News

Nintendo Announces a Tiny NES Console

The release of Pokemon Go has brought out the inner child in millions of adults over the past week but it looks like that’s not the only dose of nostalgia Nintendo is going to release this year. Later this year Nintendo is taking us back to the 1980’s by releasing a palm-sized NES Console with 30 built-in games. The console will retail for $59.99 and will come with one controller. Fortunately, the console comes with an AC Adapter and HDMI Cable so you can play it right out of the box. An extra controller will set you back $10 so plan on spending around $80 when it drops on November 11th 2016. The controller is the same size as the original and can be used to play virtual console games on the Wii U so you could just spend $10 on the controller to get that classic feel. Below is the list of games included in the console as well as some of the key points Nintendo is advertising for the NES Classic Edition.

What Games Does the NES Classic Edition Have?

News Classic Edition How it Looks

  • The NES Classic Edition system is a miniaturized version of the groundbreaking NES, originally released in 1985.
  • Just plug the NES Classic Edition into your TV, pick up that gray controller, and rediscover the joy of NES games.
  • Play NES games the way they’re meant to be played—with a full-size “original” controller.
  • The included NES Classic Controller can also be used with NES Virtual Console games on your Wii™ or Wii U™ console by connecting it to a Wii Remote™ controller.
  • Games like Pac-Man™, TECMO BOWL, and Dr. Mario™ are even better with a buddy. And you won’t have to fight over a controller.
  • Use your Classic Controller™ or Classic Controller Pro™ (sold separately), or buy a second NES Classic Controller.

 

Source: Nintendo NES Classic Edition

Apple Opposes Government to Protect Customers

“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step, which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

 

On February 16, 2016 Apple CEO, Tim Cook, released a letter to their customers about the United States government’s demand to essentially build a backdoor to their iPhone. Apple believes that this would threaten the privacy and security of their customers, with further implications in the wrong hands.

 

The San Bernardino Case

Apple received an order from a California court to assist the FBI in unlocking an iPhone by hacking. The iPhone belonged to one of the San Bernardino terrorists, a couple which took 14 lives last December. Apple has no sympathy for terrorists and has worked hard to help the FBI solve this tragic crime in an attempt for justice. Apple has taken great measures to comply with the government and provide all possible information such as complying with valid subpoenas and search warrants, making Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and offering ideas on investigations. However, the US government is now asking for something that Apple does not currently have, and believes is dangerous to create – a backdoor for the iPhone.

 

What is the government asking for?

“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession. The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

 

This backdoor to the iPhone would create a custom version of iOS that would ease the FBI’s attempts at unlocking the iPhone by “brute force,” i.e., trying millions of passcode combinations using a special peripheral, without the risk of deleting the data on the device.

 

Apple believes in encryption

Smartphones are an important part of our lives. A majority of the population now has a smartphone and “we use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going”.

 

This information should be and needs to be protected from criminals, hackers, and terrorists who wish to use it without our permission for corrupt purposes. Customers expect and rely on companies such as Apple to provide protection of their personal information; thus, invoking the need for encryption. “Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us.”

 

Why should we be concerned?

This order not only raises the issue of data security, but also personal privacy. It would expose customers to a greater risk of attack due to weakened encryption. In the wrong hands it could also compromise our security. It is also a question of privacy. “Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture his or her data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.” This backdoor could allow the government to invade our privacy, and in a country promising freedom, this order seems to impose further restrictions on those liberties.

 

Apple has opened the debate to cellphone users everywhere. Personally, I stand with Apple’s decision to fight the order due to the implications it would have on our security and our privacy.

 

The letter from Apple can be viewed here: http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/

Canon Announces the EOS-1D X Mark II, A 4K Capable Flagship DSLR

Last year Sony stole the spotlight with their Sony A7r II and A7s II but it seems that Canon and Nikon want to take some of the spotlight back this year. Canon has been rapidly loosing users as they switch to Sony’s mirrorless cameras but with their announcement of the EOS-1D X Mark II it looks like Canon is back on the game. This camera isn’t very consumer oriented since the body-only will retail for $6,000. The great thing is that this might lead to more of their consumer-grade DSLR’s getting 4K support. Here is a video from B&H detailing the new features of the 1D X Mark II:

 

Here is a full overview of the camera by Canon:

Immense power. Phenomenal speed. A remarkable combination of innovation and refinement. The new EOS-1D X Mark II camera is nothing but legendary every step of the way. Building on a heritage of sophisticated innovation, the EOS-1D X Mark II is blazingly fast. Up to 14 fps* (up to 16 fps* in Live View mode) can be captured at a burst rate of up to 170 RAWs with a CFast™ card, and an improved 61-point AF system helps deliver clean, sharp images quickly, even in dim light. This remarkable speed means faster recording too: 4K video can be recorded at up to 60 fps with smooth AF and strikingly clear detail. Combined with superb low-light performance thanks to its powerful sensor and expandable ISO range, the EOS-1D X Mark II performs brilliantly, swiftly and stunningly no matter when or where the photographer is shooting. From the stadium, safari or studio to virtually everywhere in between, the EOS-1D X Mark II maintains and enhances all the hallmarks of what Canon has to offer, marking a new page in the legacy of the EOS series of cameras.

