Google's Pwnium challenge followed a familiar pattern in its first two years, with white hat hackers invariably finding a Chrome vulnerability and prompting a round of patches that ultimately made the software stronger. For the Chrome OS-focused Pwnium 3, there's been a slight hiccup: there were no hacks to patch. Despite Google offering a total of $3.14159 million in bounties, entrants couldn't demonstrate a working exploit on the Series 5 550 target machine. That may be a testament to Google's steady security improvements, but it doesn't help discover what holes are left. We'd add that few were left unscathed at the Pwn2Own competition running in tandem -- the regular Chrome browser, Firefox and Internet Explorer all came tumbling down, and Safari may have escaped only because contestants didn't register in advance. Even so, the Chrome OS results may have Chromebook Pixel owners feeling better about their purchases.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
DIYRockets believes that our chances of advancing space exploration improve when everyone can lend a hand. The company is putting its money where its mouth is by launching a competition to develop 3D-printed rocket motors using Sunglass' cloud design platform. Teams who sign up have to build an engine that could boost a nanosatellite-level payload into low Earth orbit using 3D-printed steel and other safe materials. The only major stipulations are that creators present a good business case and open-source their creations to help out other builders. DIYRockets' prize strategy reflects its for-the-greater-good ambitions: there's a $5,000 award for the best motor, but there are separate $2,500 prizes for both a student creation and the design that contributes the most to the industry. Registration officially starts on March 9th, and runs until April 6th, with the finished models due on June 1st. We'll be closer to a crowdsourced vision of space when the winners are revealed by July 1st.
Posted by Augustine at 5:24 AM
Friday, March 08, 2013
Google's Fiber efforts may not be that widespread yet, but it's obvious the search giant is doing all it can to improve the service for those who are lucky enough to have it. With that in mind, Google announced it's now brought an initial batch -- albeit a minor one -- of 3D channels to its growing Fiber TV lineup, giving "Gigabit + TV" subscribers (who own a three-dee-ready TV, of course) access to 3net at no extra cost and to ESPN3D for an additional $5 per month. While the inclusion of 3net and ESPN3D might seem like a pretty minor one on paper, it's without a doubt a step in the right direction for Fiber TV -- and, as the company puts it, this shows how the company is "committed to making these qualities that you've come to expect from Google Fiber TV better and better."
Posted by Augustine at 6:11 PM
Indoor navigation isn't a new concept, but it often requires wireless signals or custom infrastructure, neither of which are entirely reliable. Cambridge Consultants has come up with an as-yet-unnamed technology that purports to solve the issue by utilizing low-power sensors along with a custom formula that don't require an existing framework. According to the Cambridge, UK-based company, all you need are its special Bayesian algorithm and run-of-the-mill smartphone components like accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers to do the job. It has already built a concept chipset (seen above) that could be embedded in existing devices -- you can either map your location directly on it or send that info off to a remote system. The firm says the technology will be useful for firefighters and hospital workers, though we wouldn't complain if it's implemented in trade shows either. For more information on the tech, check the press release after the break.
Source: Cambridge Consultants
Posted by Augustine at 7:15 AM
Thursday, March 07, 2013
As housing supply continues to stay tight and home sales pick up, prices continue to rise.
There were 2.1 million homes on the market for sale in January, down 24 percent from a year ago. And though new and existing homes entering the market are up, the sales pace increased as well.
In a new report, Paul Diggle from Capital Economics writes that "ultra-low mortgage interest rates and steady, if not spectacular, job creation mean that the delinquency rate and foreclosure start rate are falling quickly."
He says this is causing the composition of inventory to shift, and points out that more homes are coming into the market as pre-foreclosure (short) sales.
This has caused the discount on foreclosed homes versus other homes to decline to an average of 12 percent, a level last seen before the housing crash. Last year the discount was a much deeper 30 percent.
