Friday, December 09, 2016

Want to Keep Using Your Galaxy Note 7 You Better Not Upgrade It After December 19th!

Samsung is fairly adamant about the fact that they don't want any of the remaining Galaxy Note 7 devices out there to cause issues. So much so that they have confirmed plans to release an update to the devices that will essentially make them useless!

In their announcement Samsung states:
Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned.

To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices.

If you have not yet returned your device, you should immediately power it down and contact your carrier to obtain a refund or exchange.

With about 93% of US sold Note 7 returned Samsung still has about 133,000 phones unaccounted for. Meaning that despite all of the warnings and offers Samsung has made., some of you are opting to hold on to your devices and run the risk of the defective batteries causing issues. While I personally wouldn't opt for that option and would have returned by device following the recall. I can understand wanting to hold on to your phone. Especially since there just isn't anything out there to fully replace it.

If you are one of the bold few that don't want to heed Samsung's warnings and don't want to take advantage of Samsung's full refund and up to a $100 bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets. Then you better avoid any future software updates as it looks like they are going to do their best to brick your phones.

Update: Verizon has just confirmed that they will not be pushing the update during the holiday season as they are concerned that it may leave some customers without a device to use. they are further concerned that the update may make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation. They are however, still urging everyone to take advantage of the current offers for a full refund, exchange and/or the $100 credit.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Apple May Owe You A Free Battery Here's How to Find Out

If you are an iPhone 6S owner and have been having issues with your battery suddenly running flat or your device suddenly shutting down the problem may not just be you. It may in fact be due to a faulty battery and Apple may owe you a free replacement.

According to Apple's support page the problem affects "a very small number" of iPhone 6S handsets manufactured in September and October of 2015. The phone affected are limited to specific serial run so finding out if you are one of the afflicted is pretty easy! All you need is the serial number of your iPhone 6S and you can check it on the linked support page.

To find your iPhone 6S's serial number, go to Settings > General > About.

Once you have your serial number check it here.   If you qualify for a free battery replacement, you can take your iPhone 6S to an Apple retail store or an Apple authorized service provider, or contact Apple Support about sending in your phone for repair.

It should be noted that if you have any other issues with your phone such as a cracked screen Apple will require that it be repaired prior to replacing your battery. In either case Apple suggest that you make sure to prep your phone before you take it in, or send it off. To do so start by Back up your data to iTunes or iCloud. Then make sure you turn off Find my iPhone. Finally erase all your personal information and data by going to data and settings in Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.

If you believe your iPhone 6s was affected by this issue, and you paid to replace your battery, you can contact Apple about a refund.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Geek Gadgets: Inateck BP1109 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Reivew

Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, so when it comes to finding one that is perfect for you your decision will often boil down to only a few things. How good the sound quality is. How portable the speaker is and how long the battery will last. Typically though,  little thought is given toward the aesthetics of  your speaker. The Inateck BP1109 might just change that!

Even though it appears as though they have been around for a few years, for most Inateck is going to be an unfamiliar name. The company offers all kinds of accessories or upgrades, including Expansion Cards, Power Supplies & Batteries, Cables & Tools, Wireless Accessories and Cell Phone Accessories. However, they specialize in HDD docking stations and enclosures as well as USB cables, chargers and other USB add-on solution. 

The Inateck BP1109 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is one of the company's newer offerings, though they have had a few different line-ups of wireless speakers in the past. The BP1109 aims to be ultra-portable without sacrificing style. It is built almost entirely from aluminum which offers a sleek modern design.

The circular design and slender 78x34mm (approx 3"x1.25") body makes it easy to slip into a bag. Unfortunately the speaker is a bit hefty. Weighing 260g which makes it conspicuous for a device of these dimensions. The weight certainly isn't ideal for carrying in a pocket! The majority of the weight comes from the reasonably-sized battery. It offers 6 hours of playback from 1-2 hours of charging.

The top of the device houses the plastic speaker grille. On the bottom, you'll find the basic control panel, a series of four buttons for volume, track transport, power, input mode and play and pause. A small panel on the back houses the charging port, 3.5mm input jack and a Micro SD card slot. You can play music over Bluetooth, via a traditional cable or directly from your Micro SD card. 

Unlike the beeps and chirps of other Bluetooth accessories, the BP1109 will say "Bluetooth on" and "Waiting for Bluetooth connection" when you turn it on, making it obvious what state the device is in. With a Micro SD card inserted into the speaker it will default to "TS Mode" and will automatically detect and play whatever media files are found on the card.

Inateck says the aluminum uni-body design enables the 3.2W speaker to project music "loud and clear" and eliminate excessive sound resonance. For the most part the circular design offers impressive volumes levels, and reasonable sound. Since the speaker is omnidirectional sound travels upward and out offering no real sense of direction or immersion which for some could be a negative. This works well however in an outdoor environment or group setting allowing for more overall sound dispersion something we saw as a bonus!

In testing sound quality was reasonable, but inconsistent based on the types of music played and overall range of the songs listened to. Songs with a heavy bass line bleed out at higher volumes, while songs with more of a mid-range focus came through loud and clear.

Conclusion
I listen to a wide range of music so I tested our Inateck BP1109 with everything from country to classical to jazz to rock and roll. I even threw in some house and heavy bass laden techno just to see where we'd stand, and all of them came through at respectable levels. Given the speaker is meant to be ultra-portable it won't knock you over, but it does offer enough volume to drown out the noisy neighbors or bother the old folks sitting pool-side force-ably listening along with you!
Pros
- Achieves great volume level with dispersive sound
- Stylish design looks good while adding to the portability
- Can play music directly from a micro SD card - a major plus in my book
Cons
- Sound quality is inconsistent and can degrade at higher volumes
- Lacking in bass output
- Surprisingly high in weight relative to its size
Sound quality and clarity of course are very subjective and we each have our own preferences here. As I previously mentioned my experience was a bit inconsistent with some songs sounding great and others 'just ok'. At $20, the speaker is well-priced and has a build quality usually reserved for more expensive devices. On form and design alone I could give it a nod above some of the other units on the market in the same price range.

Battery life is rated at 6 hours, which most manufactures in our opinion over rate. So during our testing we hadn't expected the results we actually saw! We ran our speaker for 3 straight hours with no issues. Ran it again the next day for almost another 3 hours straight and honestly ran out of testing time for our day. I was actually shocked! We didn't get to test the full out to dead time, not because the battery ran out, but because we wanted to re-charge the speaker for other tests and just couldn't keep going till it died!

Overall I'm going to say I'm really surprised with our Inateck BP1109. It is considerably louder than the rest of the BT Speakers I have in the office right now and hold a charge considerably longer than anything I've had the chance to test. I wish the sound quality was a bit better, but I'll give this speaker a thumbs up!! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ticketmaster May See Some Real Competition Thanks to Amazon Tickets Expansion

We've all felt the pain of buying of having to buy tickets to our favorite concerts, shows and sporting events through Ticketmaster. Whether it be site issues, like constant crashes or lagging, or just the pain to our wallets from what most (like me) feel are trumped up convenience fees! Unfortunate as it is Ticketmaster holds a rather tight reign on the market. Thankfully we may soon see some real competition, and from a company that could set off some big waves!

According to reports from Ars Technica and Recode Amazon is looking to expand their Amazon Tickets Service, which until now has been a UK exclusive! The reports cite a number of job listings for Amazon Tickets positions based in Seattle, Washington found on the company's employment website. One such listing for a "Technical Program Manager, Amazon Tickets" offers the following job description:
Amazon Tickets is a start-up business with a vision of becoming Earth’s most customer-centric ticketing company, a place where event-goers can come to find and discover any ticket they might want to buy online. Amazon launched the Tickets business in the UK in 2015 and today offers customers the ability to purchase tickets to music, theater, and comedy events at great prices with a convenient purchase experience and world-class and customer support. As we grow our team to support our rapid expansion we are looking for talented individuals to join us in delighting customers and having some fun along the way.

