Phones hit the headlines for lots of reasons -- the biggest, the most expensive, the shiniest, or just the newest. We live in times in which security and privacy are major concerns for people in all walks of life. The activities of the NSA, as revealed by Edward Snowden, served only to heighten paranoia -- the prospect of having one's phone calls and text messages intercepted is something that fills few people with joy. Enter Vysk communicastions' Vysk QS1 phone case which can be used with an iPhone 5 or 5s, and a Samsung Galaxy S5 or S4. The selling point here is that it's not just your phone that's protected, but also your privacy.
The privacy features come in mechanical and software forms. On the mechanical front there are "shutters" that can be used to obscure your phone's front and rear cameras, and there's also a jamming system for microphones. This is described by Vysk as "Lockdown Mode", but you can take things a step further. For $9.95 you can subscribe to "Private Call Mode". This introduces encryption to your texts and phone calls, with an onboard processor taking care of encryption on the fly and sent via the Vysk encrypted network. As Vysk puts it: "No one -- not even Vysk -- will know the identity of the caller or the recipient. No data is collected -- no phone numbers, call times or content - so there is no data to record. Because nothing is recorded, nothing is at risk."
Hitting the road means luggage, and luggage is a pain -- all that… stuff… to carry from place to place. Traveling light can help to make the journey less of a chore, but there are some things that simply have to be packed: no self-respecting technology fan would go on vacation without taking a raft of devices with them. But devices need power, and this means chargers are needed. iPhones, MP3 players, Android tablets, iPads, digital cameras, Chromebooks, and countless other devices all need power -- and that means a lot of chargers.
We just took a look at the Lumsing DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger which enables you to leave the chargers at home and charge up to five devices simultaneously from a single power point. And we have one to give away!
A few weeks ago I took a look at Lumsing's harmonica battery pack. Now from the same stables comes the lengthily titled DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger. This is a slightly different twist on the idea of providing power to travellers' devices -- this is a wall charger rather than a portable battery pack. If you're going on vacation, taking a trip, or even just hitting the office, there are your devices to consider. Your phone, tablet, MP3 player, and other bits and pieces all need power, all need their own charger.
Except they don’t. Leave all of your chargers at home, and just take a selection of USB cables -- this 5-port hub allows for up to five USB devices (obviously) to be charged from a single wall power point. The 31W/6.2A unit has two 5V 1A ports for phones, and three 5V 2A ports for tablets and devices with higher power demands. Oddly, the ports are labelled, left to right, iPad, iPad, Samsung Tab, iPhone, and Android. It would have made more sense to simply indicate which of the five were the high-powered ports, but this is a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things.
The Tour de France 2014 has just kicked off in Yorkshire, England, where 198 top riders will spend the next two days battling through 120 miles of beautiful countryside.
If you’re a cycling fan then you really should be there. But if that’s not possible -- or you’re just inspired by what you see -- then you can get into the spirit of the event with Tour de Yorkshire, a fun free iPhone and iPad game.
Not to be overshadowed by the World Cup, this Saturday professional cycling's biggest event kicks off. The season may run February to October, but nothing compares to the month of July. That's when the world's best gather in France -- well England this time, at least for a couple of days -- to participate in the spectacle that is the Tour de France.
While almost 200 riders take to the starting line, very few have a real shot at winning the race -- it takes all-around skill, including climbing, time trialing, and staying out of trouble in general, as accidents have ruined the chances of favorites many times.
Looking for a way to access programs on your desktop or laptop from your mobile? You could go down the route of installing something like TeamViewer, but with the best will in the world, trying to control your entire Windows or Mac desktop from your mobile is a fiddly experience at best.
A more practical solution can be found by going down the Parallels Access route, and it’s one that’s just been made even better with the release of version 2.0.
Both Microsoft and Google have agreed to add a kill switch their mobile operating systems. Following an agreement with the New York Attorney General, the next versions of Windows Phone and Android will include a feature that will render handsets useless if they are stolen. The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, published a report yesterday outlining the importance of such a feature, and revealed that two of the biggest names in technology are on-board.
It's something that authorities have been calling for for some time now, citing the sheer number of mobile phone thefts taking place around the world. Schneiderman's report points to Apple as proof of the efficacy of a kill switch. Thefts of iPhones dropped by 17 percent in New York City after the introduction of a remote wiping and locking feature. The Secure Our Smartphones report took fire at Samsung. The company had opted not to include a kill switch, and thefts of Samsung handsets jumped by 40 percent in NYC. "Reactivation Lock" has since been implemented on a small number of new Galaxy handsets.
While there are many fairly specialized mobile apps out there, Yo, which was just launched by Life Before Us, takes the cake for being the narrowest-focused messaging service available on Android and iOS now.
