Wednesday, September 30, 2015

NVIDIA Introduces GeForce NOW $8 Per Month Game Streaming Service

When most geeks think streaming the first thought that comes to mind is likely video streaming through NetFlix or Hulu or audio streaming through Spotify or Rhapsody. Few if any would think of video game streaming (unless of course you used the now defunct OnLive service) and if they did it would likely be game video streams on sites like Twitch, Ustream or the new YouTube Gaming service. However, today that may change as NVIDIA has just announced GeForce NOW, an on-demand gaming service for the company's SHIELD family of gaming devices.

"GeForce NOW is all about instant gratification. But it took us a decade to invent the technology behind the service that streams GeForce GTX-quality graphics to SHIELD devices," Nvidia stated in a blog post. "GeForce NOW is your game library in the sky. See all the titles we offer from a game series at a glance — like the LEGO collection or the Batman Arkham series — for binge gaming. Use voice search to find your favorite games. Search through games by category. Or quickly browse the latest and most popular games."

NVIDIA has said that GeForce NOW will stream games at 1080p and 60 frames per second (depending on the users connection speeds). This will make it the first non-beta cloud-gaming service capable of such his resolutions and frame-rates. It will launch with over 50 titles included in your $7.99 membership fee. Most of them are slightly older games such as Batman: Arkham Origins, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, to name just a few.

NVIDIA will also offer newer "Buy and Play Instantly" titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ($60) and Saints Row IV ($20). In other words, some games will be available for sale. As a bonus those just wanting to try out the new program will get a free three month trial when it launches next month. You can find more details via NVIDIA's Shield Blog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Google Unveils New Chromecast and Chromecast Audio Devices

Two years ago when Google first announced the Chromecast streaming was still relatively new to most would be users and while most of us geeks had been using the few options that were available it was until the Chromecast and its super affordable price tag that we started seeing more mainstream adoption.

While the Chromecast has been a major hit (along with several of the newer streaming devices) we have always begged for more and while over the past couple years Google has been awesome enough to offer some updates with some cool new features we’ve been waiting for a true upgrade. The wait is over: At today’s Google Nexus event, Google debuted two new Chromecasts for television and audio as well as a much needed update to the Chromecast App.

New Faster Chromecast For Video Streaming

The new Chromecast features more power, better antennas, and all new fresh design, and is easier to plug into TVs with crowded ports thanks to an integrated HDMI cable. It supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and adapts more easily to changing Wi-Fi conditions in your home, so you get higher quality video with less buffering.

In addition to a new faster device Google updated the Chromecast app to make it easier for you to find the content you want to watch or to play. They have also added several new content partners including Showtime and support for Sling TV and apps from the NBA, NHL, and other partners. The update also adds support for Google Photos and the creation of slideshows so you can show of your favorite photos!

Chromecast Audio For Wireless Audio Streaming

Chromecast Audio is a new audio streaming device that turns any speaker set into a set of Wi-Fi speakers. Users can plug Chromecast Audio into existing devices using a 1/8-inch headphone jack (AUX), RCA cables or optical input. Once it's plugged in, users can control the speaker using the Chromecast App. That means that any existing Bluetooth speakers, surround sound speakers, bookshelf speaker, or regular desktop speakers can be turned into smart home speakers.

It works with tons of apps, including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music. Just like Chromecast, it works from anywhere in your home with your favorite devices, including Android, iOS, and laptops.

Both devices are available starting today on the Google Store and other online retailers for just $35 each. For more details on either device, or more about today's other announcements (there are a few great ones we didn't cover), checkout the Official Google Blog.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Security Company Offers $1 Million Bounty For iOS 9 Bugs and Exploits

Security is big business these days and bug bounty programs are becoming more and more lucrative with a large number of companies out there now offering some sort of reward to researchers and would be hackers for finding and disclosing exploits. One company however that has been late to the foray has notably been Apple.

While Apple has elected to keep themselves out of the 'pay for vulnerabilities' business, that hasn't sopped others from doling out loads of cash for exploits that impact Apple's software. Zerodium, an exploit acquisition company, stepped up where Apple has not with an impressive promise to pay up to $3 million to security researchers who can provide them with an “exclusive, browser-based, and untethered jailbreak for the latest Apple iOS 9 operating system and devices.”

"Apple iOS, like all operating system[s], is often affected by critical security vulnerabilities," Zerodium said in an announcement. "However due to the increasing number of security improvements and the effectiveness of exploit mitigations in place, Apple's iOS is currently the most secure mobile OS.