If you are looking for opportunities to grow, and want to have fun while making history – join us!
Another listing discovered by Recode opens the door to an even more promising venture dubbed Prime Tickets. According to the report Amazon's hiring efforts are part of a new initiative to “position Amazon Tickets as the world’s premier destination for purchasing tickets.” According to the job listings Prime Tickets would integrate ticket sales into the Prime membership program, though details of how that would play out are yet unknown.

Prime Tickets, now that could be a real game changer! Exactly how Amazon could make it work is unclear, but as Ars Technica points out, it's possible that Prime Tickets could offer discounted tickets to Prime members if the service is indeed tied to the annual $99 membership.

Amazon first launched Amazon Tickets in the U.K. last year to sell tickets to concerts featuring artists like Elton John and theater performances such as “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon.” Part of the company’s pitch has been that it displays ticket fees up front, and customers can easily pay with the payment method they have on file with Amazon. Expansion into other major markets means that Amazon has clearly had some success with the program. However, expansion into the US could be a bit more difficult, especially in terms of offering any sort of discount.

Live Nation (Ticketmaster's parent company) already holds a very dominant position here in the US. Which also means they hold a lot of bargaining power with venues and artits, mostly due to special deals that artists and venues strike up with ticket companies, and even some credit card companies that offer priority seating or special pricing for cardholders. Amazon would have to convince them to alter those agreements and open the door to competition, which won't be easy. If anyone can do it though it would be a company like Amazon that has more than 300 million active users and more than 50 million active Amazon Prime users.

Most of the Tickets job postings were updated within the past week, but there's no word on when a US-based Amazon Tickets could debut, or if in fact it will ever truly come to fruition. I can only hope at this point!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Play Overwatch Free For A Weekend Starting November 18th

If you haven't checked out Blizzard's Overwatch yet then here is your chance! The company is making Overwatch free to play next weekend  with full access to all 13 maps and 22 characters. For those that enjoy the game Blizzard will save your weekend's worth of progress should you choose to take the plunge and purchase the game. Just be sure to use the same Battle.net, Xbox Live or Sony Entertainment account that you played on.


The free to play weekend if open for gamers running either a PC, PS4 or Xbox One! And you'll have a full weekend of gaming excitement between November 18th and 21st! For more details and to learn how you can participate, read on below!
One thing to note is that PS4 and Xbox One players will need a PlayStation Plus and Xbox Gold subscription to take advantage of this offer while Windows PC users will be required to have a Battle.net account.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Samsung Invites Galaxy S7 Owners to Test Drive Android 7.0 Nougat


For owners of Samsung's Galaxy S7 you now have a chance to test out the latest Android operating system offered by Google, Android 7.0 Nougat. Samsung has opened the doors to a new ‘Galaxy Beta Program’ which will give users a sneak peek into what Samsung and Google have in store for the new operating system.

The Galaxy Beta Program, opens today, and will be open to all Galaxy S7 and S7 edge users residing in the U.S., U.K., and Korea, with users based in China being able to participate in the program shortly. Applicants are currently being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Throughout the Galaxy Beta Program period, users can get a feel for Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung’s latest UX, and can provide feedback on performance, reliability and usability. Users’ responses will in turn help Samsung develop reliable, high-performing software and provide an improved and optimized experience to all Galaxy users.

Users that have an active Samsung Account and meet program requirements may apply for the program by downloading the Galaxy Beta Program app through Galaxy Apps or the Samsung Members app which is available through the Google Play store or Galaxy Apps depending on their country of residence.

What is Galaxy Beta Program?
Samsung conducts the Galaxy Beta Program which is owned, managed and operated by Samsung independently for providing a better experience and reliable software based on user feedback. If you participate in the Galaxy Beta Program, you have an opportunity to experience new features and the latest UX based on Android 7.0 Nougat first. During the Galaxy Beta Program, you can directly send us your feedback and experience about performance, stability and usability which will help us to improve software.

**This Beta software is not the official version so it may cause unexpected errors or malfunction. Also it may not contain the full feature set compared with the final official software.**

If you run into issues and need to you, can re-install the official release version of the latest Android software by using the Smart Switch PC software. (You can download it from this link - http://www.samsung.com/us/smart-switch) Please connect your phone to your PC and launch Smart Switch PC software, then you can find the menu option ‘Update’ or ‘Device Initialization’ for restoration.More → Emergency software recovery and initialization → Device initialization).

For questions about joining the Galaxy Beta Program you can read the Galaxy Beta FAQs and for anything further related to software installation, registration and all other related inquiries, you can  contact Samsung directly at galaxybeta@samsung.com.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

PlayStation Store Celebrates 10th Anniversary With A Sale

This month marks 10 years since Sony launched the PlayStation 3 and with it their very own online store. To celebrate, Sony has announced they will be offering up discounts on several of your favorite iconic game and movies titles in a massive two-week “PlayStation Store 10th Anniversary Sale.” The sale will feature some of the biggest hits from the past 10 years and will cover the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita.

Games can be had for up to 60% off for none PS+ members and up to 70% off for PS+ Members. Game titles can be found from almost any gaming genre and include several top titles. The full list is available on the PlayStation Blog:
Example game deals (less w/ PS+ membership):
  • Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy (PS4) $24.49
  • The Heavy Rain & BEYOND: Two Souls Collection (PS4) $19.99
  • Far Cry 4 + Zombi Bundle (PS4) $29.99
  • Wild Arms 3 (PS4) $5.99
  • Rogue Galaxy (PS4) $5.99
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus (PS Vita) $6.99
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories or Vice City on PS3 (PS2 CLASSIC) $3.99
  • Metal Gear Solid VR Missions (PSONE CLASSIC) $2.99
Movie Titles:
  • Man Of Steel (2013) $8.99/6.99
  • Taken Trilogy $23.99
  • Wolverine Double Feature $17.99
  • 21 Jump Street $9.99
Sony’s initial deals will run from now until 8 a.m. PT on Nov. 15, at which point a new set of discounts will go live for the second week of the sale. To recognize and acknowledge those who have been with PlayStation Network from the very beginning, members with accounts of 9.5 years or more will receive an exclusive PS4 avatar. Details will be sent to those eligible via email. Additionally, there is a special edition 10th Anniversary PS3 and PS4 theme for all. You can download those here: PS4, PS3.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Need More Storage For Your Mac Mini? Checkout The OWC miniStack

I may not be the biggest fan of Apple as a whole, but I can give credit where credit is due and when it comes to deigns Apple has always been at the forefront. While I think there are plenty of great small form factor options on the market, a lot has to be said of the Mac mini. Unfortunately one of the biggest problems with these incredibly small packages is a lack of affordable storage options. Apple's entry level $499 Mac mini only packs 500GB of storage, upgrading that package to something a little better equipped will cost you anywhere from $200-500.

Adding in an external hard drive is easy enough, but what if you want to keep things simple and keep up with the high quality deign that likely drove you to buy the Mac mini to begin with? Enter the OWC miniStack. An external storage offering that is designed to easily stack together with Mac mini computers and other miniStack drives, so users can increase external storage without taking additional space on their desktop.


Because it features fast USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectivity, miniStack is a perfect solution to store and stream a personal collection of HD videos, music, and photos. Users who use a Mac mini as a server for their home entertainment system will enjoy miniStack as a natural extension of their media libraries. And for photographers managing large volumes of RAW images, or music producers who use a Mac for their workstation, miniStack accelerates pro-audio and photo workflows with powerful 7200RPM hard drives.

The durable aluminum enclosure, dedicated power switch, and integrated cooling fan make the miniStack a professional-grade solution that fits perfectly alongside virtually any Mac or PC at home.

