Technology

This Little Bluetooth Sensor Shouts The Second Anyone Tries To Move Your Stuff


TechCrunch / Greg Kumparak

This Little Bluetooth Sensor Shouts The Second Anyone Tries To Move Your Stuff

 Uh oh. You’re three cups of coffee into a busy work day, and you’re starting to get the ol’ caffeine rumble gut. But you don’t want to give up your prime table at the coffee shop.
“Hey, can you watch my stuff?” you say to the nearest complete stranger.
This box watches your stuff for you. If it moves ever so slightly, it can fire off a siren or send a… Read More

This Little Bluetooth Sensor Shouts The Second Anyone Tries To Move Your Stuff


TechCrunch / Greg Kumparak

This Little Bluetooth Sensor Shouts The Second Anyone Tries To Move Your Stuff

 Uh oh. You’re three cups of coffee into a busy work day, and you’re starting to get the ol’ caffeine rumble gut. But you don’t want to give up your prime table at the coffee shop.
“Hey, can you watch my stuff?” you say to the nearest complete stranger.
This box watches your stuff for you. If it moves ever so slightly, it can fire off a siren or send a… Read More

Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, says forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise user privacy (Jordan Novet/VentureBeat)


Techmeme /

Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, says forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise user privacy (Jordan Novet/VentureBeat)

Jordan Novet / VentureBeat:
Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, says forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise user privacy  —  Google CEO Sundar Pichai backs Tim Cook over Apple-FBI controversy  —  Google CEO Sundar Pichai just weighed in on the ongoing issue over device encryption between Apple …

Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, says forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise user privacy (Jordan Novet/VentureBeat)


Techmeme /

Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, says forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise user privacy (Jordan Novet/VentureBeat)

Jordan Novet / VentureBeat:
Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, says forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise user privacy  —  Here’s Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s response to the Apple-FBI controversy  —  Google chief executive Sundar Pichai just weighed in on the ongoing issue …

A New Technique Makes GPS Accurate to an Inch


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

A New Technique Makes GPS Accurate to an Inch

GPS is an utterly pervasive and wonderful technology, but it’s increasingly not accurate enough for modern demands. Now a team of researchers can make it accurate right down to an inch.Regular GPS registers your location and velocity by measuring the time it takes to receive signals from four or more satellites, that were sent into space by the military. Alone, it can tell you where you are to within 30 feet. More recently a technique called Differential GPS (DGPS) improved on that resolution by adding ground-based reference stations—increasing accuracy to within 3 feet.Now, a team from the University of California, Riverside, has developed a technique that augments the regular GPS data with on-board inertial measurements from a sensor. Actually, that’s been tried before, but in the past it’s required large computers to combine the two data streams, rendering it ineffective for use in cars or mobile devices. Instead what the University of California team has done is create a set of new algorithms which, it claims, reduce the complexity of the calculation by several order of magnitude. In turn, that allows GPS systems in a mobile device to calculate position with an accuracy of just an inch. The research is published in IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.The team hopes that the new GPS units could be used where accuracy is far more important that it was in the past. Autonomous vehicles is an obvious application, where knowing exactly where the vehicle is on the road is absolutely crucial—but it could be included in your phone, too.[IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology via PhysOrg]TechnImage by Aaron Parecki under Creative Commons license

