January 24, 2017

Kenya’s ‘panic button’ app: shake of phone sends distress signal


Kenyan university student Edwin Inganji was happily pursuing his passion – computer science – until he lost his laptop in an armed robbery. Beaten and bruised, and wondering how he could call for help since his mobile phone had also been stolen, Inganji came up with a new coding idea: what about a type of “panic button” app that could be activated quickly and silently, alerting the emergency services of your location and directing them straight to you? Thus was born “Usalama” (Swahili for security), a smartphone app activated simply by shaking one’s phone three times, holding down the volume…

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WhatsApp now launches video calling


WhatsApp has introduced a new feature likely to strike fear into the hearts of its competitors: video calling. After months in the beta stage, the Facebook-owned tech giant rolled out the update on Tuesday to its more than one billion monthly users. The latest feature could be bad news for rivals such as Skype and Apple’s Facetime, as Whatsapp ups the ante in its effort to position itself as a one-stop-shop for communications. Users will be able to make video calls across Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone devices in the coming days, according to a statement posted on the company’s blog….

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Samsung Pulls 2.5 Million Galaxy Note 7s Over Battery Fires


Samsung will halt sales of its latest flagship smartphone and recall millions of units, it said Friday, after faulty batteries caused some handsets to explode in a massive blow to the South Korean electronics giant’s reputation. Users began posting photos and videos on social media late last month showing the charred Galaxy Note 7 with part of its 5.7-inch touchscreen burnt and melted, saying it suddenly caught fire. Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, said it would recall 2.5 million units shipped globally to countries including the US and South Korea, and offer new devices to existing users. TOP OF…

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WhatsApp is going to give your phone number to Facebook


SAN FRANCISCO — Global messaging service WhatsApp says it will start sharing the phone numbers of its users with Facebook, its parent company. That means WhatsApp users could soon start seeing more targeted ads on Facebook – although not on the messaging service itself. The move is a subtle but significant shift for WhatsApp, which has long promised to safeguard the privacy of more than 1 billion users around the world. WhatsApp is giving users a limited time to opt out of sharing their information with Facebook, although they must take the extra step of unchecking a box to do so. It…

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US getting closer to having flying cars legalized

flying cars

Soon flying cars might not just exist in the pages of fiction, the Weasley’s driveway and the world of the Jetsons. The flying car could be commercially available in the next decade, following the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to classify the Terrafugia Transition as a “light sport aircraft” — with some exemptions — the first step in making the flying car legal. But the “flying car” in development isn’t exactly like the Ford Anglia Harry Potter and Ron Weasley once traveled in or the spaceship-esque vehicle George Jetson took to work. It looks like, well, a small plane. But the wings…

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Able Wireless Goes Live in Kenya With Kshs 500 Home Internet and TV for the Masses


Able wireless has gone live with a pilot for home internet in Ruaraka, Nairobi. The startup that has had a tough time getting into the market after previous hurdles with regulation takes on the big boys. The Kenyan startup took many months to get their hardware-based product type approved by the Communications Authority that by the time they got the approval, they were already burnt out. They took a break and for the last few months were setting up for roll-out. The solution they sell includes a Raspberry Pi powered TV box and an internet connection. Set up for this is…

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Wearable technology is so yesterday, now try swallowables


In the evolution of computing, from the desktop computer to the smartphone to the watch, it seemed like just a matter of time before the technology would come to be swallowable — and now it is. The innovation at the heart of it is an FDA-approved ingestible sensor housed in pills, designed to help patients adhere to the medications their doctors prescribe. Except the sensor isn’t powered by a battery, it’s powered by the gut of the patient swallowing it, using technology discovered two centuries ago. “We have a small, food-particle-sized piece of silicon, an integrated circuit, and on one…

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WhatsApp toughens encryption after Apple-FBI row


The popular messaging service WhatsApp said Tuesday it had implemented “full end-to-end encryption,” a move which steps up privacy but may lead to conflicts with law enforcement agencies. The Facebook-owned mobile application with one billion users worldwide made the announcement following weeks of intense debate over efforts by US authorities to compel Apple to help break into an encrypted iPhone. “WhatsApp has always prioritized making your data and communication as secure as possible,” a blog post announcing the change said. “And today, we’re proud to announce that we’ve completed a technological development that makes WhatsApp a leader in protecting your…

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Are the days of Wi-Fi numbered? Now enters Li-Fi, 100 times faster


BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 23 – Connecting your Smartphone to the web with just a lamp – that is the promise of Li-Fi, featuring Internet access 100 times faster than Wi-Fi with revolutionary wireless technology. French start-up Oledcomm demonstrated the technology at the Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile fair, in Barcelona. As soon as a Smartphone was placed under an office lamp, it started playing a video. The big advantage of Li-Fi, short for “light fidelity”, is its lightning speed. Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of over 200 Gbps – fast enough to “download the equivalent of 23…

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‘Car hacking’ just got real as hackers disable SUV on busy US highway


It was a driver’s worst nightmare. Andy Greenberg was speeding along a busy interstate in St. Louis recently when he suddenly lost control of his vehicle. The accelerator abruptly stopped working. The car crawled to a stop. As 18-wheelers whizzed by his stalled vehicle, Greenberg began to panic. His car hadn’t spun out on black ice, however. It hadn’t been hit by another vehicle or experienced engine trouble. It had been hacked. Greenberg, a senior writer for Wired magazine, had asked Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek — two “white hat” or altruistic hackers — to show him what they could do. So, while Greenberg…

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