Highlights:

  • Perfectly stacks with Mac mini computers or other miniStack drives to save space
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 port
  • Read: Up to 211 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 208 MB/s
  • Up to 6.0 TB capacity with 7200RPM drives
  • Also offered as 0GB build-your-own-drive kit
  • Durable aluminum enclosure
  • Ultra-quiet MagLev cooling fan
  • Mac & PC compatible
  • Three-year OWC Limited Warranty* including award-winning technical support
  • Includes power supply and a 36-inch (1m) USB 3.1 Gen 1 cable

Pricing & Availability

OWC miniStack is now available at MacSales.com and authorized OWC resellers in seven stackable configurations:
  • 1.0TB (7200RPM) - $139.99
  • 2.0TB (7200RPM) - $169.99
  • 3.0TB (7200RPM) - $198.99
  • 4.0TB (7200RPM) - $249.99
  • 5.0TB (7200RPM) - $278.99
  • 6.0TB (7200RPM) - $348.99
  • Add Your Own Drive enclosure kit - $77.99
“The OWC miniStack is an exciting new addition to our external storage lineup. Its footprint is identical to 2010 and later Mac mini, so it’s a perfect external drive and Time Machine backup for our customers who use a Mac mini as a home computer, or with their home entertainment system,” said Jen SoulĂ©, President of OWC. “We designed the miniStack to be our most convenient, stackable external storage solution—and we think our customers who use a Mac at home are going to love its compact and stylish design.”

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Apple's Newest Innovations Seem To Be Samsung's Old Gimmicks

As Apple took the stage today to introduce their revamped MacBook Pro lineup, a lineup that hasn't seen any major changes since the introduction of Retina displays back in 2012 and hasn't seen an upgrade since 2015, two things become abundantly clear. Apple has lost sight of what made the MacBook Pro what it was, and they have lost all sight of any true innovation instead relying on gimmicks and minor upgrades to try to drive their products lines!


When updating means leaving your target audience behind!
Apple's MacBook Pro has long been the standard for a great deal of you professional geeks out there. Pretty much anyone who is anyone in video production, commercial graphic design and advertising has at one point in another relied on a MacBook Pro to get things done and rightfully so. They are work-horses through and through! When coupled with Apple-centric design software, there really isn't much that can be accomplished.

Unfortunately though it looks like Apple has forgotten the needs of those professional users that have for years showed the company a great deal of loyalty. Year after year Apple has failed to upgrade the MBP line-up and when they have they have done so (in typically Apple fashion mind you) at the expense of the user and end user usability.

Today's new MacBook Pros are thinner and lighter than any previous model, with the 13-inch model weighing 3lbs and the 15-inch model coming in at 4lbs. The 13-inch model is 14.9mm thick, the 15-inch version a hair larger. In keeping with Apple’s design priorities, Apple has made the decision to remove all of your standard ports that you design professional might need, instead opting Thunderbolt 3 ports, using the latest USB Type-C connector.Unfortunately this means for most of you, you'll now need to carry around an army of dongles to get things done.

Imagine if you will trying to do a presentation at a client's site. They have HDMI, you'll need a dongle for that. No optical drive, means not having the ability to take client optical media or burn a disc to leave...without an external drive. No standard USB means no reading client flash drives without a dongle...as you can see this is quickly becoming a dongle nightmare!

Touch Bar gimmicks!
Perhaps one of the most talked about features we've seen today is the new “Touch Bar.” Apple has ditched all of the function keys at the top of the keyboard for an OLED strip that will offer users several different options based on what apps you’re running. Apple believes the new Touch Bar will be used as a productivity tool, since users can still easily access the tools and controls they need


If you’re in a music player, for instance, you will see several controls for music selection, volume ect. Switch over to Photoshop, and you could call up a variety of your favorite to use tools. When you’re browsing the web, it shows a search field and navigation buttons. It works in Pages, Keynote, Garageband, Terminal, and XCode. And of course, it makes the perfect home for an emoji keyboard.

The added functionality of the Touch Bar comes with a hefty price tag to the tune of a $300 upgrade! The 13-inch MacPro Pro without the touch bar costs $1,500. The new feature brings that price up to $1,800.

If this all sounds familiar, it is very very similar to the sidebar functions  Samsung introduced with the Galaxy Note Edge a few years ago. Yes a feature that, much like water-resistant phones, many Apple users called a gimmick at the time! Unlike the Edge screen on Samsung's phone the Touch Bar will be all about tools. Apple has already set guidelines prohibiting what the Touch Bar displays. App developers are prohibited from using the bar to display alerts, messages, scrolling content, static content, or anything else that commands the user’s attention or distracts from their work on the main screen.

Apple still demands a premium!
It wasn't all about gimmicks for Apple today. They did offer a complete update to the MacBook Pro lineup, though those updates still leave much to be desired especially given the hefty price tags Apple has attached to the laptops!

For processor, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro has a quad-core sixth-generation (NOT seventh-generation) Intel Core i7 chip and 2,133mHz memory. It has an ATI Radeon Pro graphics card with up to 4GB of RAM. You can get up a 2TB SDD and up to a (paltry by today's standards) 16GB of RAM. The 13-inch model has either sixth-gen Core i5 or i7 processors and Intel Iris Pro graphics. It has the same faster memory as the larger model, but only has 8GB of it.

Pricing starts at $1,499 for a standard, Touch Bar-less, 13-inch model and quickly increases to $1,799  with the Touch Bar and better CPU. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 and tops out at $2,799 for a slightly better equipped unit. All three models can be ordered starting today, but only the low-end version is shipping immediately. The Touch Bar models will ship in two to three weeks.

Why the Healthcare Industry Needs to Take Hacking Seriously!

The healthcare industry thrives on information. Patient health records (PHI), payment files, and personal details pass through the servers of hospitals, healthcare providers, and insurance companies around the clock. However, doctors and industry specialists aren't the only ones eager to get their hands on this type of information. Hackers are always looking to steal sensitive information that can be used for fraud. The consequences of a data breach at a healthcare institution can range from lawsuits, to huge financial fines, to damaged reputations. Is the healthcare industry ready for the epidemic of security breaches that will only get worse as time goes on? Discover what organizations can do to vaccinate their networks against cyber-attacks.

Diagnosing the Digital Security Issue in the Healthcare World
The truth is that most networks at healthcare institutions are in need of some emergency care. It is a challenge for IT teams and security officers to keep up with the sophisticated tactics of today's global cyber criminals. This is troubling when you consider the sensitive nature of the information that is handled by healthcare institutions, especially PHI. Patients of all ages are at risk for having their personal information stolen, sold on the black market or used for exploitation. Healthcare hacking has become something of an epidemic in recent years. Some estimates even show that one in three Americans are victims of compromised medical records. This isn't that surprising when you consider that a healthcare giant like BlueCross BlueShield was the victim of a hack that exposed the records of more than 10 million people alone. The bottom line is that both big players and small players in the healthcare industry simply haven't been doing enough to stay ahead of threats.

Risks Must Be Fought With Care
It is essential for healthcare companies to analyze their networks and procedures on a routine basis. The first line of defense is an enterprise's staff. Employees need to be educated on strong passwords, smart email policies, and web security best practices. Of course, an empowered staff is also fortified by good security technology and protocols. An IT security team should make routine network assessments part of a comprehensive plan for keeping information secure. An initial assessment needs to be extremely thorough. In fact, many enterprises around the world are turning to a network penetrating testing firm to help them get a clear picture of how vulnerable their networks are, along with their HIPAA Security Risk Assessment. Hiring a firm to conduct a penetration test is essentially like bringing in a team of white-hat hackers to demonstrate what true hackers would do if they were attempting to breach a network in a coordinated and controlled manner. Unlike automated security measures, this test takes a real world approach using a combination of technology and human ingenuity. A team of security engineers attempts to identify and exploit every potential weak point that exists in the client network. The client is then left with a detailed and accurate analysis of how a network performs when it is under attack. This report can help IT professionals to address weak points and create extremely resilient networks. Of course, the solution doesn't end there. There is no question that hackers are always enhancing their tactics. A penetration test should always be followed up with routine analysis and testing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NETGEAR's Nighthawk X10 Router Packs More Than Just A Hefty Price Tag

When it comes to home networking most consumers focus one thing, speed! And of course why not, speed is what most of us want went it comes to browsing the web, downloading music or streaming videos. If speed is what you are looking for NETGEAR is launching what it calls the “world’s fastest router,” the Nighthawk X10, built specifically for media streaming, instant backup, and fast gameplay. However, the Nighthawk X10 packs a lot more than just a ton of speed, it also packs in a ton of extra features, with those features though comes a hefty $500 price tag!