Posted by Augustine at 7:54 PM
Attach Gmail Messages to Google Calendar
Posted by Augustine at 4:53 PM
You can add a "Split" to any of your groups, similar to the way you'd add a location or a photo. Add the total price, and anyone with a credit card can chip in. They just click the "chip in" button and their card number. Price is divided equally, and the more people that join, the more the price drops. Which, duh. Once you're ready to cash in, just click collect and after entering in your bank account info, GroupMe says you'll see the funds within 24 hours.
There is a slight catch—starting March 11, split contributors will be charged 4 percent plus a dollar fee, for credit card processing and a "convenience charge" paid to GroupMe. That's a little annoying, but less so than hounding friends endlessly to pay you back for concert tickets you bought months ago. [iPhone, Android via GroupMe]
Posted by Augustine at 4:33 PM
It's been a while since we last heard of the ISERV Pathfinder, an imaging instrument that consists of a camera, telescope and pointing system that was sent up to the International Space Station last July. Now it appears it's safely installed inside the Destiny module on the ISS and has captured its first ever image, seen above, a few weeks ago on February 16th. The high-resolution picture is of the Rio San Pablo, an ecological transition zone that's marked as a protected area by the National Environment Authority of Panama. Captured at three to seven frames per second with about 100 images per pass, photos like these are designed to transmit details of natural disasters and environmental mishaps to developing nations.
Even though NASA Marshall in Huntsville, Alabama is at the helm, it's in cahoots with researchers in Central America, East Africa and the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region to carry out its goal. Of course, they're still in the starting stages at the moment -- a few outstanding issues include the amount of sunlight needed and if the geometry of the ISS window affects the image -- but NASA hopes to open up the ISERV to other scientists in a few months once it has all its kinks worked out. To check out the stunning "first light" picture above in its full resolution, head on over to the source below.
Source: NASA Earth Observatory
Posted by Augustine at 11:06 AM
The mobile version of Tango's video chat app has almost exclusively revolved around smartphones. It's at last going a little bigger: an update to Tango's iOS app is introducing full iPad support, expanding conversations to tablet size. Those who don't need quite that grand a canvas can still make the most of what they have through the new release. Calls now use the whole screen regardless of OS, and iPhone users can touch up any soon-to-be-shared photos in Aviary. The talkative among us just need to snag Tango's upgrade at the source link to eke a little more from their screens.
Posted by Augustine at 11:06 AM
Startup Matterport's just closed a round of investor funding to bring its 3D mapping camera and "interactive viewing platform" one step closer to commercial production. The company, founded in 2011 and backed by the likes of Qualcomm Ventures, aims to let consumers build virtual, cloud-based maps of their homes, offices or other sites of interest -- using a special camera rig -- for eventual viewing on laptops or tablets. It's an ambitious project that's managed to raise nearly $6 million in funding so far. But despite that investment, details on the specifics of the system, as well as a visual of the actual hardware used are scarce. So this could all very well smack of vaporware. For now, though, Matterport's site is selling the dream -- literally, as you can sign-up to pre-order now. So if you want to take a gander at what those 3D indoor maps may look like, hit up the source below.
Posted by Augustine at 11:05 AM
Just because the PlayStation 4 centers around an AMD-based platform doesn't mean that NVIDIA is out of the picture. The graphics firm is updating the software developer kits for both its Apex dynamics framework and PhysX physics modeling system to address Sony's new console, even if they won't have the full hardware acceleration that comes with using NVIDIA's own chipsets. The introductions will mostly take some of the guesswork out of creating realistic-looking games -- theoretically, adding a larger number of collisions, destructible objects and subtler elements like cloth and hair modeling. Most of us won't see the fruits of the updated SDKs until at least this holiday, but programmers looking for more plausible PS4 game worlds can hit the source links.
Posted by Augustine at 11:05 AM
Samsung must not be very attached to the NX1000: the mirrorless camera isn't even a year old, and its creator is already rushing to post details of the follow-up. Manuals for the NX1100 have surfaced on the company's site that confirm the camera's look while revealing details. And... it's no great shakes, at least from what Samsung has disclosed. There's still a 20.3-megapixel sensor, an ISO 12,800 sensitivity limit, a 3-inch LCD and 802.11n WiFi. Software also looks similar on the surface. As long as the manuals aren't just placeholders, then, the improvements are likely tougher to quantify. We just hope that official documentation means a short wait.
