Saturday, December 31, 2011
For the last day of the year, nothing like going back for a quick review of the best games of 2011. A short video that is sure to bring back memories of all the good time you've spent playing these games - some of which you'll probably still be playing today; others are the ones you should play as soon as possible... or most likely, whenever its price drops to more reasonable levels. :)
Friday, December 30, 2011
Looks like security (or lack of it) is the buzzword for 2011's last days. After learning that most internet servers out there are vulnerable to attack, we also find that even WPA WiFi networks can be cracked in 10 hours or less.
Most people should know by now that using WEP to protect their WiFi networks is almost the same has having it open - with lots of programs out there that can crack it in just a few minutes. And as such, WPA/WPA2 has been promoted to the "de facto" standard protection method every WiFi network should use.
But, the thing is... even your WPA WiFi network can be crack in less than 10h - if you're using WPS!
The key here is WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) itself. The system that tries to make it simple for any person to setup a protected WiFi network, but that - in this case - serves the exact opposite purpose.
The most basic method of WPS allows you to configure your WiFi devices using a simple PIN... and it's that same PIN that is vulnerable to brute force attacks that hackers can then use to find out your WPA passwords.
Something to keep in mind if you're really serious about your WiFi network security.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
It maus just have reached 62 million users, but one year from now some claim Google+ will have reached 6400 million users. Even if that's so, we'll still need to know just how many of those millions are indeed active users that frequently use the service (what's the point in claiming to have "1 billion" users, and then have just a few hundreds actively using it?) But in any case, it's a good sign for Google+ adoption.
I still stand by my initial thoughts, that the really big plus of Google "Plus" (pun intended) are the video hangouts! I'm still waiting for it to arrive to mobiles (we can now joing hangouts from mobiles, but not initiate them... yet). And from that point on, I can really imagine Google+ use to enter overdrive mode.
And thankfully, it seems Google has reached the same conclusion, as they've just launched three new hangout ad videos, from which I choose the muppets one to share with you! :)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
For jailbreakers out there, the moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived: the untethered jailbreak for iOS 5.0.1 is finally here.
However, keep in mind that this jailbreak applies only to A4 devices... leaving the newer A5 dual-core iPhone 4S and iPad 2 out of the loop (for now).
For all those with the tethered jailbreak, you need only donwload a package called "Corona" and be doen with it. If you have to do it from scratch, just follow the steps to break free of Apple restrictions and limitations.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Are you a proud owner of a Nikon D5100? Do you want to stand out from all your friends with similar cameras? Are you a fan of Star Wars?
If you answered yes to all of the above you're in luck. There's a new Star Wars firmware (non-official of course) for your camera, and it basically only changes some of the labels in the menus for their Star Wars counterparts, as:
- Holocron - Playback menu
- Weapon System - Shooting menu
- Super Stardestroyer - Custom Setting menu
- Hyperdrive - Setup Menu
- Go to Dagobah Luke - Format Memory Card
- Death Star Codes - Firmware Version
- A Jedi? - Update? (new update screen)
- (help: StarWars v1.01)
- The Cantina - Retouch Menu
- My Menu - unchanged
- Dark side of force! - Subject is too dark
- Light side of force! - Subject is too light
As always, although it's reasonable safe to reflash your camera (you can always reflash it with the original firmware whenever you want) it's still something that should come with the following disclaimer: be sure to know what you're doing and, as always, things can always go wrong and leave you with a bricked camera!
Monday, December 26, 2011
If you've been around for a while, you'll know that I'm a very big fan of Swype ever since it first showed up, nearly 5 years ago (and more recently, of TouchPal as well). If you don't know what Swype is, it's that amazing touchscreen keyboard where you can simply "draw" the word you wish, swiping your finger across the letters, and the words pop up as if by magic.
Now, Swype is going a step further, and adds voice recognition with Dragon Dication!
For now, it's limited to just a few languages, (the usual: english, french, german, italian, spanish) but Swype promises many more will be added in 2012 - which considering the number of languages Dragon Dictation supports, shouldn't be that hard to do.
Other than that, this new beta version also adds a improved language modeling algorithm, designed to increase the accuracy of its suggestions (and that learns over time), and also download any of the 50+ additional languages it supports directly from Swype's Settings window.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
We've seen Siri jumping out into the real world before, by setting thermostat temperatures at home, and more... But none can get close to having Siri play a real piano, as we're about to see.
Craig Knudsen is the inventor of the amazing SmartKEY for Yamaha's Disklavier pianos... the ones that can play all by themselves, moving the keys and pedals up and down, just like if it were being played by an invisible pianist.
The system sends a audio file (with embedded MIDI data) via WiFi to an Apple Airport Express mounted underneath the piano, and connected to the analog MIDI inputs of the diskclavier via a standard audio cable.
