Two arrested for hiding cameras in motel rooms and charging for access to livestreams

    Some 1,600 people were secretly livestreamed while staying in South Korean motel rooms where cameras had been hidden by criminals who operated a 4,000-user service for voyeurs, where a $45/month upcharge bought subscribers the right to access replays and other extra services. Read the rest

    New iPad Mini, iPad Air

    Android tablets being crummy and Microsoft ones being dismembered laptops, it's nice that Apple's unexpectedly announced new models of its aging iPad Mini and iPad Air.

    The 10.5" iPad Air weighs one pound and starts at $499, while the 7.9" iPad Mini has pencil support, an ultra-high DPI and starts at $399. Both use Apple's latest A12 chips and have optional LTE.

    The new Air effectively replaces last-gen iPads with something a little smaller and much more powerful, while the Mini should be especially interesting to artists and designers who don't want to hoik around a ~$800+ iPad Pro just to get dirty. From the press release it appears to be the last-gen pencil with the standard 60hz refresh rate, but even then the latency is in a league of its own. Read the rest

    Lockpicking Lawyer wins $100 proving a fancy padlock can be opened in less than three minutes

    Enjoy one minute and eleven seconds of fun from the Lockpicking Lawyer, who makes short work of a Smartkey Kwikset Padlock [Amazon], which you absolutely shouldn't buy as a gift for someone whose property you have plans for. Read the rest

    Good deals today on 2018 iPad Pros

    I finally pulled the trigger on the new iPad Pro because of today's deals at Amazon; affiliate links follow below. Every year I throw all my computers in a dumpster and make another desperate, clawing, doomed effort to use an iPad Pro as my "only machine" and it is once again Time.

    Here's what's up:

    11" models

    2018 11" iPad Pro (WiFi, 64GB) – $749.99 [$50 off] 2018 11" iPad Pro (WiFi, 256GB) – $879.00 [$70 off] 2018 11" iPad Pro (WiFi, 512GB) – $1,064.81 [$84 off] 2018 11" iPad Pro (WiFi+LTE, 64GB) – $899 [$50 off] 2018 11" iPad Pro (WiFi+LTE, 512GB) – $1,199 [$100 off] 2018 11" iPad Pro (WiFi+LTE, 1TB) – $1,589 [$109 off]

    12.9" models

    2018 12.9" iPad Pro (WiFi, 64B) – $1067 [$81 off] 2018 12.9" iPad Pro (WiFi, 256B) – $1,067 [$81 off] 2018 12.9" iPad Pro (WiFi, 512GB) – $1,249 [$99 off]

    Other iPads are on special too, but don't bother, they're all old and soon to be replaced. Read the rest

    The Hall Typewriter: the world's first 'laptop'

    Martin Howard from Antique Typewriter (previously) writes, "In 1881, Thomas Hall, a Brooklyn engineer, invented the first portable typewriter that would enable a person to type with the machine anywhere, even on one’s lap. This was also the first index typewriter, a typewriter with no keyboard that requires one to use a selector. In this case, a black handle is depressed to choose the characters when typing. The Hall, despite its unusual design, proved to be quite successful over the next twenty years." Read the rest

    Co-inventor of handheld electronic calculator dies

    Jerry Merryman, who co-invented the handheld electronic calculator in 1965, is dead at 86.

    Merryman told NPR's "All Things Considered" in 2013, "It was late 1965 and Jack Kilby, my boss, presented the idea of a calculator. He called some people in his office. He says, we'd like to have some sort of computing device, perhaps to replace the slide rule. It would be nice if it were as small as this little book that I have in my hand."

    Merryman added, "Silly me, I thought we were just making a calculator, but we were creating an electronic revolution."

    Kilby died in 2005: Microchip pioneer Jack Kilby Dies at 81

    Photos: Smithsonia Museum; Montage: Matt Novak / Gizmodo Read the rest

    Who needs foldable smartphones when you can just clip two together?