Via: Photo Rumors
Fotodiox has a new take on E-mount lens adapters that'll give you 140-megapixel images by performing an interesting trick: moving the camera. The rather spendy device uses an interchangeable lens mount that accepts either Pentax 645, Mamiya 645 or Hasselblad V medium format lenses, coupled with a moveable platform to mount your Sony NEX. When ready to fire, you check the built-in exposure screen to frame the shot and the system moves the NEX around to grab images at predetermined, "precisely-positioned" locations in the lens' field of view. After stitching it all together in Photoshop or similar software, the result is either a panorama or medium format photo (depending on camera orientation) -- 140-megapixels' worth in the case of a Sony NEX-7. Besides the $500 adapter, the aforementioned medium format lens and a tripod, you'll likely require a healthy dollop of patience to use it, too -- and forget about video, of course. Check the PR after the break for more.
Filed under: Cameras
Via: Sony Alpha Rumors
Nearly a year after LG first showed off the production design for its 55-inch OLED HDTV and just as it begins shipping in Korea and the US, the company has announced UK details for the set. The 55EM970V with its ultra-thin frame and high contrast screen is available for pre-order now at Harrods, Knightsbridge for about £9,999, with delivery expected in July. The only problem (other than scraping together the necessary cash) is deciding between this one and LG's other "world's first" HDTV, the 84-inch 4K model it's also currently shipping. Of course, waiting until 2014 (or beyond) for more supply and lower prices is also an option -- we're sure you will choose wisely.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Anyone who's ever had a nice brisk bike ride through a snowstorm is likely to cringe a bit at the above image. Though the gentlemen pictured is looking forward to the summer season for other reasons -- that's when the Recon heads-up display he's testing is set to get a bigger reveal. In the meantime, we're stuck staring at the above image of HUD-equipped sunglasses and wondering precisely what it all means -- aside, of course, for the company's move off the ski slopes.
Posted by Augustine at 4:37 PM
Nobody expects studio quality recording from a smartphone, but the technology in HTC's recently launched One at least allows distortion free audio to be nabbed in the quietest or loudest environments, according to the company's blog. Describing BoomSound tech, HTC says the system brings two dual-membrane MEMS microphones to the handset, one of which is focused on sensitivity and the other on high decibel sources. The two signals are then combined electronically, resulting in whisper-level tones that are free of hiss along with concert level blasting that won't clip or distort. By HTC's reckoning, that means the audio that goes along with those UltraPixels will be clear whether you're capturing a physics lecture or death metal concert.
Via: Android Central
Source: HTC Blog
Posted by Augustine at 11:16 AM
Hyperkin's fourth RetroN console wants to be the perfect way to enjoy gaming's past glories. Alongside the ability to play NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis titles, it's compatible with PAL and NTSC formats, with ports for your NES, SNES and Genesis controllers -- you still have those, right? If not, Hyperkin's own Bluetooth-connected controllers can fill in, while the console's UI will allow you to reassign buttons as needed. There's also HDMI output, so those 16-bit graphics will get the full glory of your HD plasma screen. Alas, following another notable games console, the company isn't showing off the device just yet. You're looking at its predecessor above, which should at least give your mind's eye something to work with until it's finally unfurled at Wisconsin's Midwest Gaming Classic on March 23rd.
Filed under: Gaming
Posted by Augustine at 11:16 AM
Museum owners, public officials and design studio heads are just the sort who would have an excuse to splash out on one of MyMultitouch's displays. The 84-inch PixelSense-esque table is designed to be used by up to 32 fingers at once, letting groups paw around interactive exhibits on a large scale. This one, in particular, comes with a 3,840 x 2,160 UHD display, infrared-based multitouch and a steel stand that lets you mount it at a wide variety of angles. Since it's driven by any PC with a 4K-outputting graphics card, you could even use it as your own desktop display, although you'd need to drop €33,000 ($43,100), plus whatever an 84-inch desk would set you back.