Yes you read that right $500 for what may be the best of the best on the market today! Now I know most of you out there aren't going to plop down five Benjamins to take home a router. The Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router isn't just any other router though. It blurs the line between your typical high end home router and a stand-alone media server.

The router combines a 1.7-gigahertz quad-core processor — the fastest processor in a home router — and quad-stream Wave 2 Wi-Fi architecture offering the latest 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard, with speeds up to 7.2 gigabits per second. This means you'll get the lastes MU-MIMO technology to support simultaneous streaming to multiple devices. In geek speak that means you'll be able to move a ton of movies and videos back and forth from the Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or any other spot on the web all while gaming from another device without so much as a hiccup!

Speaking of video we said the Nighthawk X10 blurs the lines between home router and media server. That is because it is the industry’s first router to run Plex Media Server without the need for a computer. It will even handle transcoding through Plex for smooth 4K streaming, to all your remote devices.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 is also the industry’s first router designed for the home market that includes a 10Gigabit port, which supports a fiber connection. Offering lightning-fast backup and streaming from Network Attached Storage devices – such as NETGEAR ReadyNAS – Nighthawk X10 is the ideal solution for personal HD video collections. The two USB 3.0 ports make it easy to add storage for backup and file transfer over WiFi. Additional storage options with the Nighthawk X10 includes six months of free unlimited Amazon Drive backup for an off-site cloud copy of one’s files.

“Nighthawk X10 sets a new bar for performance and a new record for speed when moving large video files within your network and to the cloud,” said David Henry, senior vice president for home networking at NETGEAR. “Today’s video files are getting larger with 4k and VR video. Offloading from capture devices and moving these large files within a network often becomes a time-consuming and challenging task. The Nighthawk X10 is powerful enough to move these files at unprecedented speed and provides easy access once the file is stored on the network.”

Key Technical Features of Nighthawk X10
  • AD7200 Quad Stream Wave2 WiFi supports wireless speeds up to 4600+1733+800Mbps*
  • Fastest 60GHz 802.11ad WiFi technology for instant downloads, backup and minimal latency during online game play
  • Plex Media Server for all of your media, anytime, anywhere
  • Powerful 1.7GHz Quad Core Processor boosts performance for 4K streaming or VR gaming
  • High-performance Active Antennas for better WiFi coverage & faster speeds
  • Six (6) Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports with dual ports that can be operated in line aggregation mode for faster file transfers (up to 2Gbps wired speeds)
  • Two (2) SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports for faster streaming, backup and easy access to your stored media.
  • Automatic backup to the cloud with Amazon Drive
  • NETGEAR ReadyCLOUD provides easy, private and secure remote access to USB connected storage
  • 10Gigabit fiber port for lightning-fast backup and media streaming to/from ReadyNAS or other NAS
  • MU-MIMO capable for simultaneous streaming of data to multiple devices
  • New NETGEAR Up app will have your router up, running and configured to your liking all from the convenience of any Android or iOS mobile device. 
  • NETGEAR genie® app for a personal dashboard to monitor, control and repair your home network, even when you’re away from home.
Pricing and Availability
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router is now available. You can purchase it in retail shops and online at an MSRP of $499.99 in the U.S.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Don't Fly With Your Galaxy Note 7, Exchange It At The Airport Instead

By now you should be aware of the fact that the Galaxy Note 7 is one of the biggest tech flops in history. You should also be aware of the fact that it has been recalled, is no longer going to be sold and has even been banned from air travel by most airlines and several countries around the world! If by chance you haven't heard the news, or have been putting off getting a new phone but still have to travel, well Samsung is going to help you out!

When the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued their second recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, affecting both old and new replacement models, the FAA stepped in and took a more drastic measure by banning the fire-prone devices from flying on any US based flights. The measure soon took hold with a large number of global airlines following suite and announcing  similar bans on Samsung's Galaxy Note 7. Included in  list are Qantas, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Emirates, Lufthansa, Finnair, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, T, AirAsia, El Al, EgyptAir, Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, HK Express, Cathay Pacific, Tigerair, Dragonair and Hong Kong Airlines.

With the Note 7 officially categorized as a "forbidden hazardous material" owners can be charged with several crimes, which vary by country, no matter what state the device is in. This includes having the device powered off, the battery removed ect. In short, the Galaxy Note 7 can not travel on an airplane at all. To combat the ban and make life easier on passengers that may not know they can not travel with their recalled devices, Samsung has taken to airports across the country, setting up exchange kiosks.

The trade-in booths are showing up in South Korea, Australia, as well as the U.S., allowing passengers to return their Note 7s for another Samsung device. To facilitate the exchange Samsung has customer service representatives on hand at these booths to transfer user data from the Note 7 to their new devices.

According to Samsung Australia the company is "working with airlines and airports in Australia to arrange customer service points within high-traffic terminals where customers, who are unaware of the Galaxy Note 7 ban on flights, can arrange an alternative device at the airport." Travelers can leave their handset at the pop-up booths and obtain a loaner for the duration of their trip. Upon returning to the airport they can pick up their prohibited handset. For those leaving Australia for an extended period of time—or permanently—Samsung will, "where possible," exchange the Note 7 for another Samsung phone—either at the terminal before departure or at your destination.

Samsung's mobile chief Koh Dong-jin has said that the company will do everything in its power, no matter the cost, in order to "find the exact cause" behind exploding Note 7s and to "restore the trust of consumers so that they can use Samsung products without any safety concerns." It certainly looks like the company is trying their best to make good on that promise!

Geek Gadgets: ThermaCELL ProFLEX Heavy Duty Heated Insole Review


Winter is right around the corner and there is nothing this geek hates more than being cold. One of my biggest peeves is trying to get out and enjoy my favorite winter sports and having cold feet. Luckily it looks like I may have found the perfect geek gadget to solve that problem, ThermaCELL ProFLEX Heavy Duty Bluetooth enabled heated insoles. Yes you read that right, these things are Bluetooth enabled, totally wireless and fully rechargeable! They've got everything that screams GEEK (IMO anyways).

ProFLEX Heavy Duty Heated Insole Features

Before we get down to the review let's take a quick look at what we are dealing with here:
  • Bluetooth Operation - No remotes, no odd wires, you simply operate your ThermaCELL ProFLEX Heavy Duty Heated Insoles from your smartphone using their nifty little app (see list for compatible devices.). App features 3 Temperature settings: Low=100°, Medium=110°, and High=115°
  • Fully Rechargeable High capacity Battery - 30% more powerful than the standard ProFLEX, and will last up to 8.5 hours of warmth per charge. Each insole features removable, replaceable, lithium-ion polymer batteries that will charge in two hours or less.
  • Long-Lasting Durability - Made with even more durable materials to withstand all-day pounding. New optimized cushioning and stability will help you stay on your feet all day long. Tested to 1 million steps while batteries are reported to recharge well over 500 times.
  • Package includes: 2 ProFLEX Heavy Duty Heated Insoles, 2 rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries; 1 smart charging case, 1 wall charger, 1 USB cable; 1 drawstring travel bag, 1 instruction booklet.
As you can already tell these aren't just your every day Dr Scholl's insoles, they pack some pretty geeky features!