 

EOS-1D X Mark II (What’s In the Box?)

  • EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Body
  • Battery Pack LP-E19
  • Battery Charger LC-E19
  • Wide StrapEyecup Eg (Not Shown)
  • Cable Protector
  • Interface Cable IFC-150U II
  • EOS Digital Solution Disk (Not Shown)

Source: Canon,B&H

Christmas 2015 Brings with it All Kinds of Buzzing and Gliding

From drones to hoverboards, this Christmas was filled with all kinds of fun motorized gadgets. While the kids rejoice, all of the parents get to worry about all of the safety hazards brought along with these new toys.

For instance, you may remember the hoverboard danger that is their tendency to catch on fire in a more explosive manner…

 

Not to mention all of the funny fail videos that show just how difficult these things are to ride and how dangerous they can be in terms of breaking bones and causing all kinds of other injuries…

 

It sounds like these hoverboards sent many people to the emergency room this Christmas, according to these Twitter users…

It appears the wrist injuries are fairly common…

Even our state representatives can’t seem to avoid the dangers of the infamous hoverboard, with Florida Representative Carlos Curbelo having received an arm injury due to his daughter’s hoverboard.

With all of these injuries being reported from the hoverboard, it seems fair to deem the hoverboard this Christmas’s most dangerous gift. But let’s not let the hoverboard be the only one to get attention, with all of the kids’ new drones buzzing around, certainly there are dangers to be seen. In fact, one Twitter user was doing just fine with their hoverboard until a drone showed up…

 

So what’s the moral of the story here? If you got one of these new shiny gadgets, please take care of them, be aware of your surroundings before using them, and use common sense to lower your risk of injury as much as possible.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Amazon Announces Two New Alexa-Enabled Speakers

Amazon has announced two new Alexa-enabled speakers that connect to your Wi-Fi network and allow you to control smart devices in your as well as ask it a bunch of questions like you would with Google Now or Siri. Both new devices are complementary to the Amazon Echo and not replacing it. first we have the Echo Dot which is the tiny and least expensive version made to be put in numerous rooms. The Echo Tap has a very small speaker intended for using it as an Alarm Clock or something that doesn’t require much sound since it’s a device that will need an external speaker to really shine. Second we have Amazon Tap which is portable version of the Echo and is very reminiscent of some of Logitech’s speakers.

 

 

I had been contemplating the purchase of an Echo for some time now but I’m happy I waited. I already have many bluetooth speakers in my home so another one would be pointless. The Echo Tap is perfect for anyone wanting to turn their current speakers into a smart device that doesn’t need to connect to your phone to play music or tell you a joke which is just great. Both devices will be launching towards the end of March but are available for pre-order today, Amazon Tap ($129.99), Echo Dot($89.99).

 

  • Echo Dot

    • Uses the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, read the news, set alarms, control smart home devices, and more using just your voice
    • Connects speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable to play music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
    • Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer
    • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
    • Controls smart home devices like lights, switches, thermostats, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, ecobee, and others
    • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills

  • Amazon Tap

    • Just tap and ask for music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
    • Uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza
    • Streams all your music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet
    • Delivers crisp sound powered by Dolby, with dual stereo speakers that provide 360º omni-directional audio
    • Provides up to 9 hours of playback
    • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
    • Includes Charging Cradle

 

Pre-Order: Amazon Tap ($129.99), Echo Dot($89.99)

Google’s Project Skybender – 5G Internet Delivered Via Solar-Powered Drones

Google never seems to stop dropping crazy ideas on us, do they? Well, they’ve done it again, so here’s the latest innovation the tech giant recently announced: Project Skybender.

This initiative is quite similar to Google’s Project Loon, which was a project announced in June of 2013 meant to send large balloons into the atmosphere for the purpose of beaming 4G Internet from the sky. This project is still on-going, but that didn’t stop Google from also considering other opportunities, bringing us to Skybender.

Skybender is quite a unique idea, which uses solar powered drones to send down high-quality 5G Internet.

Google is currently testing prototypes out at the Gateway to Space airport in New Mexico. They built a flight control center in a nearby town to control the drones, and they are currently testing a new method of delivering high-speed Internet using millimeter-wave radio transmissions.

This new method has been rated at approximately 40 times as fast as current 4G LTE Internet, and could be the answer to jumping up a 5G level.

Google’s ultimate vision for this project, if it is deemed successful, is to have hundred to thousands of their drones flying around delivering high-speed, high-quality Internet to the world. Of course, they’re going to have to get through the FCC first, with their recent activities cracking down on even hobby drones.