"But don't be fooled, secure does not mean unbreakable, it just means that iOS has currently the highest cost and complexity of vulnerability exploitation," the company continued. "And here's where the Million Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty comes into play."

The Million Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty is tailored for experienced security researchers, reverse engineers, and jailbreak developers, and is an offer made by Zerodium to pay out a total of three million U.S. dollars ($3,000,000.00) in rewards for iOS exploits/jailbreaks.

The initial attack vector must be a Web page targeting the mobile browser or any application reachable through the browser, or a text message delivered via a SMS OR MMS. Plus, the exploitation process should be achievable "remotely, reliably, silently, and without requiring any user interaction" except visiting a website or reading a message, Zerodium said. The jailbreak must also work reliably on the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 5, 5c, and 5s, as well as iPad Air 2, iPad Air, fourth-gen iPad, third-gen iPad, iPad mini 4, and iPad mini 2.

Zerodium will pay out one million U.S. dollars ($1,000,000.00) to each individual or team who creates and submits to Zerodium an exclusive, browser-based, and untethered jailbreak for the latest Apple iOS 9 operating system and devices. The program is open until Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. Eastern. But keep an eye on Zerodium's website, as the bug bounty may end early, once the $3 million payout is depleted.

For those interested in taking a chance at the reward you can view the full details and terms of the program here.

We feel we should also mention there are at least a few concerns over what Zerodium's intentions with the vulnerability are.! Our brethren of geeks over at Engadget, have warned hackers to beware of Zerodium as founder Chaouki Bekrar has a history of selling exploits to the highest bidder, rather than disclosing issues to the manufacturer. In fact, Zerodium does not want these vulnerabilities patched—at least not until it can resell them for a profit, Engadget said.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Amazon's New $50 7" Fire Tablet, What You Need to Know

Amazon today introduced a new extremely budget friendly 7" Fire tablet that will offer you plenty of features as well as some of your favorite Amazon exclusives all for under $50. The new Fire tablet includes a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 7” IPS display featuring 171 ppi and 1024 x 600 resolution, which Amazon is calling the "best display on any tablet under $50", VGA front camera and 2MP rear-facing camera, 8GBs of internal storage and up to 128GB of expandable storage.

“Today, we’re taking another step in our mission to deliver premium products at non-premium prices,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. “The all-new Fire features a quad-core processor, is incredibly durable, and is backed by the Amazon content ecosystem, the new Amazon Underground, and Amazon customer service with Mayday Screen Sharing. Fire sets a new bar for what customers should expect from a low cost tablet.”

In today's market it isn't impossible to find a decent working tablet for around $50. Unfortunately though you are generally talking about an off-brand tablet that may or may not have a functional app store present and will have limited to no support from the company that produces it. Amazon, on the other hand, is a big company with a pretty solid reputation and offers plenty of backing for its products.

While the $50 price tag give some users concerns that they are getting something under-whelming or under performing the 7" tablet actually packs some pretty decent specs and of course it is hard to beat the load of freebies you get from Amazon, especially if you load on an Amazon Prime membership.

Fire - Decent Features In A Quality Tablet At An Affordable Price

For just $49.99, the new Fire tablet includes some pretty decent specs:
  • 7” IPS display offers 1024 x 600 resolution at 171 ppi, providing SD video playback, sorry no HD here. However, unlike other low-cost tablets that use TN displays your viewing experience should be fairly reasonable with vivid and accurate color reproduction that can be seen at all angles.
  • Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM: Amazon states the Fire's processor offers 2x more processing power than Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite at less than half the price. We'd really like to have seen more RAM to be honest, but the CPU performance sounds impressive!
  • VGA Front- and 2MP rear-facing camera capable of 720p video. While these do seem underwhelming they do allow you to complete the basics like video chatting with friends and family or taking photos and videos.
  • 8GBs of storage and up to 128GB of expandable storage via microSD
  • All-day battery life—Delivers up to 7 hours of reading, browsing the web, listening to music, and watching video. 
  • Fire OS 5 “Bellini”—Includes an updated user interface that replicates the look and feel of a magazine, making browsing and searching for your content easier than ever—what you want is just one tap away; plus, Fire OS 5 includes hundreds of new and upgraded features and platform updates, plus Amazon-exclusive services. 
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack and integrated speaker, Micro USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security
  • Size & Weight: 7.5" x 4.5" x 0.4" (191 x 115 x 10.6 mm) at just 11.0 ounces (313 grams)