Getting Things Started - Quick and Easy
Unlike most of the geek gadgets we test out there really isn't much to getting started with the ThermaCELL ProFLEX insoles. Download the ThermaCELL Heated Products App (android - iOS) , charge up the batteries, trim if necessary, slip them into your shoes, and you are basically off and running.

ThermaCELL ProFLEX Product Video

Since there really isn't much to setup and the app doesn't come with a ton of features there shouldn't be many issues getting started. However, there are a few areas you might run in to issues like we did. For starters our Galaxy S5 didn't want to pair up with out insoles. We had to restart the phone and do a re-scan to get them connected.Once they were connected everything seemed to be fine, though we had a tough time telling if the insoles were working!

Temperature Controls - You Get The Basics
The ThermaCELL app provides quick and easy temperature settings and battery monitoring. Beyond that there isn't much to the app. You get 3 Temperature settings and a no heat setting (we aren't sure if this is standby or off though), battery monitoring and an active/inactive monitor. The only other real option is linking, to control both insoles at once or an individual temperature control to change either one independently.

Our Thoughts - Disappointing Results
ThermaCELL specifically states their insoles "keep feet warm, not hot", so I'm not sure if it was just our test set or if they really aren't intended to get very warm. Either way on high, which is supposed to max out at 115°, my feet just barely felt any warmth at all. Most, if not all of the heat is focused on the toes section of the insole, which isn't a big deal since that is generally where you want most of it anyways. However, I wanted the ability to turn on my insoles and slip my feet into a nice cozy set of boots that were warmed all the way through. No matter what we tried, that just didn't happen.

Another unfortunate effect of trying to keep our boots toasty warm, was rather poor battery life. Since ThermaCELL states a charge should lasts up to 8.5 hours of constant use (on low heat setting), we expected a couple hours of use on high. In reality, from a full charge, we saw between 1-2 hrs of continued use. This would really be less of a concern if we had reached a nice temperature level, again however we didn't get to the point we expected.

Sadly it doesn't end there! Adding to our disappointing results was the overall comfort of the insoles themselves, they just didn't seem to add much extra benefit in this area what so ever! Again this might be by design and is of course not the focus of the product, but at $199 I would have expected more!

Conclusion - What Doesn't Work For Me Might Work For You!!
ThermaCELL certainly seems to have a one of a kind product here, and looking at some of the other options out there they certainly seem to be at the front of the pack when it comes to technology. In fact I couldn't find anything even close to compare them to. So while I have to give them the nod for standing out from the crowd, I can't say that I would run out and buy a pair of ProFLEX Heavy Duty Heated Insoles. They just didn't perform up to my standards.

Now that isn't to say they won't work out for you, in fact they might! I admittedly didn't test them under extreme cold settings, this is where that 115° high temp might actually be 'just right' for your feet. I also didn't test them as an intermittent warming device, this was one suggestion I saw from several other reviews. I was testing more for long term comfort, or initial warming.

Feature Request and Improvements
I wanted to close out our review with a few notes for improvements and a couple of requests. For starters we could use a few 'added features'. With a $199 price tag I really would expect a bit more out of any geek gadget! I'd like to see a bit more in overall function, adding in something like a pedometer sensor so you can use the app for tracking your distance would be ideal. Adding in a warming setting with perhaps an alarm or timer with a  higher heat temp to warm your boots or shoes at a specific time would also be great. Imagine getting up for work to already warm boots!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Samsung's Battery Problem May Go Much Deeper Than The Galaxy Note 7

Now that Samsung Electronics has formally discontinued production of the company's Galaxy Note7 smartphone, which has been plagued by battery problems that caused fires and even explosions, one may wonder what is next for the world's largest cell phone provider. Well unfortunately things aren't looking good at this point!

All indications and reports conclude that as of right now Samsung still has no idea exactly what was causing the issues to begin with, and that they may have made the matter worse by incorrectly assuming it was merely an issue with the batteries used in the Note7.

According to The New York Times, Samsung tasked hundreds of its own engineers and employees to figure out why the smartphone battery was suddenly exploding. Unfortunately it appears as though the employees were unable to replicate the exact issue forcing the company to conclude that it must have been because of faulty batteries coming from Samsung SDI. This in-turn led the company to issue their initial recall with the company deciding to continue shipping new Galaxy Note 7s containing batteries from a different supplier.

As we now know this further compounded the issue as reports soon surfaced that some of the replacement devices were blowing up too. The New York Times spoke with a person briefed on the test process who says company engineers went back to the drawing board and that as of this week Samsung’s testers were still unable to reproduce the explosions.

The life of the Note7 was short. Sales first began in the U.S. on Aug. 19. Samsung recalled 2.5 million Note7s globally on Sept. 2, with a formal U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission recall on Sept. 15. Then, on Oct. 5, an apparently recalled Note7 began billowing smoke aboard a parked Southwest Airlines jet. The plane was evacuated; no one was injured. When more reports came in of recalled Note7s in recent days, several U.S. carriers decided to halt sales and exchanges. 

Samsung has received at least 92 reports of Note 7 batteries overheating in the United States, with 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, according to information posted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Whether or not Samsung actually knows what the problem is the question will be can they actually fix it. Many industry pundits are speculating that Samsung's battle with Apple, and their desire to pack as much innovation and power into a device as they can, could have been the root cause of the devices overheating. Samsung, and many other Android manufactures have had a long history of devices heating up and overheating, so this isn't new. The problem is that we may have reached a point now that the tech these manufactures are using it just too much for the small devices to handle.

This creates an issue for Samsung going forward. The Galaxy Note7 may have just been the tip of the iceberg. If they don't figure out the issue, and can't resolve it, then they may have to reign in and possibly even delay production of a Samsung Galaxy S8 (their next purported release) and may have to discontinue the Note line-up (for now at least), until they can get it resolved. Of course this all comes at a critical time for Samsung, and Android for that matter, as we have seen signs of the smartphone market slowing and Samsung in particular facing tougher and tougher competition.

The one up-side here is that Samsung has numerous devices on the market right now that have had no issues. The downside is that the Note series is generally the top-tier and showcases much of what we should see (power and specs wise) in the coming 2017 Galaxy models.

DJ Koh, Samsung Mobile’s chief, has today pledged to restore consumer faith in the Samsung brand following the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note 7. Mr Koh said that he would “at any cost find the exact cause (of the faulty Galaxy Note 7) to restore [the] trust of consumers so that they can use Samsung products without any safety concerns,” reports The Korea Herald.

Analysts have pegged the overall cost to Samsung at $5 billion to $7.5 billion, not including the hard-to-estimate impact on the Samsung brand. Some analysts, including Credit Suisse, said the lost sales on up to 19 million Note7 phones is about $17 billion. Samsung themselves recently cut Q3 profit estimates by $2.4 billion, and its Q3 revenue estimates by $2.2 billion.

How severe do you think the aftershocks will be for Samsung? Is this the end of the Note brand?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Where Does Your Favorite Show Rank on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time List?

What geek out there does love a good ranking list? Late last month the fine folks over at Rolling Stone released their Top 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time List, and well heck we just thought we'd share. Now you might ask what does Rolling Stone Magazine, a magazine that is supposed to be dedicated to music btw, know about televisions shows. And well while we don't have a good answer, we figure they might just have a little less bias than most of the geek sites we frequent and therefore might have a ranking system that is a bit closer to reality.  Not that we care about that right..

You’ll have to head over to Rolling Stone’s website to see the full list (as well as the reasons why each show made the list in the first place), but you can see the top 20 shows below:
  1. The Sopranos
  2. The Wire
  3. Breaking Bad
  4. Mad Men
  5. Seinfeld
  6. The Simpsons
  7. The Twilight Zone
  8. Saturday Night Live
  9. All in the Family
  10. The Daily Show
  11. Freaks and Geeks
  12. Game of Thrones
  13. Late Night with David Letterman
  14. The Larry Sanders Show
  15. The West Wing
  16. M*A*S*H
  17. Twin Peaks
  18. Star Trek
  19. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  20. Cheers
I'm sure just by taking a peak at the top twenty shows many of my geek brethren are already questioning the rankings, but remember these are a little less subjective rankings than most of us would give out.  I mean I know my top 10 wouldn't look anything like what they have there, but I do think some of the shows are pretty accurately judged and ranked.

