Walyou » Technology http://walyou.com Cool Gadgets, New Gadgets, Tech News and Geek Design Thu, 28 May 2015 18:03:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Samsung patents a laptop with a phablet dock http://walyou.com/samsung-patents-a-laptop-with-a-phablet-dock/ http://walyou.com/samsung-patents-a-laptop-with-a-phablet-dock/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 18:03:05 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216573

Samsung have just patented a laptop model that has an integrated dock to plug in a phablet. It’s easy: the phablet will be the heart that powers and gives life to this computer.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has revealed a project by Korean giant Samsung that will attempt to refloat an idea Motorola had a while ago, with their Atrix line. Samsung intend to create a laptop that will use a phablet dock which will, in turn, act as the heart and core of this computer. And here’s the most interesting bit: Samsung devices all run on Android OS, but this laptop would be running the computer’s own version of Windows instead.

The patent does not clarify whether this laptop will be functional at all by using just the tablet, if it will posess an additional battery or just drain from the tablet itself, and leaves us with more questions than answers: could this merely be a keyboard and screen to attach to our Galaxy phablets, or something entirely different and more interesting?

The Korean giant has not made any comments on this topic, regardless of this information being revealed. We do not know for certain when will there be official information, product specs, or even a code name for this project. What is certain, though, is that Samsung seem to want to dip their toes on an segment of the market that has been rather neglected as of late, and hope to design a product that, if done well, has a lot potential.

Motorola abandoned the idea after the release of the Atrix 2, a device that was perfectly functional and good enough, but failed to catch the interest of the masses. Now, Samsung attempt to take this segment and replace smartphones with phablets instead – will this make a difference?

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Spotify adds podcasts and videos to their service http://walyou.com/spotify-podcasts-videos/ http://walyou.com/spotify-podcasts-videos/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 19:49:52 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216535

Streaming giant Spotify has confirmed they will be adding videos and other content in order to remain competitive and offer more media to their users.  This measure comes at just the right time to give a fair fight to Apple’s imminent rival platform, formerly known as Beats.

One of the big pushes Spotify are doing come in the form of agreements with major media outlets such as NBC, ABC, MTV, TED, CBS Radio and BBC amongst many others, and according to their CEO Daniel Ek, this will only increase in time.

The announcement was made in New York City, where they also discussed the redesign of their mobile platform, where users will now be able to jump from a playlist to the other, and pick the right one for the moment of the day or age of the user.

“From the moment you wake up until you go out at night , the new homepage offers just the right music. Do you need a playlist for Monday morning? Done.  The right melodies to concentrate after eating? Covered. And because Spotify can recognize what you like or don’t, you will be sure to hear just the right music, chosen by our internal experts or straight from your personal collection, whatever the moment may be. The recommendations will adapt in time to your taste and mood”, said Ek.

Besides, the mode for runners (aptly called “Running”) will offer music not only based on the users’ likes, but also their rhythm, by using the smartphones’ sensors. As of now, this only works on iPhone devices, but in time…

These new features are already working in select countries, but the next few days should see them going live for all users in the rest of the world.

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Apple Will Employ Robots to Map Building Interiors http://walyou.com/apple-indoor-maps-robot-mapmakers/ http://walyou.com/apple-indoor-maps-robot-mapmakers/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 13:30:33 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216520

Cupertino has found another way to compete against Google, and this time it’s the search giant’s Indoor Maps it’s going after. Apple Maps are said to include this feature as early as next month.

Rumors regarding Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 have started piling up a few months ago, and at that time, it seemed that the main focus will be on making the mobile operating system more stable and better optimized, instead of just adding countless features to it. More recently, reports regarding Apple Maps suggest that the company took an interest in mapping subway, train, and bus routes, as well as building interiors.

To make indoor maps, Apple won’t rely on 3D mapping smartphones such as Google’s Project Tango. Instead, it will use robot mapmakers whose moving patterns won’t differ that much from Roomba’s (pictured above in a timelapse photo). More than that, Apple’s robots will also be similar in size to the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. In terms of connectivity, however, there will be substantial differences, as the Cupertino company will equip its mapmakers with Bluetooth and one of its own technologies, iBeacon.