Filed under: Displays
Posted by Augustine at 11:15 AM
The social masses have spoken and Google's listened. Starting today, the search giant's beefing up Google+ profile pages with additional features based on overwhelming feedback to give users more editing control, a flashier presentation and a clearer social outpost. Now, individual profile "cover photos" will display at up to 2120px by 1192px and rollout into full widescreen (16:9) view when selected. The 'About' section is also seeing a minor revamp, getting a Now-like makeover that breaks down categorical user info into cards for easier modification. And to service the critic deep within us all, Google's adding in a 'Local review' tab alongside those for photos, videos and +1's so your network of friends can make trusted dinner reservations. These changes are set to take effect "gradually," so don't waste your time mashing that refresh button. Or do, if you're the impatient type.
Via: The Next Web
Source: Sara McKinley (Goo! gle+)
Posted by Augustine at 11:15 AM
Wireless uploads of big files take for-ev-er. But researchers at Georgia Tech University have plans for an antenna made of crazy thin graphene that would let you transfer a whole terabit of data in just one second.
Within a couple of feet, researchers could move a terabit per second, but in theory, from a closer range, you could move as much as 100 terabits a second. That's about 100 high-def movies in less time than it takes you make a cup of coffee. Graphene, you crazy.
Graphene could be shaped into narrow strips of between 10 and 100 nanometers wide and one micrometer long, allowing it to transmit and receive at the terahertz frequency, which roughly corresponds to those size scales. Electromagnetic waves in the terahertz frequency would then interact with plasmonic waves-oscillations of electrons at the surface of the graphene strip-to send and receive information.
Of course, this is just the preliminary groundwork on a piece of tech that doesn't exactly exist yet. Next the Georgia Tech group will have to figure out manufacturing, and how to make the necessary components—signal generators, amplifiers, and so forth—so the antennas will actually work. But the thought of lightning-fast wireless downloads is enough to be a little excited for the future. [MIT Technology Review]
Image by CORE-materials under Creative Commons license
Posted by Augustine at 4:48 AM
Everyone knew Ferrari was cooking up its first hybrid, and that it would be very quick when it was pegged as an Enzo successor. Still, we didn't quite expect the sledgehammer that is the LaFerrari. Never mind the very redundant naming scheme: there's a 789HP V12 mated with 160HP of electric power, the 949HP combination of which takes the supercar to 62MPH in less than 3 seconds and makes it the overall fastest Ferrari to date. There's a nod to eco-friendliness with relatively low emissions, but the hybrid component mostly powers a KERS system that fills out the few weak points in the torque band. You won't have the chance to buy the LaFerrari -- all 499 units of the €1 million ($1.3 million) flagship are spoken for -- but there's already talk of future hybrids that will run solely on electric power some or all of the time.
Don't be too forlorn if you have money to burn on a tech-centric Ferrari, though. The Maranello crew is also showing the very first results of its Apple collaboration through an upgraded FF. The four-seater GT now has Siri voice integration and ships with a pair of iPad minis to keep backseaters entertained when the 652HP V12 somehow isn't exciting enough. Ferrari hasn't! said ho w much the upgraded FF costs, although we imagine that the iOS-linked costs are drops in the bucket next to the vehicle itself. Chairman Luca di Montezemolo hints that it's just the start of the Apple relationship, too, as Ferrari will be "more precise" about the union in the months ahead.
Posted by Augustine at 4:43 AM
We've already seen Cupertino's 21.5-inch iMac up for sale on the company's refurb store, and now it looks like the smaller model of the new all-in-ones is ready to be taken at a cost tailored for educational institutions. Unlike with previous education-only deals, however, Apple's pricing its newly redesigned iMac starting at $1,099 instead of $999 -- and that includes Intel's 3.3GHz, dual-core i3 CPU alongside HD Graphics 4000, a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. While the aforementioned specs are different than the ones found in the pricier entry-level variant for every-day consumers, it's worth mentioning Apple does offer the ability to upgrade some of the iMac's internals, such as memory and built-in storage. Those with the proper credentials can start ordering now from Apple, with, as MacRumors points out, orders being expected to ship within 5-7 business days.