What say you? Do the folks at Rolling Stone have it close to correct, or do they need to keep to their roots and stick with ranking music?

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Intel Wants to Help Keep Your Information Private During National Cyber Security Awareness Month

As we enter the first week in October we are reminded that this month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. With that comes plenty of news, warnings and educational campaigns aimed at helping users at all levels to become more aware of the issues we all face with security and privacy.

Several major companies, including a long time geek favorite, Intel have announced their commitment to the National Cyber Security Alliance’s “Lock Down Your Login” Internet safety and security initiative.  The campaign, which was first announced by the White House in February, calls for all Americans to move beyond traditional username and password protections to better secure the important information in their email, banking, and social media accounts.

“Lock Down Your Login” provides consumers with information ranging from what strong authentication is, why it is important, and how it is implemented. FAQs provide details about the goals of the campaign, the limitations of traditional usernames and passwords, what kinds of information is collected and used to support authentication.

For their part in the National Cyber Security Alliance, Intel is offering users more information on True Key, a free application developed by Intel Security that offers users a multifactor password manager that secures and encrypts all your passwords. Unlike most traditional password managers, True Key utilizes unique-to-you factors, like face and fingerprints, or devices you already own and have registered, to use two-factor authentication allowing you to safely store all your passwords and guarantee that you'll be the only one using them.  Consumers can download this free app at www.truekey.com  — an easy way to enhance safety online.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Clean Router Review: Keeping Your Home Network Safe With Hardware and Access Monitoring


The internet can be a dark and scary place, and keeping your kids (husbands, roommates or employees) safe from those dark recesses can be a daunting task. While there are plenty of options out there, it is often best to take a multi-pronged approach when it comes to security and monitoring your internet usage. This generally means using both software and hardware based solutions. This past few days we've been testing one of the newer options available on the market, the Clean Router.

The Clean Router offers users a multi-dimensional approach to internet filtering. It uses traditional networking hardware, coupled with customized firmware and back-boned with live support, frequent updates and real time monitoring. All this is setup with to allow users/parents to filter and manage everything connected to their home WiFi.

Hardware and Services
The unit we have for testing is a customized version of the Western Digital My Net N750 which is currently listed as a free option on the Clean Router website. The N750 is a few years old now so it won't be the latest greatest when it comes to networking. In fact it only supports 802.11 a/b/g/n, but not the newer 802.11ac standard. This means you will see theoretical wireless speeds up to 300Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and 450Mbps on the 5GHz band, for combined theoretical wireless speeds of up to 750Mbps. Not bad, but you may want to opt for the Clean Router Pro version if you are a high bandwidth user!

 Clean Router

The router itself is only one link in the chain. Once you have your customized Clean Router you have to select a subscription service with prices from $12.99 to $19.99 per month. The basic subscription offers you frequent updates to your Clean Router’s filtering software so it is always on top of blocking new threats, along with free technical support via phone, email and live chat, regular updates to black, white and grey lists, Emailed Reports, Time Restrictions, new features, and several of their ongoing performance improvements. The updated subscription offers you access to Smartphone apps and monitoring, YouTube filtering and a few more options.

Ideally we'd like to see a third option added for just the customized router itself, but part of the biggest incentive to using Clean Router is the added benefit of having frequent updates to your firmware and blacklists. For most geeks we could do this all on our own, just keep in mind the market they are tackling is the typical home user that likely can't/won't bother with those updates. This in and of itself makes the subscription worthwhile.

Content Filtering and Safe Search
In order to "keep you safe" while searching the web Clean Router uses customized firmware that has built in blocking. These "blacklists" filter out most sites and search terms which would contain "questionable material". Blacklisted sites are filtered by a number of variables  all of which are categorized into 10 different channels. Art Nudes, Naturism, Malicious Software, Porn and Bitorrent sites are blocked by default, as are Ads and Image Sites. Users may also choose to block Drugs, Gambling, and a catch-all category of Guns, Violence, and Weapons.

In addition to blacklisting several sites and search terms out of the box, the Clean Router will also blacklist multiple search engines. Bing, Yahoo, AOL and several other top names are all blocked by default. This allows Clean Router to force your system to run searches through Google, (which it does without encryption). This allows the router to capture search terms and enforce Safe Search further blocking more material.

Advanced Features and Time Scheduling
For those that want a bit more control and are willing to get into some of the more advanced features the control panel offers several other options beyond the basics. Here you can add or remove specific URLs from Clean Router's whitelist, either manually or by clicking a button in the list of blocked sites. Likewise, you can blacklist URLs manually or by clicking a button in the list of sites visited. You can also add to the list of keywords that will trigger a blocking action. There's also an option to block entire top-level domains—maybe you don't want your kids connecting to any .cn or .ru sites, you can exclude all of those with a click of the mouse!

You'll also see the option for one of the more useful features, and one of the more challenging for home users to setup, time scheduling.

Time restrictions are device-specific, and in order to configure a schedule you must identify the correct device by its Media Access Control (MAC) address. Finding this can be a bit of a challenge but there is a quick easy way to make it easier. First, you can try logging in to the router setup page from the specific device you want to set schedules for then select Time Restrictions, and click the link titled This Computer. In the same way, you can exclude your own computer from filtering by clicking This Computer on the Exclude from Filter page, rather than trying to figure out its MAC address.

If you can't log in through each specific device you'll need to find the devices you want to block in the DHCP Clients list in the Router Info section. Here you'll have a full list of all of the devices connected through the router, along with the IP address, MAC address, and device name. Reviewing each name should give you a good idea of which devices you'll want to add. 

Activity Reports
You can view a list of all sites visited or all sites blocked, though the reports have some limitations. The basic list just shows the domains in question, with a button to blacklist (for visited sites) or whitelist (for blocked sites). Clicking an item in the list exposes more details, specifically the computer that was used, the precise URL within the domain, and the date/time of the visit.

This doesn't tell you who tried to view naughty photos, just which computer or other device was used. That's logical; a product that filters at the router or DNS level is never going to be able to identify individual users. However, you still may have trouble identifying the device involved, given only its IP address. I sure wish there were some internal mechanism to identify each device by a friendly name rather than an IP address or MAC address.

You can view activity for any particular day, but not cumulative activity over a longer time period. You can also have Clean Router email you an attractively formatted activity report at the end of each day.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion
For someone looking for a great parental control option that adds a couple layers of security and convenience the Clean Router definitely works well and definitely does what it promises. Just about anyone can setup it in just a few clicks, and since most things that most people want to block are set by default, you'll be up and running in no time.And since your subscription service does most all of the work for you, you can pretty much set it and forget it.

This doesn't mean it isn't without issues, and it won't catch absolutely everything, but for the most part you won't be disappointed.

I will say this though, if you are one of those people that has to rely on your kids  to keep your tech going then you likely won't get the  most out what the router and service offer as both can be easily bypassed by even the most novice of users. That being said however, what it does give you, is a little piece of mind that you are doing the best you can to keep everyone in the household safe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Owners Apply Now to Get Your $30

Take notice all you gaming geeks out there, if you own Nvidia Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 the time is now to submit your claim for your refund! The pending class action lawsuit against Nvidia that we had reported on a few months back has finally settled and been approved. That means it is time to get stake your claim to your cold hard cash!

US residents who purchased an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics processing unit between Sept. 1, 2014, and Aug. 24, 2016, can now submit a claim for $30 cash for each qualifying device. In order to verify ownership and stake your claims you'll need to provide a verification code or proof of purchase.