The result, as you're about to see... is pure magic. And as Christmas is coming... it reminds me that I still have a grand piano MIDI keyboard in my wishlist... for ages!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Apple continues to promote Siri as a real lifesaver for the daily life... and it looks like Siri's abilities can impress even the most occupied person in the entire world on Christmas eve: Santa Claus himself!
A great video ad from Apple that shows that there's still magic in the air... :)
Friday, December 23, 2011
Dropbox is one of those services that can be a real life saver for lots of people in lots of different cases. If you're not using it you won't know what you're missing - it really is that good, and can be put to good use in a number of different ways, either for personal use or for sharing stuff among friends and/or family.
And now, Android mobile users can use it even better thanks to the new and improved Dropbox App for Android:
- Favorites: Want to make sure a file is always on your phone? Star it for quick offline access.
- Bulk upload: No need to upload files one at a time. Select multiple photos and videos to be uploaded in the background.
- File renaming: Simple as it sounds – files and folders can now be renamed.
- Ice Cream Sandwich support: Optimized for the newest and tastiest Android release yet: Ice Cream Sandwich.
- Single-tap access to actions: All file and folder actions are available from a single tap.
- Lots of others: Improved gallery view, export to (and upload from) local storage, as well as numerous bug fixes and stability improvements
[Dropbox App in the Android Market]
Thursday, December 22, 2011
If you thought the fight for the highest megapixel claim was restricted to compact cameras, you better see what's Sony Ericsson is readying for this new and upcoming Xperia Android smartphone. A device that is sure to make SE fans drool over...
This SE Xperia LT28at will please both power users as well as anyone looking for a smartphone capable os replacing their point and shoot camera. If current high-end devices like the iPhone 4S alreay shoot amazing photos with its 8MP camera, this new Xperia goes one step futher, by offering a 13MP camera.
Even its front facing camera will be capable of recording 720p video (HD videochat will soon become the norm, it seems) as well as a dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU, a 720p 4.55" Reality Display screen, worldwide 4G support (LTE, HSPA, TD-SCDMA) as well as dual band WiFi N (2.4 e 5Ghz).
This new Xperia might be revealed in the upcoming CES 2012... and it looks like a very good for Sony Ericsson to start a new year!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
You've all heard how Android is infinitely customizable, maybe even too much so. But the truth is... although no one is forced to use anything but the provided Apps, there is indeed a huge secret laying beneath it all. If you're tired of how your Android looks, you can simply change its launcher App.
Tha Launcher is the program responsible for creating your Android's interface, similar to what Explorer does on Windows computers, and no one forces you to use the one your operator or equipment manufacturer provided you.
Indeed, in low-spec devices, you're often better off if you choose to use a more efficient and lightweight launcher such as this LauncherPro I bring you today
Although this LauncherPro aims to provide the fastest Interface even in low-spec devices, you still get things like:
- Animated screen previews (like Exposé or HTC Sense)
- Up to 7 home screens
- App drawer (2D and 3D!) with a fly-in effect and smooth scrolling
- And a scrollable shortcut dock
Some people suggested me the also popular Zeam Launcher, but I haven't found any reason to do so... as LauncherPro works just as fast on my Sapo A5 (ZTE Blade) Android.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Most people still look surprised when they see a Segway zooming along... But imagine just how more amazed they would be if they saw one of these robotized unicycles from Honda, the Uni-Cub.
While it is strange to see a vehicle like the Segway keeping balance with just two wheels, things get even more interesting when you use just one.
(ok, truth be told, there's still a small auxiliary wheel to keep this Uni-Cub in balance... but the end result is still quite amazing).
Though I'm sure this would be a fun way to move around in a futuristic city, where each vehicle wouldn't take any more space than a single person; I suspect we're still a long way from that. So, if they can bring down the costs to make it accessible for anyone suffering from reduced mobility at home... that wouldn't be so bad for now.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Tired of having your home filled with messy cables hanging around everywhere? Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply recharge your mobile devices by simply putting them to rest in a small tidy box?
Well... hoe about you enter in 2012 with that in mind and get rid of cables once and for all? Or at least, hide it away from sight... as wireless electricity transfer seems to be forever delayed.
This The Sanctuary by BlueLounge does exactly that. It's a small box (black, white or wood) that comes with lots of different power adaptors for hundreds of different devices - from iPhone, iPod, USB devices to lots others with "custom" plugs - and it will make your forget all those cables and wires you had before.
The price is a bit steep (around 125€) and reminds us that you could achieve the same effect with any "old box" you may have around, or even buy a cheap one for this effect... if you're into the DIY stuff.