The company started working on Project Skybender’s construction last summer with communication stations at Spaceport America.

Spaceport America

The system uses drones Google created when they acquired the startup Titan Aerospace. The drones they created are high-altitude and solar-powered, which is perfect for a project like this, and some of these drones are quite large, with wingspans of up to 160 feet. Of course, being as high in the atmosphere as they are, the size isn’t much of an issue.

Google plans to continue tests until July this year, when permission from the FCC is terminated, to determine the possibility of this project being successful. Hopefully we’ll hear more about the project in the future, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the project is never heard of again, as with many of Google’s projects.

Google Pays $12,000 to Man Who Owned Google.com Domain for 1 Minute

You may remember back in September of last year when a man named Sanmay Ved purchased the world’s most valuable domain name, Google.com, for $12. The former Google employee said he found the domain up for sale on the listings, and decided to try purchasing it just for fun. He didn’t think the transaction would go through, but much to Ved’s surprise, he was able to charge his card the $12 and own the domain name… for one minute.

Of course, Google was quick to notice something wasn’t quite right when they all of a sudden didn’t own their domain name anymore and cancelled the transaction just after it was originally created. However, as payment for Ved noticing the error, Google told Ved they’d send him a payment for $6,006.13. Why such a specific amount? Well, if you look closely, you can see that 600613 is GOOGLE in numbers (or at least as close to it as you can get).

Ved immediately chose to donate the money to a charity, and when Google found this out, they doubled the payment to $12,012.26. The money was donated to the charity Art of Living India Foundation, a non-profit that runs schools in areas in India that are high in poverty for free.

Google has been known to pay their users for errors found in Google’s system, including over $35,000 for a security researcher working on checking Android for problems. So, if you happen to run across a security issue with Google, be sure to let them know, as you may get some cold hard cash for your Internet stumbling!

sProjector Promises 1080p Full HD at 1000 Lumens Projection in Small Package

Projectors seem to be becoming much more popular, with pico projectors popping up all over, and home theater projectors becoming quite a bit more affordable. Among all of this buzz is a project on IndieGoGo.com called the sProjector. The sProjector is trying to combine all of the best of home theater projectors and pico projectors into one small, neat, and powerful package.

sProjector 2The sProjector comes in at just 150 grams, or just 1/3 of a pound at a size of 70mm x 130mm x 15mm, or 2.75in x 5.1in x 0.6in, which is about the size of an average hand. With these physical specifications, this projector would be considered a pico projector.

However, where we were surprised was with the fact that the sProjector boasts a high-resolution display of 1080p, with a very bright (for the size) 1000 lumens. For comparison, the Celluon PicoPro, a similarly-sized projector, can only produce a 720p image at 32 lumens. And a larger pico projector, the AAXA P300, can only produce a 720p image at 400 lumens.

Additional features of the sProjector include its 5-hour battery life, lack of a noisy fan (without overheating), and low price of $249.99, while other less-featured picos cost anywhere from $250-$400. Plus, the company is including a remote and TV dongle with the projector, which can be plugged into sProjector to tune into TV signals without the need for an Internet connection.

sProjector 3Now, let’s talk connections, because this thing doesn’t lack in that area either! The sProjector comes equipped with a mini-HDMI port (adapter for full HDMI included), USB port, microUSB port, 3.5mm port, Bluetooth, and WiFI 802.11 b/g/n. With these connections, you can wirelessly mirror your device through Miracast, plug in a laptop or Chromecast, or stream directly over WiFi through the use of the projector’s UI, which runs on a customized Android Lollipop OS.

The sProjector can be purchased in white, black, or gold, and it is set to ship later this month. The IndieGoGo campaign was incredibly successful, hitting over 5000% of the initial goal, totaling over half a million dollars.

So, this thing has to be fake, right? Well, the promo video and the crazy amount of features on the projector certainly made it seem like that was the case. However, the company has been putting out updates and showing their progress, with recent videos (found below) showcasing the projector actually working, convincing me to believe it may just be real!

If the sProjector is real, then Silver Star, the company behind sProjector, has just made a major breakthrough in the pico projector market, and I’ll be very excited to see it!

Demo Videos

Vs. the CooLux Projector

 

Projecting at Full HD 1080p

Microsoft Spreads Message of Harmony and Peace Outside an Apple Store

Microsoft has posted a new ad to its YouTube Channel in which Microsoft Employees and a New York City children’s youth choir sing a song outside of Apple’s most iconic Apple Store. Check out the video below…

 

A special thanks to the voices of our Microsoft Store employees and a local NYC children’s youth choir. To celebrate the holidays, Microsoft employees, who were selected from across the country, gathered together, meeting each other for the first time, at the new Microsoft 5th Ave Store to spread some holiday wishes. Joined by a local NYC children’s youth choir, they share a message of peace and harmony with their neighbor down the street.

Source: Microsoft (YouTube)