Verification codes should be listed on the notices of the settlement, if you received one. If not, you can submit a sales receipt, credit card receipt or statement, a shipping manifest, a purchase order, an email confirmation, or other similar documentation. If like most geeks I know you don't keep that stuff handy (shame on you!), you can also submit a Product Identification Number found on the box, back, or bottom of each GPU or in the settings for the GPU via the software of your choice.

Once you have all your information in order, simply head to the GTX 970 settlement site, submit your claim and sit back and wait on the cash to roll. Can't be much simpler right?

The settlement is still subject to a final approval hearing, which is set to take place on December 7. Following that your check should be in the mail -- haha. Usually it takes a fews, and you'll likely forget it is coming, but unlike some other things we can think of (cough MIRs) these settlements are typically paid in a pretty timely manner.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

'The White Rabbit Project' The New Show For Mythbusting Geeks Everywhere


For all you geeks out there that still binge watch your favorite Mythbuster's episodes you'll want to take note. Netflix has announced a new show that will feature the famous M7 Build Team of Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara.

Called The White Rabbit Project, the new show was described by Netflix as a trip down a “rabbit hole” featuring investigations from the famous Mythbusting trio into events in science, pop culture, and history, including things that exist in the deepest corners of the Internet.

The company writes:
Under their microscope are topics as diverse as jailbreaks, superpower technology, heists and crazy world war two weapons. In each episode the hosts immerse themselves in experiments, builds and tests as they sleuth the truth behind these and other well googled themes.

Those on hand for the announcement have said the show was described as “Mythbusters in Wonderland” with the three hosts seemingly picking up where our old favorite Mythbusters left off. The show will be produced by Beyond Productions, the company behind the original Mythbusters. However, beyond that few other details are available besides the synopsis and a release date: Dec. 9, 2016.

For you fans looking to gain a little more insight into what the show might hold we suggest following the show's stars (Kari @KariByron, Grant @GrantImahara, and Tory @ToryBelleci. The trio has been posting a few teasers as well as offering a few insights with Kari Byron already laying to rest the "Myth" that there will be any sort of 'myth busting' on the show.

Tory, Kari, and Byron have clung to life with a few brief but fleeting show appearances, cameos and commercials since their days on Mythbusters. Tory and Kari teamed up and hosted Thrill Factor for the Travel Channel, while Grant has appeared in multiple web shows and became a spokesperson for McDonald’s, showing the world how Chicken McNuggets are made.

More details may be available soon via The White Rabbit Project Netflix page...stay tuned!!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Your New Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Has Been Recalled What You Need to Know! [Update]

[Update: If you own A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 stop using it immediately!! Samsung, with cooperation from US Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing a full and total recall of over one million Galaxy Note7 devices. ]

Yes you've heard that correctly, Samsung is recalling every Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that the company has shipped worldwide do to an issue with faulty batteries and charging that has resulted in at least 35 incidents of batteries exploding.

The problem is estimated to affect one device in every 42,000 units. Samsung says it shipped around 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units so far, so if the estimate is correct, only a few dozen phones sold worldwide are at risk. So the risk is actually pretty minimal, but it is always best to err on the side of caution. 

At this time Samsung has officially halted all sales and shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 and the phones have been recalled worldwide. Samsung is working on preparing replacement units for the affected devices as well as working with each carrier on how to handle the recall and replacement process, which as of now will take about two weeks, according to the company.

Full Samsung statement:
Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.
To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.
For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks.
We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.
 At this time if you want to keep and use your Galaxy Note 7 you should be fine. However, you may want to use a few of these common sense precautions in order to keep safe, which really are valid for any electronic device.
  • Stop charging your phone it if becomes too hot.
  • Stick to official Samsung chargers.
  • Don’t charge your phone in bed or anywhere it might not dissipate heat.
  • Be mindful of where you charge your phone, don't leave it in a hot car window, hot area ect.

How will the recall process work?

At this time we have no specifics on the exact details of the recall, and each carrier seems to be handling things a little different. So here is what we have gathered so far (we'll update as we get more info).
  • Sprint has said it will offer customers loaner devices, while Verizon is waiving its restocking fee for customers who want to return the Note 7 and get another phone altogether.
  •  AT&T has reportedly stated that they are in the process of determining the exchange process for their customers and how they can replace their current Note 7 as quickly as possible. The company promised more information later on today.
  • T-Mobile is offering customers full refunds to use toward another device or a replacement Note 7, which it said it expected to have available within two weeks. Plus, it said, customers can keep the free Netflix subscription it had been bundling with Note 7 purchases.

[Update from Samsung]
The US Product Exchange Program will offer consumers the following choices:
  1. Exchange current Galaxy Note7 device with a new Galaxy Note7 (as early as next week)
  2. Exchange current Galaxy Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge and replacement of any Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices
As a gesture of appreciation, consumers will receive a $25 gift card or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets when choosing a Galaxy S7 family device or the Galaxy Note7 within the exchange program.

Galaxy Note7 owners can contact or visit the retail outlet where they purchased their device or call 1-800-SAMSUNG to initiate a product exchange and to resolve any other questions or concerns.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Opera Offers Android Users Free 'Ad Supported' VPN Service


When you think of Opera Software you likely think of their Opera Web Browser and rightfully so as it is the mainstay of the company. As of late however, Opera has been working on several new projects, one of which is a new standalone VPN service that the company has integrated into their desktop browser as well as an iOS App. Luckily for us Android users hat service has now been made available to allow us all the privacy and security a traditional VPN service can offer in an unlimited free option (well sort of!).
“The Opera VPN app for Android sets itself apart from other VPNs by offering a completely free service - without a data limit, no log-in required, advanced Wi-Fi protection features and no need for a subscription,” says Chris Houston, President of Surfeasy, Opera’s VPN division.
Announced earlier this week,, Opera's new app packs a ton of features that like most VPN services will allow people to browse somewhat anonymously, block ad-tracking cookies, access more online content, extend the geographical reach of apps and even test the security of Wi-Fi networks. Unlike most of those other services Opera is offering their for free and without any limits! But if you haven't noticed we did say ad-supported!

The major caveat to the app, which seems pretty ironic to us geeks, is that it is powered by a company that Opera acquired last year called SurfEasy. And while the app itself is free once you begin looking around, you'll notice ads that are presumably powered by another of Opera Software's latest projects. Opera also wants to share anonymous data about your mobile usage and browsing habits with third parties. Sow while you are getting a pretty nifty VPN service you might want to check the fine print!

Opera had this to say about the data it collects:
This information is made available to third parties who are interested in better understanding the mobile ecosystem and how it’s evolving. It’s important to understand that this is not data about what you do with your phone, but rather this is data about how a large group of people use their phones.”
If that doesn't bother you, and for most of us looking at free VPN services is shouldn't, here are a few more details about the app!

The app is completely standalone and is no way tied to the company’s web browser. So it will work with most Android (and iOS) devices and almost any web browser. There is no need to change your old ways and download Opera, though you might want to just to see how well your browser compares.

If you're not well-versed in VPNs, the app automatically handles almost everything including setting the Android VPN settings for you. It will also check the security and integrity of your current Wi-Fi connection. This feature may slow down your internet speed while you're using it, but not so much that it's too problematic to use while surfing.

Once you are in the app you can 'mask' several details of your online activity, such as applying new location settings across your entire device and other apps or blocking ad-trackers. Changing your regions settings is something most users will find useful when you need to bypass content restricted by location. Suck as viewing videos from other countries, watching Netflix while traveling ect. Currently the app will let you choose from five server locations: USA, Canada, Germany, Singapore and The Netherlands.

If you're interested in trying out the app, you can pick it up via the Google Play Store now.

Why Pay From A Phone When You Can Pay With A Ring?


While the mobile payment arena has certainly taken off of late, for many it still seems to be a bit more of a novelty than anything. So why not take that novelty to a whole new level? Starting today you can pre-order you up a nifty NFC payment ring, that just like your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S7, will allow you to leave the credit cards behind and make mobile payments at any NFC terminal.