Don't Forget The Amazon Exclusive Features

The Fire Tablet will also come packed with plenty of Amazon exclusive features and is packed with plenty of freebies!
  • Amazon Underground—A new one-of-a-kind app store experience where over $10,000 in apps, games and even in-app items are actually free—including extra lives, unlocked levels, unlimited add-on packs, and more. 
  • Free, unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content including unlimited storage on photos you've taken with your Fire tablet
  • Activity Center—For parents whose kids have outgrown Amazon FreeTime, Activity Center provides an easy way for them to see how their kids are spending time on their Fire tablet—from how much time they spend playing games, to which websites they visit. Activity Center will be available via a free, over-the-air Fire OS update in the coming months.
  • Mayday Screen Sharing lets an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, available 24x7, 365 days a year—for free.
  • Amazon-exclusive features—ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Word Runner, and more.
  • Access to over 38 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps, and games
We have yet to see any real world reviews of the new Fire Tablet, we expect those to come in soon, but with all these features and the great price tag we wouldn’t be surprised if the new Fire becomes a favorite among parents or students looking for a cheap alternative tablet or a gift their children. For families looking to give a Fire to everyone, Amazon is even selling a six-pack for the price of 5 tablets. At $250 for six, that’s still cheaper than many people pay for just one tablet from most other companies!

Fire will start shipping on September 30—those interested can order at and for those looking for a bit more real estate and want a little more screen space Amazon has also released two new 8" and 10.1" Fire tablets that will offer even more performance and still won't break the budget!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Apple's First True Android App Is Used For Switching to iOS

It may seem a bit ironic that after years of avoid anything Android related Apple has finally released the company's very first Android app and of all things it is aimed at stealing the hearts and souls of Android users and converting them to iOS!

Originally announced during this year's WWDC event, and currently available on the Google Play store, Apple’s new app which is aptly dubbed 'Move to iOS' makes for an easier transition for Android users who are defecting to iOS. The app utilizes a private Wi-Fi network to connect your old Android device to your new iPhone for a quick and easy transfer of your old phone's contents, including messaging history, camera photos, videos, contacts, mail accounts and more.

Everything about iOS is designed to be easy. That includes switching to it. With just a few steps, you can migrate your content automatically and securely from your Android device with the Move to iOS app. No need to save your stuff elsewhere before switching from Android. The Move to iOS app securely transfers all kinds of content for you:
  • Contacts
  • Message history
  • Camera photos and videos
  • Web bookmarks
  • Mail accounts
  • Calendars

When you choose to migrate your data, your new iPhone or iPad will create a private Wi-Fi network and find your nearby Android device running Move to iOS. After you enter a security code, it will begin transferring your content and put it in the right places. Just like that. Once your content has been transferred, you’re ready to get going. iOS will also set up your default mail account. That’s it — you can start using your new iPhone or iPad and experiencing its endless possibilities. Enjoy.

Move to iOS is supported on all phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and later.

 In conjunction with the app’s release, Apple also has a support document that interested users might want to check out before getting started.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Crowdfunding Site Fortua May Help Fund Your Next Vacation

Unless you've been hiding in the backwoods for the past few years by now, you've probably heard of and likely shelled out some of your own hard earned cash for at least one crowdfunding campaign. Maybe you helped finance one of the newest geek gadgets out there, or helped your old college roommate fund his latest new folk music album, or maybe it was dishing out cash for someone to make potato salad.

Crowdfunding is catching more and more steam for some of the craziest projects you've likely never herd of. Whether they be worthwhile causes like helping out entrepreneurs with their latest endeavors or donating funds to help victims of disasters or just funding someone's wildest dreams! However, these days it isn't just for underresourced creatives. The newest kid on the block, Fortua, launched just last month as a crowdfunding option for athletes, event organizers, and entrepreneurs in the outdoor adventure space.

Fortua campaigns cover a wide range of concepts—users can raise money for documentaries, books, events, gear startups, or specialty outdoor events (think camp-outs, 4wheeling treks ect). Some conservation groups have even taken to the site and already used it to pay for trail restoration projects.

Luckily for us outdoor adventurous types of geeks the site opens the door to a new creative way to potentially fund our wildest outdoor adventurers. With the right pitch, the site could potentially be used to find other outdoor enthusiasts that might possibly be willing to help fund, or share costs for personal trips. The catch there is that like most crowdfunding sites you'll need some good marketing skills and personality!

Users can use Fortua to run a Keep-it-All campaigns, in which they keep all donations regardless of how much they raise, or a All-or-Nothing campaign, in which backers are only charged if the campaign reaches its target goal. In either case, Fortua takes a 5% cut of the funds raised and charges a 2.9% fee for per contribution. Additionally one percent of Fortua's revenue is donated annually to 1% for the Planet to protect natural places, forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, and wildlife for generations to come.