Of course, the first buildings to be mapped will include shopping malls, airports, and museums (in other words, buildings visited by millions of people a year), but I would suggest going even further, to map hospitals and universities. It became virtually impossible to get lost in the outdoors as long as you have a smartphone or a tablet, and an Internet connection, but somehow building interiors still represent a challenge that we will soon be able to overcome.

It took Apple two years since purchasing WiFiSlam (the startup that invented a technology that relies on ambient Wi-Fi signals to pinpoint your location) to come up with something in this field, but it is yet uncertain if the robot mapmakers will use the same technology. One can’t help but wonder if the indoor maps made by Apple will be any good. The competition is known to make far more accurate maps when it comes to the outdoors, so Cupertino actually has the chance to turn the tide. Not so long ago, Apple Maps was suggesting routes so illogical they could kill a Vulcan, whereas Google Maps have been showing people the right path (does this sound religious or what?!) for quite a few years now.

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Android for IoT Might Be Launched at Google I/O http://walyou.com/google-android-for-iot-brillo/ http://walyou.com/google-android-for-iot-brillo/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:54:44 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216492

If smartphones and wearables got their own versions of Android, then why shouldn’t there be one for the Internet of Things, too? Rumor has it that Google might launch one as early as next week, at their I/O Conference.

When Google purchased Nest Labs, the makers of a learning thermostat, back in January 2014, it became quite obvious that Mountain View means to get involved in the IoT industry (just in case the whole Android @Home project didn’t make that clear already). While the company hasn’t made any official announcements regarding the launch of a software for connected devices, word got out that a new OS, designed specifically for low-power devices, is in the works. Brillo (endearment for brilliant?), as the software is called internally, could work with devices with as little memory as 32MB or 64MB of RAM. I doubt that a fridge (don’t worry, we’ll have smart refrigerators soon enough) requires more than that!

It’s also unclear whether Google will keep this moniker or launch the new software under an Android name. The latter option might actually boost people’s confidence in the new product, as most of them already know how versatile Android is.

There’s also a chance Mountain View might launch the IoT OS as a barebone software, hoping that manufacturers of connected devices (didn’t think that Google would keep this all to itself, now did you?) would pick up the framework and develop on it. After all, a little spark may be everything the IoT industry needs to really go mainstream.

In my humble opinion, the Internet of Things represents a new battlefield for the big names of the tech industry. We may not know exactly when Google will launch Brillo (even though the chances of it being unveiled at the I/O conference are pretty great), but it’s clear that the search giant is working on a software for IoT. Huawei has also announced an operating system developed specifically for the Internet of Things, and I’m willing to bet that Microsoft won’t sit and watch. Personally, I’m more interested to see what Xiaomi has in store for us in this department. This Chinese company could overturn the current situation, especially if it gets to sell its connected devices outside of China.

Until then, we’ll have to wait and see if Google will really launch Brillo at their upcoming conference.

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Spotify comes forth: their free tier is here to stay http://walyou.com/spotify-comes-forth-their-free-tier-is-here-to-stay/ http://walyou.com/spotify-comes-forth-their-free-tier-is-here-to-stay/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 18:15:03 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216489

Spotify finally respond to the rumors and fan concerns about the removal of their free tier: it’s just not gonna happen. The company also mentioned that their freemium service is quite profitable.

Spotify finally spoke: “the rumors are all completely false, and our freemium model is working well”, they said in an interview with CNET, responding to the rumor that the company would stop their freemium offerings in order to focus on the paid version only instead.

The Digital Music News web had launched this rumor, which many related webs around the web replicated: they claimed Spotify would eliminate their free tier changing it for a temporary 3 month subscription, and then force users to hire their paid service in order to continue using the service.

The streaming service will continue to offer both version (freemium and paid) despite Apple’s pressure on big record companies to eliminate free streaming services, setting the framework so Apple Music (formerly Beats) can function. We only can hope Apple desist, and they give each other a hard but fair competition.

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What is Google Chrome Helper on Mac, and what does it do? http://walyou.com/what-is-google-chrome-helper-on-mac-and-what-does-it-do/ http://walyou.com/what-is-google-chrome-helper-on-mac-and-what-does-it-do/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 18:41:05 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216480

A number of users have been complaining in different web outlets about Google Chrome Helper, a tool by the Google team for Mac users.Common reports include freezes, slowdown, and several other issues across the board, yet few know how to remove it in case it becomes more of an issue that users feel like dealing with.

