bRight Switches could be making their way into a home near you, maybe even yours. This will basically replace your plain light switches with a tablet device. Of course this won’t be just any old light switch. It will expand the functionality well beyond just turning on your lights.
One of the many things that the new “switches” will do will be able to recognize when someone walks into a room and adjust the lights accordingly. It will also allow you to turn on and off your lights remotely by logging in through the internet and even has learning behavior that allows it to get to know your routines and have things “just the way you like it” right when you walk in the door.
it will also provide security for your home and even allow you to access video footage from all the tablet interfaces in your home. It will even trigger an alarm if triggered by motion.
The wall-mounted tablets will be able to run most other native Android apps so you could even launch an Angry Bird or two from your wall. The platform is also expected to have much expansion to allow for future upgrades to the device.
When Google purchased Motorola, it was losing money hand over fist. Google saw potential in the brand and began the process of rebuilding the integrity of Motorola. First, it discontinued the Motorola ‘dumb’ line. The use of more intuitive software and less gimmicks has been a hit since the release of the Moto X.
Lenovo has been making big waves in the smartphone market, but to this point has kept its sights off of the United States. With this aquisition, you can bet that they will begin to shift their focus when it comes to their lines of smartphones. When you look at the purchase price you will see that Google is taking a giant bath on this deal. They are selling to Lenovo for $2.91 billion only 2 years after purchasing the company for $12.5 billion. That is a huge loss.
While Lenovo is purchasing the company, it’s more of a partnership. Google will still retain the vast majority of patents including “current patent applications and invention disclosures.” This will be an ongoing relationship with Google.
You can bet that all eyes will be on the next line of Motorolas that roll out with Lenovo driving the ship. Lenovo will use it’s current brand of smartphone in the markets where they are already doing very well and bring the Motorola brand to the United States. In markets like China, they may market both.
This deal will also free up Google from conflicts with other partners such as Samsung along with shedding a losing handset business. In the long run this will actually increase profit margins for the search giant.
Android has continued to increase marketshare and with the new releases of Jellybean and KitKat the platform has become a favorite for consumers and developers alike. Along with the popularity, Android has now become the target of even more attacks using virus and malware applications. The most recent has been dubbed Trojan.Droidpak. It tries to install mobile banking malware. The thing about it is that it tries to install it via Windows.
“We’ve seen Android malware that attempts to infect Windows systems before,” Symantec researcher Flora Liu said in a blog post. “Android.Claco, for instance, downloads a malicious PE [portable executable] file along with an autorun.inf file and places them in the root directory of the SD card. When the compromised mobile device is connected to a computer in USB mode, and if the AutoRun feature is enabled on the computer, Windows will automatically execute the malicious PE file.” – Source Blog
Windows malware drops a DLL file that is malicious on the computer, then registers it as a system service. The from a remote server it downloads the configuration file and this is where the malicious APK which is called AV-cdk.apk.
The installation is repeated over and over to insure that the device does end up infected. Successful infection requires that USB debugging mode be enabled. The APK actually looks for certain online banking apps on the device and then prompts the user to delete and install the malicious version.
It has been recommended that users disable USB debugging mode unless it is absolutely necessary to what they are currently working on. It’s also recommended that users install a trusted security application as well.
It has now been released that the NSA has planted bugging hardware and software into 100,000 computers worldwide, not the 50,000 originally claimed. Offline or “air-gapped” computers can now be tracked and surveillance can be gathered according to leaker Edward Snowden.
Tiny radio receivers are planted inside the computer before it is shipped or during a covert operation called “a black bag job.” The devices look just like a normal USB port and infiltrate/exfiltrate data to an NSA relay station (about the size of a suitcase) up to eight miles from the location of the receiver.
“Air-gapping” a computer (unplugging it from any internet network connection) was thought to be a safe way for people to utilize their computers with no worry of someone monitoring their activity. But, the NSA uses radio waves, which can access computers when they are completely offline. No longer is disconnecting a computer from the internet a foolproof way to keep the agency from gathering surveillance.