A New Technique Makes GPS Accurate to an Inch


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

A New Technique Makes GPS Accurate to an Inch

GPS is an utterly pervasive and wonderful technology, but it’s increasingly not accurate enough for modern demands. Now a team of researchers can make it accurate right down to an inch.Regular GPS registers your location and velocity by measuring the time it takes to receive signals from four or more satellites, that were sent into space by the military. Alone, it can tell you where you are to within 30 feet. More recently a technique called Differential GPS (DGPS) improved on that resolution by adding ground-based reference stations—increasing accuracy to within 3 feet.Now, a team from the University of California, Riverside, has developed a technique that augments the regular GPS data with on-board inertial measurements from a sensor. Actually, that’s been tried before, but in the past it’s required large computers to combine the two data streams, rendering it ineffective for use in cars or mobile devices. Instead what the University of California team has done is create a set of new algorithms which, it claims, reduce the complexity of the calculation by several order of magnitude. In turn, that allows GPS systems in a mobile device to calculate position with an accuracy of just an inch. The research is published in IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.The team hopes that the new GPS units could be used where accuracy is far more important that it was in the past. Autonomous vehicles is an obvious application, where knowing exactly where the vehicle is on the road is absolutely crucial—but it could be included in your phone, too.[IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology via PhysOrg]TechnImage by Aaron Parecki under Creative Commons license

Your Stupid-Ass Typing Style Might Not Actually Be So Bad


Gizmodo / George Dvorsky

Your Stupid-Ass Typing Style Might Not Actually Be So Bad

Back in the olden days, most typists were trained to use all their fingers. That’s less of a concern now, leading to all sorts of self-taught typing styles. But as a new study shows, our lack of formal training—and our resistance to using all ten fingers—doesn’t mean we’re not proficient typists. I cringe every time I have to watch my teenage son type. Unlike his father, who still dutifully sets his eight fingers on the home row, this child of the digital era uses his two measly index fingers to type. Incredibly, however, it works for him; his fingers fly across the keyboard quickly and accurately. A new study from Aalto University supports this observation, suggesting it’s not the number of fingers that matters when typing, but how we use them. “We were surprised to observe that people who took a typing course, performed at similar average speed and accuracy, as those that taught typing to themselves and only used six fingers on average,” said study co-author Anna Feit in a statement. “The number of fingers does not effect typing speed. You could use just one or two fingers per hand and still type very fast.”Feit’s team recruited 30 volunteers of various ages and typing skills, and then recorded their individual styles with an optical motion capture system. A dozen high-speed infrared cameras tracked 52 reflective markers placed on the participants’ hands and fingers. This allowed the researchers to to measure the speed and accuracy of their individual typing styles. And to get a visual sense of typing commonalities, the researchers created finger-to-key maps. Fast typists, touch vs. self taught.Slow typists, touch vs. self-taughtAnalysis revealed that most participants used their left and right hands differently; some kept their left hands at the same place over the keyboard while their right hand moved from side-to-side, and vice-versa. Four groups of typists performed these similar movements with their left hand, and six groups with their right hand. The volunteers used anywhere from one to two fingers per hand (i.e. “hunt-and-peck”) to using all five. Some exhibited unique typing behaviors, like using the Caps Lock instead of shift, or using both thumbs together to hit the spacebar. Common strategies for each hand.Regardless of the style, however, the volunteers typed at different rates, some fast, some slow. This suggests that other factors are at play. For example, fast typists kept their hands on one position instead of moving them over the keyboard. They also used the same finger for the same letter virtually every time. The researchers also observed that untrained typists spent about twice as much time gazing at their fingers instead of the screen, which affected their ability to do complex editing tasks. The researchers say our typing techniques are often a reflection of the task being performed on the computer. “The touch typing system was developed for typing sentences on typewriters,” said Feit. “It is not advantageous for Photoshop shortcuts or gaming, often done with one hand on the mouse.” Developers could use this research to create better user interfaces both in software and in keyboards themselves. The interfaces should be tailored to the way we type today, not how we typed a long time ago.[Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems]Images: Aalto UniversityEmail the author at george@gizmodo.com and follow him @dvorsky.