Users attempting to get an answer from the Chrome Help Center will hit a brick wall, as they don’t explain how to remove the program. Neither do the Chrome FAQs, so there isn’t a lot of official information to operate with. So, what is “Google Chrome Helper” (GCH), and how does it help anything?

The first answer is that GCH is not really a problem – generally, it will only activate when there is an extension causing trouble, or Chrome plug-ins aren’t set to execute as default. Regardless, the majority of the Chrome help centers mention problems when working with Flash content for the most part.

“Google Chrome Helper” is the generic name of the integrated content being executed outside of the navigator. It’s the interface in between the navigator’s insertion code, and a remote server, and is configured to execute automatically on Chrome’s default configuration. In many cases, these plug ins and processes are not being listed because their APIs do not allow it – basically, the GCH is a martyr.

Deactivating it is pretty easy, and does not mean the user needs to stop using the other plug-ins. The difference is that they will need to be picked one by one, instead of being executed automatically. This deactivation is not very intuitive, but it can be done from the configuration menu.

First, all tabs need to be closed, but without closing Chrome itself. Then, users can head to “configuration”, and choose to display advanced preferences, and then privacy. It’s in there that users will see content configuration, and  complements. There, users can choose to manage plugins individually, and just pick which ones they want to execute.

Afterwards, everything will work the same as in emails when they are configured to display images after clicking on them: users will have to click on the content that hasn’t loaded yet so it can reproduce, play, or load.

A big advantage of disabling the Google Chrome Helper is that it should avoid Flash ads from playing automatically, which would make sure users didn’t need an ad-blocker.

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FOVE VR Headset Tracks Eyes for On-the-Go Targeting http://walyou.com/fove-eye-tracking-vr-headset/ http://walyou.com/fove-eye-tracking-vr-headset/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:13:41 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216475

Now that the news is out that Oculus Rift will finally be available in a consumer version, other companies are looking to steal the spotlight by launching VR headsets with new functions.

Such is the case with FOVE, a San Francisco-based startup that is trying to revolutionize VR technology by integrating eye tracking features into the headset it has developed. That might not sound like much, but detecting subtle eye movements could improve control in video games tremendously. Not only that, but this technology could improve the way we interact with virtual characters in games.

Here’s how the company described its VR headset:

“FOVE’s revolutionary technology reads subtle eye movements, translating them into emotionally powerful experiences. FOVE gives you more control than ever before in the virtual world and beyond.

FOVE tracks a user’s gaze and calculates where in 3D space a user is looking. This enables the graphics engine to adjust focus and allocate rendering resources accordingly.”

The makers of FOVE concentrated their attention on four main possible uses: aiming with the eyes, focusing the vision, making eye contact and moving more naturally. While most of these sound great, I’m not sure that focusing your vision (and thus increasing or decreasing the depth of field) feels very natural. Sure, the effect looks great in photos and videos, but that’s not exactly how the human eye works. Focusing on a certain area of the visual field could determine us to neglect other (possibly more important) details. In games, that could prove fatal for the player, since the enemies could hide precisely in the areas that are out of focus.

The developers of the FOVE VR headset are currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. At the time of writing, backers had pledged $184,262 of the $250,000 funding goal, and the crowdfunding campaign still had 44 days to go, so the success of the project is almost a certainty. If you want to try VR technology with a twist, head over to the campaign’s page and pledge at least $375 (early birds had the chance to get it for $349), in order to receive it in May 2016.

It remains to be seen how FOVE will stack against Oculus Rift, Sony’s Morpheus, and the other VR headsets companies might launch in the next year.

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And so it begins: the PS4, hacked http://walyou.com/and-so-it-begins-the-ps4-hacked/ http://walyou.com/and-so-it-begins-the-ps4-hacked/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 19:53:48 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216453

A year and six months is all it took a group of Brazilian hackers to jailbreak the PS4 – or so these people claim.

According to a report from Brazilian website UOL, Brazil is already seeing its first wave of “jailbroken” (AKA hacked) PS4 consoles, with many pre-loaded games inside them. This has nothing to do with the infamous shared account system, but is instead a process of soldering a chip into the console, and then “connecting a laptop and loading the games”.

