Palm is Being Brought Back!?!

Palm PilotWhat? I don’t think so!

Palm is being brought back from the dead

Variety – By: Marc Graser – “Chinese electronics maker TCL, which spent considerable coin to rename Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, has acquired the rights to revive the once-dominant maker of digital personal organizers.

TCL said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that it will re-create Palm in Silicon Valley, after having purchased the brand’s assets from Hewlett-Packard late last year. HP had paid $1.2 billion to purchase Palm in 2010, but sold off the company’s webOS operating system to LG in 2013, leaving TCL with little other than nostalgia to work with.

‘Palm has always carried a lot of affect and emotions,’ TCL said in a statement. ‘That’s why TCL has set the direction to rebuild the brand involving Palm’s very own community, making it the largest scale crowd-sourced project ever seen in the industry.’

The company will set up a new Palm Inc. in Silicon Valley. It also will back the development of new Palm products with 5,000 engineers and seven research and development centers around the world.

TCL, which is a substantial producer of electronics in China, with its line of TVs and mobile devices, is still relatively unknown in the U.S., although it’s looking to change that through high-profile placements in movies like ‘Iron Man III,’ and naming-rights deals like the one in Hollywood.

It also owns the Alcatel OneTouch brand through which it produces lower priced smartphones Stateside. The new Palm products are likely to become the company’s more high-end line of mobile devices.

Palm was founded in 1992 and had various owners, including US Robotics and 3Com. Its devices essentially established the handheld market, especially among business execs, with the Treo and Pilot, and opened the door for rivals like BlackBerry to step in and take over.

Palm isn’t the only mobile brand trying to make a comeback.

Lenovo is trying to breathe new life into Motorola after buying it last year, with three new smartphones it will launch in China this year. The new Moto X rolls out in February.”

Hand Held Hack #25 – Video – “Loads of Hand Helds!”

PlayPlay

A Hand-Held DNA sequencer! Malicious software spreads on Android Phones, a Hand-held device detects liquid bombs in 5 seconds, new Nintendo 3DS hack gives easy access to illegal games, Android ‘Lollipop’ disk encryption causes serious performance issues!

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Hand Held Hack #25 – Audio – “Loads of Hand Helds!”

A Hand-Held DNA sequencer! Malicious software spreads on Android Phones, a Hand-held device detects liquid bombs in 5 seconds, new Nintendo 3DS hack gives easy access to illegal games, Android ‘Lollipop’ disk encryption causes serious performance issues!

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Android “Lollipop” Disk Encryption Causes Serious Performance Issues!

(Cross-posted from Dr. Bill.TV) If you recently upgraded your Android device to Android 5.0, known as the “Lollipop” version, you may be experiencing some strange performance issues after the upgrade if you enable encryption. It appears that the problem is caused by disk encryption of the Android device which can be turned off in the new Nexus devices. It is a “feature” and not a bug! However, users are very upset by the performance hit that this new feature causes. In testing a Motorola Nexus 6 that didn’t have encryption enabled (which is not the way it normally comes) testers at AnanTech discovered that it was, in fact, the disk encryption in the Nexus 6 that slows down the read-write disk speeds… and, unfortunately, you can’t turn it off once enabled.

During tests with a Nexus 6 running without encryption, and another one with it enabled, they saw as much is a 63% decline in read performance and a 50% decline in write performance in the device with encryption enabled. If your math impaired, in terms of understanding those numbers, that’s a big deal!

Now, if you want to turn off your disk encryption in order to see at a performance improvement; you can’t on the Nexus 6 or Nexus 9, at least not at this time.

The geeky folks over at XGA are tinkering with a new boot.img image that will disable the forced encryption, but this is annoying fix for a problem that Google should have already provided a workaround for. We should not have to rely on some hackers to fix their problem!

One would hope that Google will respond to this and give users a way to encrypt their phones and restore performance to reasonable levels!

A Nintendo 3DS Hack to Get (Illegal) Free Games

The YouTube Video has sine been removed. But, you shouldn’t be cheating to get free games anyway!

New Nintendo 3DS Hack Gives You Easy Access To Illegal Games

Huffington Post – By Damon Beres – “Nintendo’s popular 3DS video game system may have a new piracy problem.

A video posted on YouTube on Friday, which you can see above, shows off a new cartridge that, when inserted into the 3DS handheld, lets you play illegally downloaded games with the touch of a button. It’s called the Sky3DS, and it’s the latest so-called “flashcard” that lets gamers play pirated games without paying a cent. It’s expected to hit the market in one to two weeks, and it’s child’s play to set up.