Code named “Quantum”, the NSA has used this technology ot spy on Chinese hackers, Russian military, South American drug cartels, Middle East interests, and even the European Union. “Quantam” was even used in recent cyber attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities. This would be the first documented report of the NSA participating in cyber attacks. This attack crippled Iranian centrifuges causing them to spin out of control. This is not the first time that details of the “Quantam” project have been exposed.
A leaked powerpoint slide showed that receivers had been inserted into 50,000 computers worldwide and that report has now been increased to 100,000. Jacob Applebaum, known security researcher also mentioned the “Quantam” receivers in the hacking conference Chaos Communication Congress.
Have you ever been trying to tell someone an issue that you’re having on your computer that you can’t explain? Maybe you’ve had a persistent issue that you can’t figure out only to call in a co-worker to show them only to have the issue resolve itself just in time for them not to see it. Then of course it returns the moment they leave your office. This is just part of the computer world. Most people working, and living for that matter, in today’s world use a computer during their daily life.
We all come across issues, struggles, or would just like ways to increase our productivity a bit. Here are a few screenshot (and screencast) tools that might just help you.
Jing is a great peice of screenshot software that can make your life much easier, especially if you utilize support platforms. When submitting an issue to a support team, typing a 5000 word essay to explain an issue you’re having. In this case, a picture is really worth a thousand words. You can easily take some screenshots of issues you’re experiencing, then just submit those in your email to actually show someone what’s happening. I like Jing because you actually install it on your computer so you can take screenshots (or make a screencast) of anything on your computer. Not just online.
Pixlr Grabber is a very popular online browser application that is used for making screenshots. The thing about Pixlr Grabber is that it integrates a full online graphics editor. We’re talking really good interface and usability. For those of you who are familiar with Adobe Photoshop, you’ll love this. Many of the same commands and features all built right into the browser. There is one thing that isn’t so great about it. If you use it for online editorial and writing, it doesn’t take screenshots of youtube videos. It will act like it does, but when it opens the editor, the YouTube video is just a black box.
Fireshot is great for taking screenshots of anything in your browser. Videos and stills alike. It’s super easy to pull a still image from a YouTube video. It also has great annotation features that allow you to create step tutorials and support requests. Fireshot has a very simple interface, but is very useful.
These are just a few of my favorite screenshot/screencast tools. I can attest to the fact that they have made my life so much easier in many different aspects.
Mobile security expert Lookout is warning of a new threat that affects users on Android devices through spam, bulk messaging and foreign banks. The threat is directly associated with a bulk SMS messaging platform called Bazuc. The platform offers users a bonus if they allow the app to access their messaging allowance. There have been over 50,000 downloads as to date. And according to the developer it has been downloaded from 3rd party vendors as well.
They bait users with the idea of getting cash for their unused text message inventory. What this does is allow the malicious people using the app to now send messages that bypass normall mobile spam filters because it looks like it is coming from your phone. And in reality, it is coming from your phone. Bazuc’s authors are basically charging vendors to send malicious emails using your phone number.
These messages have, so far, been directed at American users. But they have originated in Russia, Nigeria, Poland, and Mexico. They have ranged from simple registration requests, to password and PIN code farming.
The real problem occurs in the fact that the messages are open for the owner of the relay to see. This puts banks and other institutions clients at risk.
Bazuc is not considered “malware” due to the fact that is just exploits loopholes in all mobile platforms. If you install this app, you risk all of your personal information being shared with many different people and organizations. It is very easy for this information to fall into the wrong hands.
Lookout has also brought to light a very good point on their blog stating:
“…we can’t discount the possibility that this network could be used to send illegal messages, and in this case the owner of the phone is likely to find themselves in hot water with the authorities”.
So, the app isn’t breaking any laws, but it might just end with you getting in some trouble in more than one way. Beware of the Bazuc app.