Why? Because Yo can only be used to say "Yo" to your contacts. As you can imagine, it does not even trigger a keyboard when you want to hit a friend with a message, as a touch of a button will do the trick (Life Before Us touts this as a feature, in case you are wondering why the heck I am mentioning it).
You might recall that we recently reviewed the ChargeKey and ChargeCard USB charging gadgets. These are now being relaunched with an updated design using more durable materials and have had a name change to NomadKey and NomadCard -- though we’re guessing they won't recharge your camel.
There's also an extra product, the carabiner-style NomadClip that you can fit on your key chain, belt or anywhere else to ensure you’re never without a charger. It’s non-load bearing but with a steel frame and polycarbonate outer shell it should be tough enough to survive life's day-to-day knocks.
On Sunday, June 15, fathers across the world will be ripping off reams of wrapping paper in the hopes of finding a present that isn't a watch, a tie or a pair of socks.
This year, give dear old Dad something different -- to help you out, we've had a quick brainstorm and come up with a shortlist of a high-tech gift ideas we think he'll love.
Battery packs may not be the most exciting or sexiest gadgets on the market, but the LUM-008-01 Power Bank from Lumsing has a good stab at changing things. But stabbing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when picking up this battery pack for the first time. Yes, the manufacturers "Harmonica style" description is fairly accurate but this is a unit that is rather weightier than the handheld instrument favored by blues and folk musicians. The mass of 236g (8.3oz) coupled with the way it nestles in the hand brings to mind a form of cudgel; this is a battery pack that could double as a murder weapon. Maybe that's just me... I should probably evaluate it for what it is.
Let's cut to the chase. This is a battery pack. There's a limit to how animated one can get about such a device, but Lumsing's offering gets off to a great start by being so easy on the eye. It's good to look at, and it also feels good in the hand. Style drips from every port. In all there are three ports: one USB input for charging the unit itself, and two outputs for charging other devices such as mobiles and tablets. There's one low powered 1.5 A port and one rated at 2.1 A so there's scope for charging all manner of devices.
Apple has all-but confirmed that iPhones with larger screens are on the way after developers made a discovery that allows them to simulate different screen sizes for both the smartphone and iPad.
9to5Mac reports that XCode 6 includes a new iOS simulator that allows developers to resize the simulated screen to any resolution thus leading most to suggest that this is the another step that will eventually lead to larger screen iPhones and iPads.
With the arrival of Windows Phone 8.1, the tiled smartphone operating system has gained a significant number of great new features, turning into a much more powerful and able rival to the more-popular Android and iOS. But, no matter how good it may be, top developers still treat Windows Phone as a second-tier platform, that seemingly warrants little to no attention.
Windows Phone head Joe Belfiore has spoken of the so-called app-gap going away. Well, sorry, Joe, that is not going to happen. Tough luck. Deal with it. Why? Because top tier developers still release the latest features on Android and iOS first, leaving Windows Phone users waiting, and waiting, and then waiting some more for the "cutting-edge" to arrive -- that is, if that ever happens and the app is not abandoned in the meantime.
Yosemite! Woo! iOS 8! Yay! New way of programming! Huzzah! These were the obvious highlights of Apple's WWDC keynote yesterday, but as the dust settles there are some additional interesting tidbits emerging. As this was a developer conference, it should come as no surprise that the announcements and revelations have the most immediate impact on developers -- but things will also filter down to users. One change that was not given any fanfare at the WWDC is an alteration to Apple's App Store Review Guidelines which paves the way for virtual currency support.
The guidelines themselves are surprisingly easy to read -- this document is nothing like an EULA! But if you'd like to cut to the chase, jump to 11.17 in the "Purchasing and currencies" section. Here you'll find the advice that "Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions". There is no reason that this possible virtual currency support should not include Bitcoin, although the currency has not been specifically mentioned.
The more I ponder Apple's Beats acquisition, the less sense it makes. Buying big well-known brands that compete with yours is usually a bad idea -- worse when the acquirer owns no foreign brands. Extinguishing the big name, as Microsoft does with Nokia, is marketing murder. There's no place for the Beats brand in the Apple lexicon. The gun is drawn and ready to fire.
What I do see is another sign that Apple has lost its way. Tim Cook is a very able CEO, but as stated previously he is Star Trek's Spock without Captain Kirk (Steve Jobs). Cook's approach to business logistics, while brilliant, unmakes Apple. Beats is an acquisition that is off-key -- out of tune with the culture that made the fruit-logo company great. As such, on this Thursday in May, comes my confession. I was wrong five years ago in post "Why Apple succeeds, and always will". That company is gone.