Your Stupid-Ass Typing Style Might Not Actually Be So Bad


Gizmodo / George Dvorsky

Your Stupid-Ass Typing Style Might Not Actually Be So Bad

Back in the olden days, most typists were trained to use all their fingers. That’s less of a concern now, leading to all sorts of self-taught typing styles. But as a new study shows, our lack of formal training—and our resistance to using all ten fingers—doesn’t mean we’re not proficient typists. I cringe every time I have to watch my teenage son type. Unlike his father, who still dutifully sets his eight fingers on the home row, this child of the digital era uses his two measly index fingers to type. Incredibly, however, it works for him; his fingers fly across the keyboard quickly and accurately. A new study from Aalto University supports this observation, suggesting it’s not the number of fingers that matters when typing, but how we use them. “We were surprised to observe that people who took a typing course, performed at similar average speed and accuracy, as those that taught typing to themselves and only used six fingers on average,” said study co-author Anna Feit in a statement. “The number of fingers does not effect typing speed. You could use just one or two fingers per hand and still type very fast.”Feit’s team recruited 30 volunteers of various ages and typing skills, and then recorded their individual styles with an optical motion capture system. A dozen high-speed infrared cameras tracked 52 reflective markers placed on the participants’ hands and fingers. This allowed the researchers to to measure the speed and accuracy of their individual typing styles. And to get a visual sense of typing commonalities, the researchers created finger-to-key maps. Fast typists, touch vs. self taught.Slow typists, touch vs. self-taughtAnalysis revealed that most participants used their left and right hands differently; some kept their left hands at the same place over the keyboard while their right hand moved from side-to-side, and vice-versa. Four groups of typists performed these similar movements with their left hand, and six groups with their right hand. The volunteers used anywhere from one to two fingers per hand (i.e. “hunt-and-peck”) to using all five. Some exhibited unique typing behaviors, like using the Caps Lock instead of shift, or using both thumbs together to hit the spacebar. Common strategies for each hand.Regardless of the style, however, the volunteers typed at different rates, some fast, some slow. This suggests that other factors are at play. For example, fast typists kept their hands on one position instead of moving them over the keyboard. They also used the same finger for the same letter virtually every time. The researchers also observed that untrained typists spent about twice as much time gazing at their fingers instead of the screen, which affected their ability to do complex editing tasks. The researchers say our typing techniques are often a reflection of the task being performed on the computer. “The touch typing system was developed for typing sentences on typewriters,” said Feit. “It is not advantageous for Photoshop shortcuts or gaming, often done with one hand on the mouse.” Developers could use this research to create better user interfaces both in software and in keyboards themselves. The interfaces should be tailored to the way we type today, not how we typed a long time ago.[Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems]Images: Aalto UniversityEmail the author at george@gizmodo.com and follow him @dvorsky.

Inside the Tech Behind New York’s Monstrously Fast Gigabit Wifi


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Inside the Tech Behind New York’s Monstrously Fast Gigabit Wifi