If you shopped at your local Target store in between November 27th and December 18th, you might want to be checking your credit card statement. 40 million credit card users had their card data stolen while shopping at the retail giant.
Cyber criminals started their attack on Black Friday and affected approximately 40,000 credit card terminals across the country. You can imagine how many people have swiped their cards over the last few weeks. Target has issued a statement about the incident saying “issue has been identified and resolved.”
Independent journalist Brian Krebs was the first to break the story but was then confirmed by various news outlets across the country.
Target admits that “40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been impacted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013.”
Target, a third party investigation team, and even the secret service are currently investigating the breach to see what caused it, but as with many crimes like this, many details are still unknown,
The point-of-sale terminals were apparently compromised by the cyber criminals at which point they were able to collect data from the cards that were being swiped. Officials think it might have been done through insiders who inserted phishing or malware attack software into the terminal network. That would allow them collect all the data they need to steal from consumers including card data and expiration.
If that is true, these criminals could create duplicate cards and even clean out users bank accounts via ATM.
Good news if you shopped online. Those users were unaffected.
After taking the Greener Gadget Design Competition by storm, The Recompute PC grabbed our attention. The sustainable design means less garbage goes into a landfill when the computer has reached the end of its lifecyle (which is just as long as other computers or longer). This computer is the only line that is assembled from off the shelf components, but all housed in a very sturdy cardboard housing.
With some concerns about the heat capacity issue that come with computers, designer Brenden Macaluso assured users with fact. Cardboard has a much higher heat resistance than many plastics including a higher ignition point as well. 258C – 427C to where as plastics begin to melt at only 120C, so rest assured that this computer is ready to roll, right out of the box. Worried about sturdiness? Don’t be. The guys at Recompute have actually stacked up to 800lbs on one of these cases with no problem. While it’s not completely waterproof (no computer really is), it has been assembled with a waterproof adhesive, so there is a certain degree of protection.
You can customize the Recompute PC in much of the same ways that you can any other computer. It comes standard with the following specs:
3.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor
USB 2 & 3
Support for both USB devices
500 GB SATA2
PS2, VGA, DVI, HDMI
ATI 8570D w/Radeon GPU
400W Dual Fan, 115/230 Volt compatible, hard off switch w/ U.S. power cable
4GB DDR3 1066
Ubuntu 10.04 OS
2 Year Standard
Ubuntu Software Center
Recompute PC: Sustainable Cardboard Computer (cat-man-du Special Edition) – $899
Feel free to contact us using our contact form or at 806-350-8324 with any questions.
Announced on Sunday by Apple, the stores will be participating in the “Hour Of Code” on December 11th. The classes are free and designed to introduce kids to the basics of programming and computer science. The classes are designed for younger kids.
You can make reservations at your local Apple store. This is part of Apples participation in Computer Science Education Week, a global initiative that aims to teach people of all levels how to write code.
We all know that Windows 8 was released to mixed reviews. While some people loved the new OS, others felt that it was mostly unusable in practical workplace application. Microsoft wasted no time in developing a “dot” release that would keep the people who like the new OS happy, while bringing those on board who weren’t fans. The new release has features both on the surface and deeper in the application that have solved many of the problems. Now, we want to make sure that you know the best ways to utilize them. So, here are our tips for using Windows 8.1.
Microsoft has now released new Help + Tips apps that can help you find your way around the new platform. Just hit the down arrow in the lower left part of the display and you’ll get a list of all installed apps and Help + Tips should be in the first app section.
You Can Switch Off “Universal Search”
With the new release, the search is much more powerful. This means that the results can be quite overwhelming when searching. You’ll receive information from your computer, installed apps, and the internet. You can disable the online search component which will give a more simplified result page. Do so under Settings > Change PC settings > Search.
Dock Your Apps
While Windows 8 allows your to dock two apps, the 8.1 release allows for three. Drag an application from the top down to the bottom left to dock it. Many of the start screen applications have mini versions that are actually designed to run in the dock.
