- Gadget Ogling: Logged Jogs, Manual Music, Smart Weapons and Skinny Phones
Welcome to another installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a weekly look at the treats and horrors revealed as manufacturers pull back their curtains. Behind door number one is a selection of updated activity trackers from one of the oldest dogs in the yard, with the other shiny prizes including a music controller, a smart accessory for police firearms, and the planet's thinnest smartphone.
- Microsoft May Have Launched a Band of Gold
Microsoft has made another foray into the mobile health market with the introduction of the Microsoft Band, powered by its new Microsoft Health platform. The band, which is available at Microsoft Stores for $200 as of Thursday, is designed to be worn 24 hours a day. In addition to the usual monitoring capabilities, the band will notify wearers of incoming calls, emails, texts and social updates.
- Apple Pay vs. CurrentC: Prelude to the Beacon Wars
The current dustup between Apple Pay and CurrentC is a stark, bleak mess. That's not because Apple promises an easier, more secure way of making a smartphone-based retail transaction. Nor is it because CurrentC wants to harvest data on you and provide behavior-bending coupons, incentives and special deals, while cutting out the middleman credit card processing industry. It gets worse.
- HP May Sprout New Manufacturing Techniques
HP has introduced its Blended Reality ecosystem: HP Multi Jet Fusion, an advanced 3D printer; and Sprout by HP -- a combination scanner, depth sensor, high-res camera and projector that provides 3D images of items and enables real-time remote collaboration. The ecosystem might revolutionize manufacturing, sharply reducing the design-to-prototype cycle and making it easy to customize products.
- The Long and Winding Road to Shellshock Recovery
Four days after Shellshock was disclosed, Incapsula's Web application firewall deflected more than 217,000 attempted exploits on more than 4,100 domains. The company recorded upwards of 1,970 attacks per hour, from more than 890 IPs around the world. Shellshock was expected to be far worse than the Heartbleed flaw, which was expected to impact about 17 percent of the secure Web servers worldwide.
- With Ampy, You'll Get a Charge Out of Exercising
While some people are vaguely aware that movement can be converted into electrical energy -- think wrist watches or emergency crank flashlights -- a new Kickstarter project has created Ampy, a small, wearable battery pack that can harness the kinetic motion of common humans and release it back into smartphones, smartwatches and other USB-powered electronic gadgets.
- Elon Musk Calls for Preventive AI Demon Wrangling
Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors, among his many roles, this week warned about the threat humans face from artificial intelligence. AI is probably our biggest existential threat, he told students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon," Musk said, indicating that it might not be possible to control it.
- Mobile Malware Takes Victims by Surprise
Malware writers behind Koler, a bad app that attacks Android devices, have upped their game with a new variant of the pernicious program. In its original version, Koler hijacked phones it landed on and wouldn't set them free until a ransom was paid. This latest strain of the malapp also does the ransomware thing, but it takes its malignancy a step further.