New York City is replacing busted old payphone booths with amazing free gigabit wifi hotspots in 10,000 locations around the city. We’ve already tested an early version of the new service and it’s fast. Now we finally know why.The blazing wireless internet—which we clocked at a ridiculous 400 Mbps—is enabled by components developed by Qualcomm, one of the three companies behind CityBridge. For those that are unfamiliar, CityBridge is the New York-based group of companies made up of Qualcomm, CIVIQ and Intersection. CityBridge is the group that’s working with the city to replace over 7,500 existing pay phones with ultra-futuristic fountains of reliable wifi.There’s a lot riding on whether or not the wifi works. New York City’s new gigabit internet service is the initial testing ground for a project that could be rolled out to cities around the world. LinkNYC isn’t an exception—especially as it’s the biggest public wifi project in history.Kiva Allgood, vice president of Qualcomm’s Intelligent Solutions division, says LinkNYC is part of a Smart Cities initiative that aims to take similar internet infrastructure around the world—but it starts in New York.“We bring the wifi, all those antennas, and put them in a metal box,” Allgood told Gizmodo. “It does have to pay for itself. New York is unique with advertising.” The $200 million project will generate a lot of income through ads, which’ll play on big electronic displays on the side of each unit. Since New York brims with over 8 million data-hungry humans roaming the streets, those ads are prime real estate, especially when you consider LinkNYC’s mission of planting a Link every 150 feet.You’re probably wondering how each Link will be able to handle the hundreds of tired tourists huddling on the curb for a mini-binge of Orange Is the New Black. While we were told that LinkNYC is supposed to be something of a fleeting experience, allowing people to perform quick, on-the-go tasks like checking email, Allgood assured me that the tech inside each Link is built to withstand dozens of streaming video-watchers.Inside is MIMO wifi, which stands for “multiple in, multiple out.” It’s specifically designed to avoid traffic congestion by serving multiple devices simultaneously—useful when you’re serving throngs of smartphone-toting humans in America’s biggest city. So, even if a bunch of people did camp out for group YouTube parties, the Links should still be cranking out breakneck wifi for the crowds at all times.For specs lovers, here are the full details about what’s actually inside each Link, which is being announced formally today:For the wifi: Ruckus Wireless ZoneFlex 802.11ac wave 2 4×4 access points, supported by a Qualcomm Internet Processor and the Qualcomm VIVE 11ac Wi-Fi solution with Qualcomm MU|EFX Multi-User MIMO technologyFor 911 calls: Sierra Wireless’ MC9090 3G modem, incorporating a Qualcomm Technologies’ chipsetFor displays and ads: eInfochips’ Eragon Single Board Computer solution featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, the first Snapdragon processor to feature the Qualcomm Adreno 320 graphics processing unitFor USB charging: Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 All that stuff is also what lets users browse the internet and access city maps and directions on the built-in Android tablets. Those tablets aren’t active yet, though. Allgood told me that in the next two weeks, Mayor de Blasio will host an event that officially activates the tablets. Once activated, New Yorkers will even be able to use them to pay utility bills, or make video calls on Skype. See? They’re still (kinda) like (futuristic) pay phones after all!Another phone-like function? Always-available 911 calling. That onboard modem is what operates the call: Press the big red button and you’ll instantly be connected to a first responder. Finally, users can charge their devices using a Link’s Quick Charge ports, which apparently juice your phone 75 percent faster than most devices. (We’ve yet to try that, obviously, but the city’s claims that the wifi being super fast were true—so hopefully the same goes for these phone charging speeds.)We tested the Links here in Manhattan, and they are indeed awesome—their wifi crushed a nearby Starbucks’, and was even faster than the internet at the Gawker offices. While New York will continue blazing the trail for free omnipresent gigabit wifi (the idea is that there are so many units, you connect to the network once and you’ll never have to reconnect again), Allgood told me that Qualcomm’s looking to help take similar technology around the world. “We have several projects across the board, including seven or eight other cities internationally, including Latin America,” Allgood said. Other cities might not have Link-like devices that look exactly like New York’s, though. Some countries, including in Latin America, actually have laws that require payphones to exist on the streets, in order to accommodate citizens who lack mobile phones. So in those cases, Links may complement rather than fully replace.For now, though, the Big Apple is the world’s guinea pig. All eyes are on New York—and all of New York’s hands are on wifi-craving smartphones.Image: LinkNYCCorrection, 8:47 a.m.: The story misidentified which New York mayor is involved. (It’s the current mayor, Bill de Blasio.)

Inside the Tech Behind New York’s Monstrously Fast Gigabit Wifi


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Inside the Tech Behind New York’s Monstrously Fast Gigabit Wifi