The new Windows OS has an interactive alarm app that will wake you in the morning, remind you to pick up your dog from the groomer and more. Click the down arrow in the bottom left corner. You can configure your alarms there, but remember that you can only use the alarm when the computer is awake, so if your computer is set to hibernate, you run the risk of missing your alarm.
Create A System Image
For those who are used to 7, you might think that they did away with this feature. They didn’t. They just seem to have hidden it. Launch control panel > system > security > file history window. Then you’ll see the option in the bottom left of that window.
Use The New Calculator Quickly
Once again click the down arrow in the bottom left corner and launch the new 8.1 calculator app. It is dockable so you can keep it open for making frequent calculations. It also has built in scientific view and conversion tool.
View The Full Apps List By Default
Now you can add the full apps view into the list of apps that you can launch upon startup. You’ll find an option for this by right clicking on the task bar, then choose properties and open the navigation bar.
Disable Hot Corners (If you don’t use them)
8.1 allows you to disable the hot corners application. Right click the task bar, open properties, launch the navigation option. Then select “disable hot corners”.
In 8.0, dragging the start screen from the top down to the bottom closed it. But in 8.1, when you drag the start screen down, it hides the applications but leaves them running in the task manager in case you need them again in the future. You can restart the application using the same gesture. Just don’t let go of the mouse button. Instead hold it down, and the app card will flip over allowing you to access it again.
Edit Your Photos
Along with many of the other startup apps that 8.1 addressed, the photo app was one of them. You can now open photos, and the app offers simple photo editing options built into the app.
Save Items Directly To SkyDrive
Microsoft is trying to make using SkyDrive a real option for users. Under settings > change settings > open SkyDrive, you can now make SkyDrive your default save location for applications.
Make a Universal Wallpaper
While it doesn’t seem like it would make a huge difference, when customizing your computer, everything matters. You can now make your desktop background your startup background as well. Go to settings > start screen.
Create Lock Screen Slideshow
Now, using 8.1, you can sets a custom lockscreen slideshow using your own images. Just click the settings icon > PC settings > PC & Devices > Lock Screen. From there you can select your location from which to pull slideshow images.
Get Your Libraries Back
You’ve probably noticed that 8.1 doesn’t have the robust “libraries” area to separate all of your videos, music, and other items. Open the file explore to show the new “This PC” view. Then choose view, navigation pane, show libraries.
Set Up Reading View
The new release comes with Internet Explorer 11 pre-installed. If your running it as a startup item, you’ll notice a book icon when viewing certain pages. When viewing these pages you can click this icon and it will layout the page in “reading” view, which will strip all advertising and other unwanted items that irritate users when they just want to read a story.
Check App Sizes
Open settings > Change PC Settings > Search and Apps > App sizes. Windows will then show you a list of installed apps according to size. It’s always useful to have when looking to clean up some disk space.
Use Bing To Make Playlists
When searching using the Bing engine, open the Share Charm. You’ll then see a music option. From there you can create playlists from the artists that you have searched for using Bing. It’s a really cool piece of integration.
Customize the Start Screen
No longer do you have to use the stock startscreen themes that are shipped with Windows 8.0. Now you are able to customize that screen with your own images, app tile sizes, and colors. This is located under the “Personalize Settings”.
Boot Straight To The Desktop
This is probably one of the more useful features of the new 8.1 release. If you like the way your computer boots in Windows 7, then you can force Windows 8.1 to give that back. Right click on the desktop task bar. Then open the Navigation tab. Tick the checkbox that points start screen to desktop.
The Start Button
The all acclaimed start button has returned. There was an uproar due to the fact that this little gem disappeared. While the old bottom left hot corner accomplished the same thing, this should calm the masses. Use it to bring up the start screen and access control panels.
Here is a nice walkthrough of most of the features mentioned above.