Archive for December, 2012
Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup . If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know
Refresh Roundup: week of December 17th, 2012
Eric Wolf says, “My mom found a 1976 calendar that I had doodled on as a kid. I was five or six at the time. I vaguely remember writing a few of the panels. My dad had made the squares for me. I laughed when I saw ‘boing boing’ written on one of the panels
Kid’s Boing Boing doodle, 1976
Verizon customers saw a flash of excitement this weekend when an alleged hacker claimed to have pilfered personal data for some three million of its wireless customers. Twitter user TibitXimer shared 300,000 names from the file, claiming to have collected them as early as July 12th. According to Verizon, the would-be hacker’s claims are bunk — the leaked data has been available for months, and it’s populated by Verizon FiOS customers. More importantly, Verizon says that its servers weren’t hacked at all. “There was no hack, and no access gained,” it said in a statement to The Next Web “A third party marketing firm made a mistake and information was copied.” Verizon says the leak was reported to authorities months ago, and insists that recent claims are inaccurate and exaggerated
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Hacker allegedly leaks Verizon FiOS customer data, Big Red points the finger at marketing firm
You might say the week is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workweek, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Weekly Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 7 days — all handpicked by the editors here at the site.
The Weekly Roundup for 12.17.2012
Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On , a column about consumer technology. It’s that special time of year between the holiday sales and the pre-CES hype that presents an opportunity to consider some of the most innovative devices of the year. Switched On is proud to present the Saluting Wares Improving Technology’s Contribution to Humanity awards, also known as The Switchies. This year marks the seventh annual Switchies, which are decided based on a rigorous examination of the opinion of me, and do not reflect the opinion of Engadget or its editors. For that latter honor, nominees will need to win an Engadget Award
Switched On: The 2012 Switchies, Part 1
In 2011, Eric Schmidt predicted that Google TV would be on a ‘majority’ of new TVs by summer of this year, and while his vision didn’t play out, Google could get closer to that goal a year later than expected. LG announced today that it will extend its selection of Google TV panels, which currently includes 47- and 55-inch models, to a total of five televisions — adding 42-, 50-, and 60-inch options. LG has also refreshed the hardware design of its Smart TVs, with a thin bezel and talon-like support legs. The new televisions will ship with Google TV 3.0, as well as built-in OnLive support, which was already added to LG’s G2 series of Smart TVs with Google TV in November.
I’m a serious pajama aficionado — insert blogger-in-pajamas joke here — but I tend to be a bit of a traditionalist (see what I mean?). Nevertheless, my heart skipped a beat when I saw “Suitjamas” — silk pajamas that look like a business suit. Unfortunately, all the models are posed wearing buttoned shirts and ties,
Pajamas that look like business suits
LG only experimented with a Google TV lineup in 2012; for 2013, it’s committing to the concept in earnest. The 47- and 55-inch sizes we know today should be joined by 42-, 50- and 60-inch models that cater both to frugal viewers and those who like to live large. We should also see the spruced-up designs that come with yearly updates, including newer zero-bezel frames and distinctive stands. We’re less surprised by input and software updates — all of the new screens will ship with voice-enabled Google TV and OnLive support from the get-go, and the company’s multi-talented Magic Remote is making its return. LG is remaining coy on further details beyond promising a release sometime in the first half of 2013, although there’s a good chance we’ll know more in Las Vegas
Wired profiles Athey Moravetz, a game developer who quit the business to raise her kids, who built WarpZone, a massively successful Etsy store selling 3D printed, nerdy cookie-cutters: While many homemakers have a secret cookie recipe, Moravetz has a small fleet of MakerBots. Her four MakerBot Replicators run simultaneously to keep up with the demand
Welcome to IRL , an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment. Merry Almost-Christmas, folks. Time to find out if Engadget’s editorial staff was naughty or nice this year. If our recent experiences with tech are any indication, we might be atoning for something : Billy’s external hard drive is about to die a drawn-out death and Brian’s still looking for an alternative to Apple’s lousy Podcasts app
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IRL: Western Digital MyBook external hard drives, Doxie Go and Apple’s Podcasts App
A rumored 6.1-inch Huawei phone seems to have been caught on video in the hands of executive Richard Yu. In a video uploaded yesterday, a man identified by Engadget’s Richard Lai as Yu showed off a huge hybrid phone/tablet that’s apparently the Huawei “Ascend Mate” we’ve seen in past leaks. The video doesn’t tell us much about the phone — except that it’s in working condition and very large — but it’s been said earlier to come with a 6.1-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, and a 1.8GHz quad-core processor made by Huawei’s HiSilicon company. This could be accurate, but Yu himself has taken to Sina Weibo to say that the final specs may be different, and that fans will have wait until CES for more information. The Ascend Mate isn’t the…
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Huawei executive teases massive 6.1-inch phone on video ahead of CES
Critics and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are typically the driving force behind a movie’s chance for winning an Oscar. This year, however, politicians in Washington may play a large role due to the detours of the campaigns for Oscar contenders. The New York Times looks at how the senators on Capitol Hill have become involved in discussions about political movies like Lincoln , Zero Dark Thirty , and Argo , and have drawn filmmakers like Steven Spielberg to Washington for screenings with lawmakers. Continue reading…