“What we do is turn a console into a clone of another. We copy the information of the bios and its processor[…] Everything bought on a PS4 can be copied to another system, and this is in itself a better system than shared accounts”. The process uses a Raspberry Pi, and is already being offered in several stores of Sao Paulo. It costs in between $100 and $133 USD, and then the store returns the console to the user, preloaded with games. Seemingly, these games can even be updated and played online without any issues

The UOL team claims to have tried out this system, which does allegedly work. According to these hackers, the idea behind this hack comes from Rusia.

The truth is, even if this was relatively quick – compared to what happened with the PS3, at least – this is a common occurrence in the console world and the video game industry when it comes to popular video game consoles. Ever since the PlayStation 1 and all the way to the Xbox 360, Wii and Dreamcast, all consoles have eventually fallen prey to hackers, and companies have had to live with that.

Regardless of how effective and functional this hack is – there is no reason to not trust UOL, who are themselves a reputable news source – we still don’t know how Sony will react. Probably with an eventual firmware update patching this vulnerability. Time will tell.

In the meanwhile, Sony haven’t made any comments.

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C.H.I.P, the cheapest computer ever http://walyou.com/c-h-i-p-the-cheapest-computer-ever/ http://walyou.com/c-h-i-p-the-cheapest-computer-ever/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 21:13:59 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216422

Are you looking for the fastest PC, able to run GTA 5 and Skyrim in 120 FPS? Because this is the exact opposite.  Meet C.H.I.P., a $9 USD computer that’s both the cheapest and smallest PC in the world.

After a very succesful crowsfunding campaing on Kickstarter a very interesting project surfaced from the minds of Next Thing Co. This is a mini PC with 3 ports, that retails for only $9 USD. C.H.I.P. (such is its name) is able to perform as a miniature computer, as long as the necessary peripherals are plugged into it – and just like the Raspberry Pi 2, it can be configured to perform almost any task, as it is an Open Source project.

C.H.I.P. sports a 1Ghz ARM processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of storage – furthermore, it can also  connect to other gadgets and networks via Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as being fully compatible with Linux.

One of the quirks of this project is a little accesory called Pocket C.H.I.P., which makes it absolutely portable and gives the computer some 7 hours of autonomy. The first few devices are going to be distributed this May, and may indeed be the way of the future. At that price point, who can say no?

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Bocusini Food 3D Printer Looks for Funding on Kickstarter http://walyou.com/bocusini-food-3d-printer-kickstarter/ http://walyou.com/bocusini-food-3d-printer-kickstarter/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:53:26 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216419

Food 3D printing systems aren’t exactly a new thing, but the developers of Bocusini are firmly convinced that such devices should be found in every household out there.

What if instead of mixing ingredients and waiting to see if the recipe turns out right, you could simply select the amounts of each ingredient that goes in and watch as the dish is 3D printed right in front of you? Of course, this doesn’t apply for every kind of dish out there, but at least desserts could be manufactured this way.

The team behind this food 3D printing system spoke at great lengths on the Kickstarter page of the project about how Bocusini could revolutionize food 3D printing by making it mainstream:

“We are determined to open up the fascinating world of food printing for everyone. For this, we have developed Bocusini, the most affordable 3D food printing system. The Bocusini printer can be used right out of the box. It is plug & play. This makes it the perfect tool for creative chefs or confectioners as well as for creative end users.

Just plug in the printer, drag & drop your favorite designs from the Bocusini web platform, or easily create your own food ideas on your smart device – without prior software installation or food printing knowledge.”

For the time being, the number of cartridges that can be used for 3D printing food is limited, but more will be added as time goes by. For starters, people will be able to print using marzipan, choco and chewing gum. That’s definitely great news, especially since you can print up to 15 (miniature) skyscrappers using a single cartridge.

The Munich, Germany-based company is looking to raise €30,000 in the following 29 days, and things seem to be on the right path, as backers have already pledged more than half of the funding goal. If 3D printing food is something you’d like to do in the near future, head over to their Kickstarter page and back the project with €329 or more. Assuming that the campaign is successful (and most likely it will be), backers will receive their Bocusini in January (if they qualified as Early Birds) or March 2016. That’s about when 3D printing mania will hit its apogee.

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