The NFC Ring, as it is so aptly named, started off as a Kickstarter project a few years back. Originally it was billed as a great way "to unlock doors, mobile phones and to transfer information and link people", and while the finished product does all that it also offers a bit more via a second NFC connection that is more secure for utilizing payment options.

The concept is really unique, in that the ring has one side that is “public” and the other “private”. On the "public" side the ring can be programmed to accomplish a wide variety of tasks such as transferring contact information, links to websites, links to pictures, setting your phone to do specific things ect. While the private is used to unlock your phone, your NFC locks or other tasks you don’t want to do accidentally. With the latest version of the NFC Ring you also get the option to setup mobile payments.

The new NFC payment ring is primarily designed to work with wireless payment systems, without the need to whip out our credit card or smartphone. Once it’s all set-up, you wont even need your phone close by to use the ring, as it uses the same anonymous tokens to make payments that your iPhone or Android would. The ring meets EMVCo’s contactless performance requirements, ensuring support for a range of VISA cards from a selection of banks.

The NFC Ring made its official debut at the RIO Olympics and the team has been hard at work since then finalizing the details of the launch. So unfortunately we don't yet know which credit card companies or banks the the NFC Ring will support but keep in mind that Samsung Pay just surpassed 100 million transaction and Apple Pay is growing enormously daily. So considering they all utilize the same NFC and EMVCo style systems, support should be good!

If you’re interested, two NFC Ring models are available for pre-order in three different colors and a huge selections of ring sizes. Prices are set at $53 (£40) for the latest model, and the company is offering 50 percent of all titanium rings this summer. You can checkout their full website here NFCRing.com.

More information: Visa Introduces NFC-Enabled Payment Ring for Team Visa Sponsored Athletes to Use at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Celebrate Madden 17 and Win A Custom NFL Themed Xbox One S

In celebration of the launch of EA Sport's Madden 17 Microsoft has teamed with EA and the NFL to give 32 lucky gamers a chance to win a custom NFL themed Xbox One S featuring their favorite team's colors and logo!


The team at Microsoft put together 32 unique custom Xbox One S (1TB) consoles – one for each NFL team – and are giving fans a chance to show off their team pride like never before and win one. So whether you’re a Cheesehead, a 12, a member of Steeler Nation or have your NFL allegiances sworn elsewhere, you’ll have three ways to enter the sweepstakes and claim a custom NFL Xbox One S as a trophy all of your own:
  • Head to www.xboxpromotions.com/MaddenNFL17 and vote for your favorite console
  • Click to enter through your Xbox 360 or Xbox One dashboard
  • Follow @Xbox and RT the Madden NFL 17 #XboxSweepstakes Tweets
Each of the 32 NFL custom Xbox One S (1TB) consoles will come with a copy of Madden NFL 17 for Xbox One, letting you jump into a football frenzy right away. In addition to the 32 grand prize winners of a custom NFL team Xbox One S console, Microsoft will be giving away ten (10) runner-up prizes consisting of an Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Bundle (1TB). The Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Custom Console Sweepstakes runs from today, August 23rd, and will close on September 6th. The full contest rules can be seen here.
You can read more and see high resolution images of just what you can win on the Xbox Wire.

Review: XY Find It XY3 Bluetooth Tracker

Bluetooth trackers seem to be a dime a dozen these days, however as we've found (through much trial and error) not all devices are created the same. After testing out and reviewing the TrackR Bravo and Sticker, we tested out the Linquet, and while each of these devices worked decently, we still have yet to find one that fulfilled our needs. So when the guys over at XY Find It asked if we'd like to checkout their new XY3 Bluetooth Tracker we jumped at the chance.

For the most part most Bluetooth trackers on the market are going to have the same basic features. About the only major differences are going to be in the user interface and the actual design of the tracker. That doesn't however mean that they will all perform the same, but we'll get to that a bit later.

XY3 Design

As far as design goes, the XY3 is similar to the TrackR in that it features a small half dollar size shape and measures roughly 1.46" x 1.26"x .32". This means it is only slightly thicker than most of the other tracker devices out there. One major difference, and one of the big positives as far as I'm concerned, was the XY3 features a more durable ABS plastic casing. Why I say this is a positive is because not only does it give you more color options, 8 in total, but is means that it is far less susceptible to being scratched, dinged and dented. An issue we had with the metal casing on our TrackR.



XY3 App User Interface Design and Features

Within the app there’s a full range of settings including setting your own sounds for beacons that go out of range, beacons that are found, etc. You also have a few features here that many of the other trackers we've used don't have. Settings like the ability to turn the app on/off at device startup and setting device out of range sensitivity. These are both helpful as you don't have to leave the app continuously running, and you can shrink your range size so your devices don't get too far away too quickly.


Tracking is all done from a familiar Google Map interface which shows your phone's current location, the tracker's location, and/or the tracker's last known location. Each tracker features its own plot on the map and you can set photos for each device. Making it quick and easy to differentiate your devices. Each individual beacon also features a graph showing proximity with ratings of Far, Near and Immediate. These are helpful, but not even close to being accurate! You'll also see a battery life indicator giving you an approximation of how much life remains.

XY3 Range and Effectiveness

According to their website the XY3 Find It has a maximum range of about 210 ft with a suggested maximum of 150ft. This includes usage of a special set of algorithms that take effect at the edge of that range to help avoid triggering "false" out of range alerts when you simply go to the other side of your home or maybe a meeting at work. The specific total range of any of these devices vary greatly depending on the obstructions in the area that may deflect the signal so we can take those numbers with a grain of salt.

In our testing the effective range of our device was between 100-125ft (indoors to outdoors testing), meaning that was the drop off point in which the device would finally sound an out of range alert. We tried adjusting the sensitivity to see which setting would best suit our needs, unfortunately the device would not trigger the "Keep Near" alerts at any closer range no matter what settings we tried to use. I had hopped that given the name 'Keep Near' there would be some sort of alert before we were entirely out of range, this however doesn't seem to be the case.

We also ran into issues regarding connectivity once the XY3 was out of range. No matter how close in proximity to the device we were, the tracker was slow to reconnect and on occasion it would not reconnect at all. This forced us to close out the app and try to connect again. Obviously this would be an issue if we weren't certain where our device was, and how close we were, as we wouldn't then be able to try the beep button to locate it.

Luckily if you have any issues you can still use the last known location and view where your device was on them map. From there if you can't locate your item on your own you can report it as lost within the app. Then, if your item goes within range of any device running the XY app, you will get an email with the new approximate location to help you find it.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Overall we have to say were are fairly impressed with the XY3 Find It. Not only does it seem to be more durable than the other Bluetooth trackers we've tried and tested, but it also seems to be a bit more reliable. We had far fewer issues with connectivity and false alerts than we did with our TrackR devices and the casing has held up much better than both the TrackR and Linquet.

Another major plus was the beeper locator being audible enough to actually hear! That was a major complaint we had with our other devices. You won't hear it in a crowded room or from two rooms away, but you can hear it in say your car or living room (where I loose my keys the most!).

As to locating our belongings we were also impressed with the accuracy of  the locations provided on the map and the addition of the signal meter to help guide you towards the right direction. Though we think the signal meter could still use some refinement as it wasn't extremely accurate.  We didn't get to test the secondary 'crowd based GPS' feature, mainly because as mentioned with our previous reviews, this feature relies heavily on there being a lot of users in your area in order for it to work effectively. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a lot of users in our area using trackers that use this feature and we still have yet to see anyone come into close enough proximity to any of our devices to trigger them. So once again this is very much going to be dependent on your area.

Given all of the above I have to say that so far out of all of the Bluetooth trackers we've tested I think the XY3 Find It has definitely come as close as you can get to nailing down all of our must haves and meeting all of our expectations.