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Filmmakers head to Washington, DC as Oscar politics blur with the real world
Here’s ex-president George HW Bush’s public letter of resignation from the his lifetime membership to NRA, sent after Wayne “Armed guards in schools” LaPierre gave a speech blaming gun laws for the Oklahoma City bombing, implying that the victims were “jack-booted thugs” “wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” Al Whicher, who served
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Why George Bush, Sr resigned his lifetime NRA membership
USB flash drives are used for productivity, general storage, and even espionage — and in a seemingly ridiculous twist, they can now also be used as vibrators thanks to the Duet Lux. The New York Times looks at this new device: a memory drive that doubles as a vibrator using a silicone tip. The invention was originally intended purely for use as a vibrator that could be recharged via USB, but the compact design led focus group testers to ask if it could also be used for storage. As unusual as it sounds, the booming vibrator market is nothing to scoff at; the NYT says several companies have been working on making the vibrator a “lifestyle product” through design and innovation. Continue reading…
On December 31st, Newsweek magazine will end its print run, shifting its content to an online-only format called Newsweek Global . It’s now posted the cover of the final issue on Twitter, showing a stark black and white photograph of the old Newsweek Building in New York — which the magazine itself vacated in 1994. While it’s eye-catching and pretty timeless, Newsweek couldn’t seem to resist topping the whole thing off with a hashtag, apparently either hoping people will take to Twitter to post about the #LastPrintIssue or just unable to resist a bid for relevancy. On sister site The Daily Beast , senior writer Andrew Romano has published an oral history of the iconic magazine, which he lauds as “a bygone form of group journalism… Continue reading…
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Newsweek ends its 80-year print run with a hashtagged cover
The folks over at Dijit have been busy as the year draws to an end, issuing updates for both their universal remote app and NextGuide tablet app that promises to help us escape traditional grids. The newest version of the Dijit remote (a free app that brings control features when paired with Griffin’s Beacon ) is now integrated with NextGuide, allowing users to share profiles across the software, the welcome addition of a “record to DVR” button for DirecTV subscribers, a refreshed UI, accessibility enhancements and finally support for iThing screens of various shapes, sizes and resolutions. The NextGuide app itself also has a new feature, with “Clips” which pulls in additional short videos from Hulu that tie into whatever actor, show or anything else you may be watching, plus an easier setup process and autofill search box. The apps themselves are free, snag them at the source links below. Filed under: Tablets , Software , HD Comments Source: Dijit Remote (iTunes) , NextGuide (iTunes)
Amazon’s review system has played host to everything from absurdist humor to political grandstanding to the much more mundane practice of inflating a product’s score with fake or reviews. Now, The New York Times says , the site is cracking down on book reviews, with mixed results. Some writers say reviews by direct relatives or longtime fans have been purged, but others have successfully urged people who haven’t even read their book to rate it, a practice Amazon allows.
Universal and Sony Music have both had their YouTube view-counts and channels drastically cut by YouTube. A spokesman for YouTube was cryptic about the slashing, saying “This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy.” The DailyDot repeats speculation from Black Hat World (“a forum where users
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YouTube confiscates 2 billion views from Universal and Sony
James Rodriguez, a brave and talented photojournalist in Guatemala, has a striking photo-essay up on his blog. On this occasion I share a photo essay documenting events in the Guatemalan northern city of Huehuetenango during the much-awaited end of the Mayan Oxlajuj Baktun. These provide a clear reflection of the divisions and challenges faced by
Photo: The Guatemalan gov’t. Tourism board’s “official” Oxlajuj Baktun celebration (modification mine—XJ). At Global Voices, Renata Avila writes about how indigenous practitioners of traditional Maya spiritual practices were once again marginalized on the day where it seemed everyone in the world was talking about “ancient Mayan beliefs.” What a crock and an outrage. Guatemala, the
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Mayan Priests denied access to Guatemala ceremonial sites
We all know the feeling. You’re sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn’t cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it’s one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it’s better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again. Grab these as a Readlist .
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The best writing of the week, December 23
Redditor Ellepea27 painted this great Calvin and Hobbes illustration on a guitar she’s refurbishing with BigWiggly1. She painted it over the course of six hours in one sitting. The idea is to put a clear-coat over it and make it into a playable instrument. My girlfriend and I are refinishing my old guitar.
Calvin and Hobbes guitar refurb
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green. Christmas is right around the corner, and for all of you procrastinators out there, we recently shared our handy guide to last-minute gifts that can be whipped up in the 11th hour . We also have some great suggestions for non-consumerist gifts of time and if you’re crafty, don’t forget to check out our DIY guide for cool make-it-yourself gift ideas like these useful texting gloves and this curiously strong solar charger upcycled from an old Altoids tin .