The service is still pretty new, so most of the campaigns hosted on the site are still "sample campaigns" put up by Fortua itself. But the results of the site's few real campaigns suggest that it really will prove to be a powerful fundraising tool—in just a few weeks, several projects have raised tens of thousands of dollars.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Starting Today You Can Use Android Pay at More Than 1 Million Locations

Starting today Google is rolling out its second attempt at cracking the mobile payments market with Android Pay, their much anticipated follow-up to Google Wallet which looks to take on competitors such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay (currently in beta). The new service will feature similar payment options as Google Wallet and Apple Pay featuring support from many banks and credit card companies and as such is already supported by over 1 million locations in the U.S.

According to Google's official announcement, Android Pay works with all NFC-enabled Android devices (running KitKat 4.4+), on any mobile carrier, at every tap and pay ready location across the US. Android Pay will support credit and debit cards from the four major payment networks: American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. These cards are issued by many of the most popular US banks and credit unions, including American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, USAA, and U.S. Bank. Wells Fargo will be available in the next few days, Capital One and Citi are coming soon, and we're adding new banks all the time.

Android Pay boast several new security features that pick up where Google Wallet left off, most notably  the use of industry standard tokenization. Through tokenization your real credit or debit card number isn't sent with your payment. Instead, a temporary virtual account number is used that prevents retailers from ever seeing or storing your actual account information poviding an extra layer of security.

As soon as you make a purchase, you’ll see a payment confirmation that shows where a given transaction happened, so it’s easy to catch any suspicious activity. And if your phone is ever lost or stolen, simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or even wipe it clean of your personal information.

Later this year, Android Pay will be updated to allow you to do mobile checkout when buying items in shopping apps, and some merchants will even let you transmit your loyalty cards electronically. So you can pay and get your points or discounts all with one tap of your phone.

Microsoft Downloads Windows 10 to All PCs With Automatic Updates

We may think Windows 10 is a hit but that doesn't mean that everyone is ready for the upgrade, nor does that mean that everyone really wants to make the leap just yet. Unfortunately it sounds as though Microsoft might be making a stronger push than you'd expect for user to update.

According to reports from an Inquirer reader, which were later confirmed by Microsoft, Windows 10 is being pushed out to users 'just in case' they decide to upgrade, even if they have previously declined the reservation offer or have yet to reserve their free upgrade.

In their confirmation to the Inquirer a Microsoft spokesperson explained the reasoning behind the move: “For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

In other words for users that have automatic updates enabled on their Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft is pushing the download of Windows 10 upgrade files in order to expedite the upgrade process should the user later decide to upgrade.

At the face of it this may not seem like a big deal, some conspiracy theories aside for most it wouldn't be, however if you are on a limited connection or are using a machine with limited space the download will eat up a big chunk of data. The Inquirer reader noted his PC showed a few odd symptoms as well as major chunk of data being used. He stated : The symptoms are repeated failed 'Upgrade to Windows 10' in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled '$Windows.~BT'.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Amazon Offers Free 5600 mAh Battery Pack For New Amazon Prime Trial

For a limited time Amazon is offering up a free Amazon Basics 5600 mAh battery pack, valued at $20, just for signing up for a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. The free deal is of course in addition to all the great perks you get from having Amazon Prime, like free streaming of all of the movies and videos available to Prime users and of course free two day shipping as well as any other Prime perks.

To cash in on the deal you need to sign up for a 30-day trial with an account that has never been associated with Prime!. To get started, you’ll need to visit Amazon’s promotion page (link via Android Authority) and begin the free trial. Within 72 hours, you’ll get a special email code and the directions needed to get your new battery for free. After that, you can cancel Prime at any time and it won’t affect your eligibility for the free battery, though Amazon is banking on the idea that most of trial users will end up letting their subscription renew at $99 (for an entire year’s service) after the 30-day trial ends.

Again this offer is for a limited time and Amazon has not offered details of how long that will last. So you may want to act fast.

As for the battery pack it may not sound like anything special but the reviews on the units are fairly fvorable. It is one of Amazon's specially branded items dubbed AmazonBasics. It features a 5600 mAh Portable Power Bank capable of charging smartphones, tablets and other portable devices on-the-go through a USB port. Amazon says you can use the power bank to charge popular devices like an iPhone 5 (2.6 times), Nexus (2.2 times), Galaxy S5 (1.4 times), or the Galaxy Note III (1.2 times).