If not, this might just be the perfect Christmas/Anniversary gift you were looking for.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
We don't have much snow around here (Portugal) - unless you head to our highest mountain - but that doesn't stop us from experiencing virtual snow thanks to Google. All you have to do is to search for "Let it snow" to see snow flakes frosting up your computer screen - and allowing you to "rub your finger" to clean it up... something that will be better enjoyed on a touchscreen device, for sure.
A nice "easter egg" for Christmas from Google! :)
Friday, December 16, 2011
After nearly a month of suffering with Invalid SIM problems and lost network connection on my iPhone 4S, Apple has finally revealed a fix.
There's a new iOS 5.0.1 (9A406) - don't know why Apple chose not to change the version number to make it simpler for everyone to get it fixed once and for all - and the procedure to fix the iPhone 4S Invalid Sim problem is described in TS4148.
In certain situations, iPhone 4S may have difficulty recognizing a micro-SIM card, resulting in the following behaviors:
- "Invalid SIM" or "No SIM Card installed" alert appears intermittently.
- Status bar displays "No Service" or "Searching" in a location with good network coverage.
- iPhone 4S
If you encounter any of the above symptoms on your iPhone 4S, follow the steps below.
Note: These steps are necessary only if you are experiencing these symptoms on an iPhone 4S.
- Back up your user content and settings using iTunes or iCloud.
- Restore your iPhone 4S using iTunes.
After the process is complete, restore your user content and settings from your backup.
To confirm that you've successfully restored, verify that the version is now iOS 5.0.1 (9A406) in Settings > General > About.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Transparente LCDs are nothing new. We've been seeing them for a while in shows... But now, we have a transparent LCD with a twist, and it comes from Portugal.
Sendae is a new company that comes to market offering mirrored transparent LCDs and hopes it will be enough to make companies willing to leave an impression in their customers to jump into these seemingly magical displays.
While off, it acts like a regular mirror - and although it can also show images in this mode, it truly comes to life when it becomes transparent with overlaying images and text.
It can even have a camera than can track visitors, and add a whole new layer of interactivity, with software developed by a portuguese University.
There are two models to start with: 22" and 46". The first costs under 1000 euros, the larger costs a bit over 2000 euros.
See it in action, just below.
Transparent Mirror LCD from Sendae Systems on Vimeo.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Google's first reaction to Apple's Siri was - as expected by any company not having a direct competitor to that product - to downplay it and say people weren't interested in talking to a virtual assistant. But, it wouldn't take a genius to imagine Google engineers inside their secret Google X Labs going into overdrive to bring something similar, or even better, to market as soon as possible.
And that may very well happen sooner rather than later.
Project codename: Majel.
Mission: to go where no man has gone before...
Star Trek fans will immediately recognize the reference to Gene Rodenberry's wife, Majel - which gave voice to Star Trek's famous computer.
Unlike a virtual assistant, Google's approach is not to make it sound personal, the voice being just another way for humans to interact with machines.
Well... as long as they can give it a sense of humor when someone asks their Android to beam them up, or actually implement a "Kitt, come and get me!" function for their driverless cars, I'm in! ;)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
We all know that there's a secret world going on, invisible to us, on each and every second of our lives. Secrets that can only bee seen through the eyes of eye speed cameras, that reveal that even the most simple things are often more amazing than we could have anticipated.
But, what if we could crank the dial on high speed cameras all the way to... one trillion frames per second?
That's exactly what researchers at MIT have done and their trillion images per second camera is fast enough to stop light itself!
Although this isn't the kind of camera you can expect to replace your digital SLR (it takes over an hour to process the capture of the single nanosecond it takes for light to travel through a bottle) it's still a feat one should be proud of.
Monday, December 12, 2011
The short answer is: yes, definitely. But although there isn't any secret other than pure mechanics to make it work, that doesn't mean it isn't quite mesmerizing and amazing to be seen.
As if complex differential gears weren't enough to make you realize the magic hidden behind each and every apparently "simple" car these days, where's a 3D printed cube gear in action:
Saturday, December 10, 2011
There have been a lot of funny videos related to Siri lately, but whether you like Robin Williams impersionations or not (who doesn't? ;) you can't miss him impersonating Apple's latest digital assistant: Siri.
Maybe Nuance or Apple will hire him for Siri 2.0?
And if things start to get crazy... even Siri might want to bail out on you:
Friday, December 9, 2011
Considering smileys and emojis keep being one of the most popular posts ever, nothing like getting back to basics and show you all the available emoji/smiley characters available in the iPhone/iOS platform.
Now, you don't even need to resort to tricks to enable this emoji keyboard on your iPhone, it's publicly available in the international keyboard section.
Apple did try to include these in the unicode character map so they could become "standard", but seems like they haven't gone for it. Anyway, here they are in their full glory:
Emotions and People
... and if you still can't get it, or why should people use it... there are people out there telling all kinds of stories using just a few of them. Can you imagine telling a movie story in under a dozen characters? :)