New York City is replacing busted old payphone booths with amazing free gigabit wifi hotspots in 10,000 locations around the city. We’ve already tested an early version of the new service and it’s fast. Now we finally know why.The blazing wireless internet—which we clocked at a ridiculous 400 Mbps—is enabled by components developed by Qualcomm, one of the three companies behind CityBridge. For those that are unfamiliar, CityBridge is the New York-based group of companies made up of Qualcomm, CIVIQ and Intersection. CityBridge is the group that’s working with the city to replace over 7,500 existing pay phones with ultra-futuristic fountains of reliable wifi.There’s a lot riding on whether or not the wifi works. New York City’s new gigabit internet service is the initial testing ground for a project that could be rolled out to cities around the world. LinkNYC isn’t an exception—especially as it’s the biggest public wifi project in history.Kiva Allgood, vice president of Qualcomm’s Intelligent Solutions division, says LinkNYC is part of a Smart Cities initiative that aims to take similar internet infrastructure around the world—but it starts in New York.“We bring the wifi, all those antennas, and put them in a metal box,” Allgood told Gizmodo. “It does have to pay for itself. New York is unique with advertising.” The $200 million project will generate a lot of income through ads, which’ll play on big electronic displays on the side of each unit. Since New York brims with over 8 million data-hungry humans roaming the streets, those ads are prime real estate, especially when you consider LinkNYC’s mission of planting a Link every 150 feet.You’re probably wondering how each Link will be able to handle the hundreds of tired tourists huddling on the curb for a mini-binge of Orange Is the New Black. While we were told that LinkNYC is supposed to be something of a fleeting experience, allowing people to perform quick, on-the-go tasks like checking email, Allgood assured me that the tech inside each Link is built to withstand dozens of streaming video-watchers.Inside is MIMO wifi, which stands for “multiple in, multiple out.” It’s specifically designed to avoid traffic congestion by serving multiple devices simultaneously—useful when you’re serving throngs of smartphone-toting humans in America’s biggest city. So, even if a bunch of people did camp out for group YouTube parties, the Links should still be cranking out breakneck wifi for the crowds at all times.For specs lovers, here are the full details about what’s actually inside each Link, which is being announced formally today:For the wifi: Ruckus Wireless ZoneFlex 802.11ac wave 2 4×4 access points, supported by a Qualcomm Internet Processor and the Qualcomm VIVE 11ac Wi-Fi solution with Qualcomm MU|EFX Multi-User MIMO technologyFor 911 calls: Sierra Wireless’ MC9090 3G modem, incorporating a Qualcomm Technologies’ chipsetFor displays and ads: eInfochips’ Eragon Single Board Computer solution featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, the first Snapdragon processor to feature the Qualcomm Adreno 320 graphics processing unitFor USB charging: Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 All that stuff is also what lets users browse the internet and access city maps and directions on the built-in Android tablets. Those tablets aren’t active yet, though. Allgood told me that in the next two weeks, Mayor Bloomberg will host an event that officially brings the Links out of beta and activates the tablets. Once activated, New Yorkers will even be able to use them to pay utility bills, or make video calls on Skype. See? They’re still (kinda) like (futuristic) pay phones after all!Another phone-like function? Always-available 911 calling. That onboard modem is what operates the call: Press the big red button and you’ll instantly be connected to a first responder. Finally, users can charge their devices using a Link’s Quick Charge ports, which apparently juice your phone 75 percent faster than most devices. (We’ve yet to try that, obviously, but the city’s claims that the wifi being super fast were true—so hopefully the same goes for these phone charging speeds.)We tested the Links here in Manhattan, and they are indeed awesome—their wifi crushed a nearby Starbucks’, and was even faster than the internet at the Gawker offices. While New York will continue blazing the trail for free omnipresent gigabit wifi (the idea is that there are so many units, you connect to the network once and you’ll never have to reconnect again), Allgood told me that Qualcomm’s looking to help take similar technology around the world. “We have several projects across the board, including seven or eight other cities internationally, including Latin America,” Allgood said. Other cities might not have Link-like devices that look exactly like New York’s, though. Some countries, including in Latin America, actually have laws that require payphones to exist on the streets, in order to accommodate citizens who lack mobile phones. So in those cases, Links may complement rather than fully replace.For now, though, the Big Apple is the world’s guinea pig. All eyes are on New York—and all of New York’s hands are on wifi-craving smartphones.Image: LinkNYC