Here’s why Nintendo should worry: The 3DS was the top-selling console in America last year, with more than 11.5 million units sold since its 2011 release. In total, the 3DS has sold more than 44 million units worldwide (PDF). It’s considerably more successful than Nintendo’s Wii U system, which is struggling to find a place in the market. The Sky3DS, though a niche product that needs to be ordered online, could cut into game sales that last year alone amounted to more than 16 million games globally. Games cost anywhere from $29.99 to $49.99 in the United States.

Most worrisome is the device’s simplicity. According to the video, you pop a MicroSD memory card loaded with games into the Sky3DS cartridge, power the 3DS on, and open your software. It’s that easy, and the flashcard reportedly works on any 3DS unit, including the newer, budget-priced 2DS and forthcoming “New 3DS” consoles. Here’s how it works: First, one has to find a site that hosts ROM files—game data ripped from a cartridge and uploaded to a computer—to download and put on a MicroSD card.

The process is practically the same as booting up a legally purchased 3DS game.

Flashcards — also called flash carts — have long been a thorn in Nintendo’s side. They’re available for the old Nintendo DS handhelds, which officially became obsolete when Nintendo shut down their online services earlier this year. They’re also available for the even-more-retro Game Boy Advance. In each iteration, the premise is the same: Download a bunch of games for free onto one cartridge and go nuts with all the Mario Kart and Pokemon you can stomach.

Nintendo until now skirted the issue on the 3DS with regular system updates. Though flashcards have popped up before, the Japanese game company whack-a-moled them with a system update that rendered them mostly useless. Essentially, Nintendo’s overhaul of the system’s settings interfered with software that previous flashcards needed to run.

The Sky3DS, on the other hand, says it supports the newest version of Nintendo’s hardware, which means any game released up until now will work on the flashcard as long as the user can find the files online. Plus, it doesn’t appear to require any software hacks, unlike other such devices: The Sky3DS reportedly works after simply slotting it into the 3DS like a game. That could make it harder for Nintendo to combat.

To put Nintendo’s problem in perspective, illegal downloads of last year’s popular Pokemon X and Y games have exceeded 527,000 on a popular ROM site, according to publicly available stats. For a thought experiment, imagine if each of those downloads represented a unique user who could have bought the games for $39.99 a pop: That’s a potential (if exaggerated) loss of $21,074,730 in revenue from two games alone.

Nintendo and Sky3DS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”

A Hand Held Bomb Detector

And, no, we are not talking about movies that are bombs… we are talking real bombs!

Hand-held device detects liquid bombs in 5 seconds

RT.com – “A Japanese research team has developed a bomb-detection device that can quickly determine if liquid inside a container is explosive or flammable. Once the device is manufactured, it could rapidly speed up baggage inspections at busy airports.

When checking for liquid explosives at airports, many of the devices used are cumbersome and take time to give results. Osaka University researchers said earlier this month they have developed a hand-held device that can detect whether a bottle’s contents are explosive or flammable in a matter of seconds. When placed between two cylinders that emit a LED light – using Near-Infrared Resonance – the device cross-references the light-absorption properties of the liquid with a stored database. Depending on the safety of the liquid, a lamp glows either red or green.

Already, scientists picture using the device in a variety of circumstances.

‘The device should prove useful not just in airports, but also in a variety of event venues and museums, including the Olympic games,’ Hideo Itozaki, a professor of engineering who led the team of researchers at Osaka University, told the Ashai Shimbun.

Results can take less than a second to come in if the content of the plastic bottle is ordinary like water; a less common liquid will take about five seconds to analyze. Liquids in opaque containers such as aluminum cans are inspected using a different method, whereby sensors touch the surface of the containment vessel. The device is compact and can be installed anywhere, and findings are displayed on the device, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

Developers conducted a month-long trial of the bomb-detecting device at Narita Airport’s international terminal, and hope to collaborate with a private developer to sell their hand-held device next spring.”

Malware for Your Phone – Just What You Need! (Not!)

I HATE Malware. I am OK with lining up the perps that write it and shooting them (metaphorically.) I guess.

Malicious Software Said to Spread on Android Phones

Bits Blog – New York Times – By: Nicole Perlroth – “For years security researchers have warned that it was only a matter of time before nasty digital scourges like malicious software and spam would hit smartphones.

Now they say it is has finally happened.

