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”

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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Apple HealthKit App Announced

Hand Held devices are certainly changing the way we do many things. Can they change health care as well?

Apple reveals newest app. Could it change health care?

The Advisory Board – Dan Diamond, Managing Editor – “After months of anticipation, Apple on Monday unveiled its new Health app, its cloud-based information platform known as ‘HealthKit,’ and a slew of new partnerships with Epic Systems, Mayo Clinic, and a number of other hospitals.

The open question: Will Apple’s big play for the health care market end up changing the industry—and if so, how soon?

The much-anticipated announcement came during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, with Apple touting how its new iOS 8 operating system will allow developers to generate new health and fitness apps.

Here are three key takeaways.

That Apple is rolling out two separate platforms: Health and HealthKit

When screenshots of Apple’s new venture were first leaked, it was thought that there would be a single app, which at the time was code-named ‘Healthbook.’ (You can read up on the background for Healthbook here.)
Instead, Apple split their offering into two separate platforms. ‘Health’ is the user-facing application, designed to be the catch-all that gives users a sense for basic metrics and key wellness measures.

Meanwhile, Apple’s new HealthKit is the platform that integrates data from across different providers and is open to developers. ‘With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness,’ according to an Apple release.

‘For example, your blood pressure app could share its data with a physician app, such as the Mayo Clinic app, so your doctor can provide high-quality guidance and care.’

Apple’s partnership with Epic

It’s still unclear exactly how the alliance between the nation’s leading provider of smartphones and the health industry’s dominant seller of electronic records is structured, or what it’s intended to produce for doctors and hospitals.

However, the announcement that the two companies have teamed up suggests that Apple and Epic have developed ‘a framework for getting information collected via HealthKit into patients’ MyChart app,’ Jonah Comstock writes at mobihealthnews. That could potentially strengthen Epic’s position and make their charts even more useful to doctors and hospitals, as Apple’s widely used iPhones might drive more comprehensive data collection.

Other observers were less charitable—especially given the simmering issues in the industry over interoperability. ‘Two closed systems sync up,’ Matthew Holt, a co-founder of The Health Care Blog, groused on Twitter. (Unlike some of its competitors’ products, Apple’s iOS is famously a ‘closed garden’ and not readily interoperable—even with other Apple products.)
Related: Reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks of an Epic implementation

The company’s partnerships with providers

Beyond the much-discussed alliance with Mayo Clinic, Apple also has teamed up with Stanford Hospitals, UCLA, and even Cambridge University Hospitals NHS. (The company posted a list of provider partners as part of its talk.)

In a statement, Mayo Clinic’s John Noseworthy said that his organization is ‘proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology.’

‘We believe Apple’s HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people,’ Noseworthy added.

What it means

Adam Powell, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate, told FierceMobileHealthcare that Apple’s entry into the mobile health market is a sign that the market is ‘ready to explode.’

‘Apple tends to wait on the sidelines,’ Powell added. ‘It didn’t produce the first mp3 player, smartphone or tablet, but was successful in popularizing those devices upon entering their respective markets.’

Apple’s announcement was also interestingly timed: The Worldwide Developers Conference in San Diego coincided with Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C., where many health IT leaders were discussing the future of data collection and personal care management.

Speaking at Health Datapalooza, Jay Nagy of the Advisory Board pointed to a recent survey that more than 50% of consumers are interested in buying wearable technologies, such as fitness monitors. Nagy also noted the broader industry push toward collecting clinically relevant data outside of clinical settings—which puts pressure on providers to learn how to partner with patients on data collection.

Apple’s announcement may add some pressure, too.”

The PSP is No More

PSP bites the dust. Is it a victim of the phone?

PSP Says B-Y-E As Sony Discontinues Handheld In Japan

Game Informer – “The PSP has sold close to 80 million units worldwide, and as it nears its 10th birthday, it’s time to say goodbye. Sony, which has already discontinued shipments to North America, is sunsetting the system at home.

The Vita hasn’t found the same success yet, and Sony has been quiet on sales numbers. The company did share that sales of the handheld spiked 163 percent following the launch of the PlayStation 4, but without a baseline for comparison, that statistic is hard to contextualize. Sony has admitted recently (via an interview in Play) that the Vita has not lived up to expectations and likely won’t reach the PSP’s level of success.”

A New Name-Brand Cheap Tablet!

Cheap HP Tablet

Just under one hundred bucks for a name-brand tablet? Wow! Soon, there will be no reason not to have one!

$100 HP 7 Plus Android tablet launches in the US

Liliputing – “HP started selling a low-cost Android tablet in Europe a few months ago, and now it’s available in the United States. The HP 7 Plus isn’t going to win any design or performance awards… but it has at least one thing going for it: The tablet is dirt cheap.

The HP 7 Plus is available from HP.com for just $100.

For that price you get a tablet with a quad-core processor, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, and up to 5.5 hours of battery life. Here’s a run-down of the specs:

  • 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel IPS display
  • 1 GHz Allwinner A31 ARM Cortex-A7 processor
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB storage + microSD card slot
  • 2MP rear camera and 0.3Mp front-facing camera
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi with Miracast wireless display support
  • 2800mAh battery
  • 7.6″ x 4.8″ 0.32″
  • 10.4 ounces

HP also throws in 25GB of free lifetime storage with cloud storage service Box and includes Kingsoft Office software.

The tablet is Google certified and comes with access to the Google Play Store.

While the battery life and screen resolution aren’t exactly stellar, they should be good enough for basic, around-the-house use. If you want a more powerful device, HP has models with higher-resolution displays, faster processors, and other superior features for $150 and up.

It’s still hard to find a tablet that offers better bang for your buck than the Google Nexus 7, but with prices for that tablet starting at $229, the HP 7 Plus looks like an interesting option for bargain hunters… and provides yet another data point showing just how much better today’s dirt cheap tablets are than those of yesteryear.”