Posted by Augustine at 4:43 AM
As if Google didn't have enough on its plate, it seems the Mountain View company is adding yet another feather to its cap by entering the delivery business. As originally reported on TechCrunch and then confirmed by Reuters, the search giant is apparently working on a same-day delivery service that could pit it against the likes of Amazon Prime, eBay Now and local dispatchers like Postmates' GetItNow. Known to both outlets as Google Shopping Express, it would bring purchased goods from local retailers directly to your door via third-party couriers. According to TechCrunch, Google plans to charge around $64 or $69 a year for the service, while a Reuters source said a small fee per purchase might also be a possibility. Reuters even said Google has already started testing the service in the Bay Area in "recent weeks."
When asked to comment on the story, a Google spokesperson said to us in an email:
We are always working to build a delightful shopping experience for users, in close partnership with retailers, and to empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively. We will continue to work toward providing technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem but have nothing to announce at this time.
Though they're clearly keeping mum on the subject, it does seem a delivery service would be in line with Google's recent moves in th! e commer ce space, such as the acquisition of locker startup Bufferbox and e-commerce firm Channel Intelligence. That said, we can't be sure exactly when or how Shopping Express will be implemented; too bad the company's Transparency Report doesn't actually reveal the inside workings of Sergey Brin's mind.
Filed under: Google
News Corp rebranded its educational unit as Amplify in July. Since then the Joel Klein-headed company has been working with AT&T to develop a tablet expressly designed for the K-12 educational market. After months of testing the Amplify Tablet, an unspecified 10-inch Android slate loaded with custom software, is ready for its official debut. Lots of things have changed since we first caught a glimpse of the project many months ago. For one, the UI has been completely redesigned to be clean, modern and simple. The new look is much more inline with Google's Holo, with extensive use of action overflow buttons, the sharing menu and solid blocks of color-coded material. The default home page offers a grid of app icons, but it also displays student information and lists "notebooks" on the right hands side. Those notebooks deliver quick access to different subjects for students, but they also give teachers direct links to materials for their classes, categorized not just by subject, but also by period. Klein and company don't stop at simple organizational tools and reference materials, however.
Gallery: Amplify Tablet
Ultrapixels, styli and Retina displays -- enough. Willcom's Phone Strap 2 has arrived and it weighs 32 grams. Does it look familiar? It should, as it's the spitting image of its predecessor, the WX03A. With the same 32mm x 70mm footprint (though it's 1mm thicker), it's a pretty absurd proposition but then perhaps that's the point. The upgraded model can now handle email (oh yes!) on its one-inch display and ten-key keyboard, as well as calls and text messages. However, a tiny phone means a tiny battery and the Phone Strap 2 has just enough power to last around two hours of voice calls. If you're looking for a music player, Bluetooth and other phone staples, we're afraid you're going to have to shop around for a bigger model. The phone launches in Japan on March 21st, but you'll have to sign up for a standalone contract to (slightly oafishly) pick one up.
Via: New Launches
Source: Willcom (Japanese)
Japan's Sharp has been struggling very publicly for some time now, and many reports indicate it's been looking outward for interested investors. While it already secured just such an arrangement with Qualcomm in December, rumors indicate attempts to reach a deal with Foxconn are in trouble and now Samsung is tabbed as a potential investor. Reuters and Japan's Nikkei cite sources indicating an official announcement could come sometime today regarding a 10 billion yen ($110 million) investment that would net the Korean electronics giant a three percent piece of Sharp. This deal would be mutually beneficial as Sharp gains a place to sell more of the LCDs it's capable of manufacturing, and Samsung cheaply expands its supply of panels, with a possibility of expanding their arrangement beyond LCDs in the future. We'll wait and see exactly what happens, but those IGZO screens Sharp is working on could be popping up in some unexpected places by the time it's all said and done.