A particularly nasty mobile malware campaign targeting Android users has hit between four million and 4.5 million Americans since January of 2013, according to an estimate by Lookout, a San Francisco mobile security company that has been tracking the malware for about two years.

Lookout first encountered the mobile malware, called NotCompatible, two years ago and has since seen increasingly sophisticated versions. Lookout said it believes, based on attempted infections of its user base of 50 million, that the total number of people who have encountered the malware in the United States exceeds four million.

Criminals infect smartphones primarily by infecting legitimate websites with malicious code. When victims visit the site from their mobile phone, they inadvertently download the code, in what is known as a “drive-by download.”

In other cases, the attackers sent spam from hijacked email accounts to their victims. That technique, Lookout’s researchers say, successfully caused more than 20,000 infections a day. More recently, researchers say, attackers have been tricking their victims into installing the malicious code by disguising it as a ‘security patch’ in an email attachment. In others, spam emails advertised weight loss solutions with a link that served up malware to Android users.

The attackers goal, researchers say, is to infect as many smartphones as possible and turn them into a so-called botnet, a network of infected devices that can be used by attackers for various malicious purposes. Lookout’s researchers say there is evidence that Not Compatible’s authors are renting out control of infected mobile devices to people who have used them to simply send out more spam or buy up event tickets in bulk from from Ticketmaster, Live Nation, EventShopper and Craigslist. Some have used infected devices to try to crack WordPress accounts.

Lookout says the malware, now on its third iteration, allows infected devices to search for and communicate with other infected machines and share intelligence. Attackers also have found a way to encrypt communications between their command and control center and infected devices, which makes it more difficult to detect and decipher.

The latest version, Lookout said, ‘has set a new bar for mobile malware sophistication and operational complexity.’

All this malicious activity can be costly. The criminals are incurring data charges on phones that, ultimately, victims are held responsible for. As if that weren’t annoying enough, researchers say the malware causes tremendous battery drainage.

As with most malware discoveries, Lookout, the company sounding the alarm, has a stake in raising concerns about the security of mobile devices. Its mobile security application, which is available for both Apple’s iOS and Android-powered smartphones, is able to identify the NotCompatible malware and keep it from infecting Android devices that have downloaded the Lookout app.”

New Zealand Researchers Develop Hand-Held DNA Sequencer

Imagine a Hand-Held DNA sequencer! Well, now it exists!

Scientists develop hand-held DNA sequencer for infectious diseases

Healio – “New Zealand researchers have developed a novel, hand-held DNA assay capable of detecting suspected viruses and bacteria, as well as the severity of infection, according to a news release.

The battery-powered device, which utilizes quantitative PCR technology, provides results within 1 hour, potentially allowing its user to determine the presence of a pathogen and the extent of infection in samples while remaining at the site of an outbreak.

Jo-Ann Stanton, PhD, of the University of Otago, and a multidisciplinary team at the department of anatomy, collaborated on the 6-year project, which was sponsored by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The device is approximately the same weight as a typical laptop and has a 6-hour battery life. It can be connected to a computer or operate wirelessly with mobile devices running custom software.

The device, dubbed ‘Freedom4,’ was independently tested at the New Zealand Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research on a variety of infectious diseases, including gastrointestinal infections such as toxin-producing Escherichia coli and respiratory infections such as influenza A(H1N1). It was found to perform as well as laboratory-based DNA sequencing.

‘We are immensely proud that we have created this brilliant device,’ Stanton said in the release. ‘There is currently no other system in the world that compares in terms of the analytical power we have achieved at this level of mobility and ease of use.’

With that type of mobility, Freedom4 is suited to a variety of other uses, including border security, forensics and environmental monitoring, according to the university.

Stanton said the device also could be utilized by farmers, who can make diagnoses and treat animals in a single setting.

The University of Otago’s commercialization arm, Otago Innovation, is partnering with the New Zealand company Ubiquitome to market the device.”

Hand Held Hack #24 – Video – “The Hand Held Catch-up Edition”

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The $100 HP 7 Plus Android tablet, quality at a low price? At it’s ten year anniversary, PSP bites the dust. Is it a victim of the smartphone? Apple on has unveiled its new health monitoring app, its cloud-based information platform known as ‘HealthKit!’

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Hand Held Hack #24 – Audio – “The Hand Held Catch-up Edition”

The $100 HP 7 Plus Android tablet, quality at a low price? At it’s ten year anniversary, PSP bites the dust. Is it a victim of the smartphone? Apple on has unveiled its new health monitoring app, its cloud-based information platform known as ‘HealthKit!’

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