Car Tech Live 221: Is the honeymoon over for hybrids? Ford puts Sync apps in more cars. New Volvos may brake for animals. And we drive the Kia Optima Hybrid. (podcast)Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 221 SHOW NOTES
A few months ago, Tessa Hulls ventured on a cross-country bike trip from San Diego to the East Coast after breaking up with her boyfriend. Hulls is still peddling away on her solo ride, but her family has, in a sense, joined her. She's attached a GPS locator to her pink and white bike and downloaded an iPhone app called Life360 so her family can see her location in real time, whenever they want to.
A couple of days ago, her brother Chris Hulls was curious about his sister's whereabouts, so he clicked on the Life360 app on his iPhone. She was in Connecticut.
Until now, subscribers needed an Android device or iPhone to use the mobile security service. Last week, however, Life360 opened up its service to non-smartphone users and customers subscribing to all carriers except MetroPCS, as a way to tap into a bigger market of consumers.
"For smartphones, we get your location through a mix of GPS, cell triangulation, and Wi-Fi data. We save that on our server and share it with your family members," said Chris Hulls, who also happens to be Life360's co-founder. "For non-smartphones, we do the same thing, but instead of getting the location from our app, we get it from the carriers directly." … Read more
The Senate Commerce Committee voted Wednesday to approve legislation aimed at resolving long-standing issues for mobile broadband users, both public and private.
Co-sponsored by Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx.), S. 911, the "Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act," had wide bipartisan support, passing the committee by a vote of 21-4. (A current version of the bill is not available online, pending several amendments approved during the markup.)
A key provision of the proposed law would authorize the Federal Communications Commission to hold "voluntary incentive auctions" both to … Read more
Have you ever forgotten to turn your cell phone off during a flight? Did you survive?
The question might seem slightly churlish, but the airline industry would like you to know that your little electronic devices--yes, just one of them--can really, truly, seriously mess with the aircraft's systems.
ABC News managed to get hold of a report by the International Air Transport Association that makes for very interesting reading. For it seems to link up to 75 incidents on planes with interference from cell phones or other electronic devices.
Rational minds will, no doubt, judge the evidence through their … Read more
Based on new findings, the World Health Organization classifies cell phones as a potential cancer risk much like exhaust from gasoline-powered vehicles and lead. Meanwhile, CNET launches a series on the state of cell phone research and what consumers can do to protect themselves.
Cell phone radiation: A self-defense guide (FAQ) For many people, it's just not practical or realistic to avoid cell phones altogether. And it may not be necessary, if you take some of these suggestions for reducing your exposure. (Posted in Signal Strength by Marguerite Reardon) June 6, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
The trouble with the cell phone radiation standard … Read more
"Among the three factories, occupational health and safety issues in Chengdu are alarming."
That passage is from a report (PDF) released by the Hong Kong-based group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) two weeks before Friday's explosion at Foxconn's Chengdu plant that killed two workers and injured more than a dozen others.
SACOM researchers visited Foxconn plants in Chengdu, where iPads are produced; in Chongqing, a smaller facility making mostly HP products; and Foxconn's huge campus in Shenzhen, where half a million workers assemble a variety of computers, mobile phones, and additional products for Apple, HP, Nokia, Dell, and others. The researchers claim to have observed a number of problems at the Chengdu facilities in particular:Workers do not have adequate training on usage of chemicals and do not have regular on-post health examinations. A number of interviewees even complain they suffer from allergy, but the management does not probe into the adverse health impacts of workers. Workers also highlight the problem of poor ventilation and inadequate personal protective equipment.
While SACOM notes the lack of ventilation as a possible threat to workers' respiratory health, it appears that it may also have been a contributing factor to Friday's explosion, which reportedly was centered in the "polishing" section of Foxconn's facilities. … Read more
Facebook is expanding its efforts to fight child pornography using Microsoft technology, Redmond announced in a blog post yesterday.
The world's largest social network has joined the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's PhotoDNA program. The service, which was developed by Microsoft Research and Dartmouth College in 2009, uses image-matching technology to find known depictions of child pornography across the Web. Facebook plans to use the technology across its network to ensure child pornography is not circulating through the site.
Microsoft has been using PhotoDNA with great success since the service's development. According to the company, … Read more
Admit it! Sometimes you are so mad, you just want to slam something on the floor, step on it, and then kick it a few times. I know a friend who did just that with his portable drive only to later regret losing data and hurting his big toe. If only he had had the IoSafe Rugged Portable, his data would have been safe. His toe's another story, however.
First introduced at CES 2011 with a bang (quite a few bangs, actually), IoSafe's Rugged Portable is the first mobile external hard drive that can really withstand serious beatings and abuse. The drive can handle drops, water submersion, dust, chemicals, and being crushed by a vise. I have personally shot at it with a shotgun--at a demo, not out of anger--and it didn't break.
This means that if you happen to drop it in the street and the thing gets run over by IoSafe SoloPro can handle. To make up for this, the Rugged Portable is about 15 times more compact and lighter. The drive is slightly smaller than a 3.5-inch internal hard drive and weighs about 1 pound. It's designed to be carried around, while the SoloPro is meant to be used at home only. … Read more, chances are it will survive quite easily. As a matter of fact, the only situation it seems the Rugged Portable won't survive is extreme heat, which its brother the
I am not the type who's well-prepared (my fridge is almost always empty), nor do I want to scare people into getting things that they don't really need.
However, I ran across the American Red Cross Axis from Eton the other day and thought it was a really handy device to have around the house, or in your car.
It's hard to classify the Eton Axis as one specific type of device because it's many things in one. It's a radio (AM/FM/NOAA Weather), a flashlight, and a cell phone charger. Best of all, … Read more
Is your idea of driving hell someone sitting in the passenger seat telling you how to drive?
Well, here's something even more fun: an iPhone app that grades your driving and tells you if you if you're a danger to society.
State Farm, the fine upstanding insurance company, has launched a Driver Feedback app that acts as your driving schoolteacher.
According to State Farm, the three parts of your driving that need to be measured are, wait for it: acceleration, braking, and cornering.
Strangely, this omits staring at people out of the window, nodding off at the wheel, and talking on your iPhone while on the road.
This little demon of an app needs only to be activated before it gives you a score at the end of every journey you take. Which, for some, would surely rank alongside having your eyebrows being bitten away by a rabid centipede.
It is entirely understandable that companies are creating apps for everything they can think of to somehow inveigle their way into people's increasingly smartphoned lives. … Read more