Category: Electronics
Apple Ends Location Tracking As We Know it in iOS 8

With hero whistleblower Edward Snowden’s many revelations about the National Security Agency’s international and domestic spying programs, including the massive collections of millions of Americans’ phone records and a Keyscore program that allows the NSA to search through emails of major providers Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, millions of people all around the world and at home are concerned and more aware than ever about the need to protect online privacy. Now more than ever, the tech giants including Apple have become very sensitive to their users privacy concerns – Apple especially, since it had to answer to its user base for previously openly complying with NSA secret court orders. Now, Apple is taking aim at location tracking services and apps privacy intrusions by ending location tracking as we know it in iOS 8. Currently marketers use a mobile device’s unique MAC address to keep track of it as a person travels from store to store in the mall by detecting their change in location as they pass through neighboring wifi networks. In fact, whole companies exist to install these complex tracking systems to help retailers and the like to track the locations of its shoppers. iOS 8 will make the location tracking of current systems completely useless because iOS 8 randomizes the device’s MAC address which the system uses to keep track of individual devices as they moved through the wifi networks. Ending location tracking by retailers and the like is a clear and absolute win for we fans of privacy – Apple is clearly listening to its hundreds of millions of users. Watch this neat video by the Verge highlighting the evolutions of iOS, we have come a long way since 2007:

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iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite – Apple Raises the Bar

Apple’s WWDC is always an exciting ordeal and event with Apple unveiling its newest and coolest stuff and this year was no different. Apple raised the bar at this year’s WWDC with the announcement of iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite. In fact this year was down right awesome and definitely brought back feelings reminiscent of the Steve Jobs era. Tim Cook and team seemed to have a hell of a lot of fun on stage and cracked many jokes that were really and truly very funny, all while demoing some of the coolest features we have seen from Apple in many years. The most notable of the new features was something Apple has dubbed Continuity. Continuity is a technology built into the new OSX Yosemite and iOS 8 that allows Apple devices to be aware of each other which opens a whole host of new fun possibilities. One that Apple showed off, was the ability to make and receive a call coming into your iPhone right from the comfort of your Mac using the computer’s microphone and speakers. Let me reiterate, you can take a call and you can make a call right from your desktop, how many times have we wanted to do that. Also your Apple devices are now application aware so you can start typing an email on your iPhone and pick up right where you left off on your Mac. OSX Yosemite has a stunning new look that looks much like iOS – it’s very cool and refreshing and looks to be a very welcomed change. Apple also opened up iOS a bit to offer support for third party keyboards finally! Swipe to type here we come! Apple also created all new dev tools for Apple developers including an entirely new programming language. With all of these awesome new features it becomes clear that innovation at Apple is absolutely alive and well and indeed thriving! The Apple we all know and love is back and she’s got lots of creative mojo working! Check out the round up segment from the Verge for all the hottest new features covered at WWDC 2014:

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Watch Apple’s WWDC Live Today

The time many Apple enthusiasts have long been waiting for, is finally here – Today is Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference). Although we can be sure what Tim Cook and team are going to talk about today, the rumor mill gives us a few ideas, namely iOS 8 and the next update to Mavericks. Unlike previous events, Apple is streaming the WWDC keynote live today on their website for all users with an apple device using Safari 4 or later. The festivities start at 10AM PST. Be sure to tune in and prepare to be bedazzled! We will update following the keynote…
Apple WWDC 2014

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Google’s New Futuristic Self Driving Car

If you are a child of the 80′s and you are an extreme techie geek like we are, you undoubtedly remember the fantastically fabulous self driving T-top transam named KITT from the hit series Knight Rider – KITT could not only talk but he could drive himself and jump over other cars if they got in his way. Back in the 80′s KITT was light years ahead of his time, he was the most advanced car on the planet. Fast forward to today and we do finally have cars that can drive themselves, although we are a far cry from one car jumping over another. Yes, you might have guessed, we are talking about the Google self driving car or more specifically the NEW Google self driving car. As yet, it is unnamed, but on Tuesday night, onstage at the Code Conference in California, Sergey Brin revealed what could be a glimpse into our very near future – A self driving car with no steering wheel and no gas pedal, this bad boy consists of 2 seats, a seatbelt, a big screen in the center console and a big red start button. According to test drivers, the screen tells you the weather along with how long until you reach your destination. Of course one can see where this is going, email on the dash, maybe catch up on some candy crush, the sky’s the limit with a big screen in the car. Currently the car tops out at 25MPH and is entirely electrically driven. It even has two motors onboard so that if one should fail, the other can seamlessly take over. Watch as some luck folks get to take this new automotive wonder for a spin:

The tech inside this baby is nothing short of amazing and the software that governing the functioning of the car are even more mind boggling. If you are interested in getting some insight on how the Google car does what it does, watch this interesting walkthrough by one of Google’s test drivers:
One thing is for sure and that is that the self driving car is here to stay, it’s only a matter of time until your car drives you to work while read your email and help the kids with their homework – It’s coming, will you be ready?

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Google’s Project Loon Gets One Step Closer to Reality by Partnering with Wireless Carriers

If you are any kind of geek at all, you will no doubt have heard of Google’s X division. Google X focuses on coming up with big futuristic ideas to tackle big real word problems and making them a reality.  Two of the most well known Google X projects are the self driving car, which is already real and in active testing and project Loon, which is mostly just a pipe dream or is it? Project Loon is the deployment of wireless network repeaters attached to balloons high in the sky in order to provide internet access to remote rural parts of the world. This is obviously a highly ambitious goal and faces many challenges, the biggest of which is staying connected to the internet at usable speeds. The hardware solution is largely complete and was successful in testing, so the last hurdle facing the team at Google X, was getting the balloon’s wireless hardware on the web so it could make the web available to all the people in range of any of the balloons. Originally the team’s plan was to buy Google’s own section of the wireless spectrum to essentially broadcast the web to it’s balloon network around the globe. To the team’s surprise, after 6 months of negotiating for spectrum space, the team presented the grand plan to Google’s CEO Larry Page and he was less than impressed:

“You’re going to hit a double. That’s not interesting,” Page told the team. “You’re going to be really frustrated. You’ll be angry at me for a week. But then you’re going to get creative. You’ll come up with a home run.”

And a home run is exactly what the team has achieved. The Google X team is bringing project Loon one step close to reality by partnering with wireless carriers to lease existing spectrum and bring the balloons online. The idea is that they can use what is already working through telcos who are already in place. Additionally, Google thinks this will be a great idea that will foster natural adoption of the new balloon tech from countries all around the globe, mainly because it will be the country’s own telco that will deploy the balloons for use – a far different scenario than Google barging into rural countries and forcing their tech on the people of that country. Sometime sooner rather than later, people stuck in the middle of the deserts of the world will be able to get online and join the information superhighway. Google we love you forever!

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