Update: Sharp has just confirmed that Samsung is now indeed a 3.08 percent owner thanks to an investment of 10.4 billion yen ($112 million). It said the deal would "further strengthen the alliance (with Samsung Electronics) and continuously provide a long-term, stable and timely output of LCD panels for large-size TVs and small- and medium-size LCD panels for mobile devices such as! noteboo k computers." For more info, see the PR after the break.
Posted by Augustine at 4:38 AM
Ready to take the plunge on a new all-in-one, but not super pumped about tackling Windows 8? You're probably not alone, and it looks like HP's got a solution. The company's entry-level Pavilion 20-b101ea AIO desktop now ships with Ubuntu pre-installed, so if you've been considering a jump to Linux but wanted to avoid dealing with a system refresh, this might be just the opportunity you're after. The alternative rig is shipping to UK customers for £349 including VAT, which roughly works out to $530, for blokes across the pond. Interestingly, the Ubuntu machine has yet to appear in HP's US store, where you're only able to snag the Windows 8 configuration, with pricing starting at $450. Those of you with a mailing address in the United Kingdom are in luck, however -- hit up our source link to snag your very own Ubuntu-equipped all-in-one.
Via: Ubuntu (Google+)
Source: HP Store (UK)
Posted by Augustine at 4:38 AM
Roku announced today its third-generation set-top box, the Roku 3.
Not much has changed with the Roku on the outside, but it does have a faster processor and more memory on the inside, so users will notice snappier performance when switching between apps and games. It still looks very similar to the Apple TV, a squarish black box that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Roku also updated its remote control to include motion gestures for gaming and other tasks, sort of like the motion control on the Nintendo Wii controller. There's also a headphone jack on the remote so you can listen to a show without disturbing others in the room. That feature automatically switches on when you plug in a pair of standard headphones.
But most importantly, Roku completely redesigned its interface to make it easier to find the content you want to watch.
We got to test out the new Roku interface at a demo with a few members of the development team last week, and it's a huge improvement over the last version. Everything flows naturally to the right using the directional buttons on the remote, so it's easy to jump in and out of apps or games.
The search feature is also very impressive, letting you search by show or movie title, actor, director, etc. for the stuff you want to watch. Roku's search pulls in data from all sources -- Netflix, HBO, Vudu, Hulu Plus, etc. -- and lets you choose what service you want to use to watch a show or movie.
Roku has been around for several years, and it makes a strong alternative to the Apple TV.
Unlike the Apple TV, Roku lets developers write apps for the set-top box, so you'll find several hundred streaming services and games. That includes the most popular services like Pandora, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO GO. There are more than 750 apps to choose from, much more than the handful you'll find on Apple TV.
On the flipside, Roku doesn't work as well with mobile devices as the Apple TV does. You can't wirelessly beam content from your smartphone or tablet to your Roku like you can with Apple TV.
The new Roku 3 will cost $99.99 and begins shipping in April. If you own a second-generation Roku, you'll get the new interface in a software update in the coming weeks.
We'll have a review of the Roku 3 in a few days, so stay tuned.
Posted by Augustine at 4:25 AM
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
The large-phone craze is rocking the world like a hurricane, and LG is no stranger to this trend: within the last year, the Korean manufacturer has launched two big-screened smartphones as Optimus Vus (three if you count the LG Intuition on Verizon) to mediocre fanfare worldwide. Given the growing competition in the category -- most notably from its rival Samsung with the Galaxy Note series -- it was inevitable that a stronger campaign, as well as a leader to drive it, was necessary.
This is where the LG Optimus G Pro comes in, taking advantage of a 5.5-inch, 1080p True HD-IPS + LCD panel while pulling in several design and feature cues from its smaller (yet elder) siblings, the Optimus G and Nexus 4. As if the display wasn't enough, LG tops it off with one of the world's first Snapdragon 600 quad-core processors, 2GB RAM and a 13MP rear camera with all the trimmings. It may not be LG's current flagship, per se, but the laundry list of features indicates to us that it's sure acting the part, at the very least. Should its reputation be as large as its screen, or is the Optimus G Pro using that extra size to compensate for something? Follow along as we explore the inner and outer beauty of LG's large-on-life smartphone.
Posted by Augustine at 2:27 PM