samsung officially debuts Galaxy S10 smartphone after weeks of rumors, leaks

(credit: Samuel Axon)

It's Samsung's big launch event today, and the company has made the thoroughly leaked Galaxy S10 official. The company announced the S10 and S10 Plus smartphones on stage today, after it unveiled the impressive and incredibly expensive Galaxy Fold foldable handset.

The Galaxy S line never joined the notch trend of 2018, and this year Samsung is going with a new scheme to maximize display space while still having a front camera: the hole punch display. Samsung is pushing the display boundaries all the way out to the edges of the phone, and a camera is located under the display panel. Samsung's display technology has reached the point where it can just punch out the pixels over top of the camera lens, so you get a display with a round camera hole in it and pixels all around the camera lens.

The slimmer bezels means screen sizes are getting even bigger. The S10 has a 6.1-inch 3040×1440 OLED display—up from 5.8-inches in the S9—and the S10 Plus is getting a 6.4-inch 3040×1440 OLED panel—up from 6.2-inches on the S9 Plus, and now the same size as the Galaxy Note 9. Both phones are a few millimeters wider than last year, so they will feel a bit bigger when you're holding them.

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Samsung’s foldable phone is finally official—meet the Galaxy Fold

February 20th, 2019

After years of teasing, Samsung on Wednesday took the wraps off its first foldable smartphone: the Galaxy Fold.

The device will start at a whopping $1,980 and arrive on April 26. Samsung says both LTE and 5G-capable variants will be available. The electronics giant detailed the Android phone-tablet hybrid at an event in San Francisco, where it is also expected to unveil its new flagship Galaxy S10 phones.

As the company hinted at its developers conference last year, the Galaxy Fold consists of two displays: a 4.58-inch, 1960x840 resolution panel that serves as a more traditional smartphone display, and a foldable 7.3-inch, 2152x1536 resolution panel that behaves more like a tablet.

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Posted in Android, foldable phone, Samsung, samsung galaxy fold, smartphones, Tech | Comments (0)

Users alarmed by undisclosed microphone in Nest Security System

February 20th, 2019
You can't see it, but there is actually a microphone in here.

Enlarge / You can't see it, but there is actually a microphone in here. (credit: Nest)

Google's Nest smart home brand is in hot water this week after news surfaced (via Daring Fireball) that its home security system, Nest Secure, shipped with an undisclosed microphone. Google activated the microphone earlier this month for Google Assistant functionality, but that meant the device sat in users' homes for up to a year as an unknown potential listening device.

Nest Secure launched last year as a $500 home security system. It's just a collection of door, window, and motion sensors, along with a small desktop box that acts as a hub for the devices and a security code keypad. It has a speaker for alarms and other sounds, but it isn't something you would ever expect to have a microphone.

Google gave a statement to Business Insider yesterday, saying, “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part.” According to the company, "the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”

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Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

February 20th, 2019
Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

A new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests that Apple is serious about combining apps across the iOS and macOS App Stores. The iPhone make is reportedly planning on expanding Project Marzipan, a multistep initiative that will allow developers to create an app only once and have it work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. Apple may reveal the first steps of this program as early as June 2019 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

We first heard about Marzipan back in 2017, but this is the first hint of Apple's tentative schedule for its rollout and application. The company may debut an SDK later this year that will allow developers to port iPad apps to Mac computers. While they will still have to submit two separate apps to the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store, the SDK reportedly makes it so developers only have to write the underlying code once.

By next year, Apple plans to expand the SDK to include iPhone apps, meaning developers could port iPhone apps to Macs in the same way. By 2021, developers may be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, creating one application that works across all of those Apple devices (what the report calls a "single binary"). At this stage, developers will not have to submit multiple versions of apps to different app stores—and Apple may be able to merge its separate stores into one, all-encompassing app store.

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Posted in apple, iOS, ios apps, ipad, iphone, Mac, Mac Pro, MacOS, project marzipan, Tech | Comments (0)