    Samsung and Huawei wowed early-adopters (and their creditors) this week with cutting-edge designs for foldable tablet-phones. LG's genius answer is to just clip two screens together. The BBC:

    It has created a second display as a detachable accessory. The end result may look less elegant thanks to the gap between the screens, but it is likely to cost less. The 6.2in (15.7cm) V50 ThinQ handset and its matching Dual Screen add-on both use OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology.

    Read the rest

    Samsung's foldable phone is called the Fold and will cost $1980

    After tax, you're clear of two grand. Read the rest

    As sports company abandons support for "smart" basketball, Nike pushes a software update that bricks its self-tying shoes

    Wilson X was the sports manufacturer's entry into the market for smart basketballs, but maintaining the app that made sense of the telemetry from your sensor-equipped roundball was expensive and stupid and so the Wilson X app is no more, and the "B" in "B-ball" stands for "bricked." Read the rest

    Yes, get a high-end vacuum cleaner

    Angela Lashbrook has followed the online recommendations for vacuum cleaners and found them wanting. The high-end brands that never get consideration in roundups of vacs are much better at sucking your carpet clean of filth.

    A simple task like cleaning my kitchen or vacuuming my rugs may seem small and relatively unimportant. But research shows that feeling control over elements of one’s life can help reduce stress, so is it any wonder that our generation is so attracted to the concept of home improvement? The capability to transform a chaotic environment into an orderly one can take my anxiety from a nine to a five or four; having a vacuum I don’t have to fight makes my pursuit of tidiness and eventual mental peace closer to effortless.

    This is, of course, why you don't see a professional cleaners or hotel mails hauling around a $100 Hoover Linx or whatever piece of crap Wirecutter recommends, but you do see them with models like the Miele Compact C2 [Amazon link] she recommends. It's currently $400 for the hard-floor model and $600 for the pet-hair model. Oof!

    When my Dyson broke I needed a cheap vac in a hurry, checked craigslist, and ended up with a barely-used Sebo X1 for less than a hundred dollars. It was and is a complete revelation: just whipping it around that first golden day filled its bag with stuff the supposedly premium Dyson couldn't even sniff. It's a discontinued model, but the current equivalent is about a grand new so, haha, you cheapskates should probably just get a Miele. Read the rest

    Magic Lantern: feature-rich addons for Canon EOS cameras

    Magic Lantern is a suite of feature-rich add-ons for your Canon EOS camera that you load via a SD card; in addition to a suite of video-recording tools, Magic Lantern allows fine-grained gain adjustments, selection of input sources, wind filters, audio monitoring, and better tools for everything from white-balance to exposure presets to overlays to help with exposure and other settings. The source is available for inspection and modification, of course. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

    A malicious USB cable with its own wifi rig

    MG has built a proof-of-concept malicious USB cable with a tiny wifi radio hidden inside of it, able to wirelessly exfilatrate stolen data; he calls it the O. MG, and while the prototype cost him $4k and took 300 hours, he's working with a team on a small production run for other security researchers to play with. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

    Florida inmates sue prisons for digitally confiscating the music they were sold

    Last August, Florida's prison system announced that it was switching digital music providers and would be wiping out the $11.2 million worth of music that it had sold inmates -- music they'd paid for at $1.70/track, nearly double the going rate for music when not purchased from prison-system profiteers. Read the rest

    An "e-ink typewriter" that can only do one thing

    Lucian's SPUDwriter (Single Purpose User Device) was designed to help him focus on creative writing after a long day of staring at a screen in his engineering job: it uses an e-ink screen and a keyboard, and only outputs via SD card or thermal printer.

    As a person who does all of their engineering work on or adjacent to a computer, the idea of coming home and spending even MORE time on the computer for creative writing isn’t super appealing. So I made an e-paper typewriter – no browser, no games, just you and your word count. It has a character LCD at the bottom for the current line you’re typing, to make up for how slow E-paper updates, and when you’re finished you can save your file to an SD card or print it all out with the internal thermal receipt printer for redline editing. I call it the SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device), hopefully the first of a couple of SPUDs. It’s built on MBED and the STM32F401 Cortex M4.

    The SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device) for creating writing made with E-paper, MBED, and STM32F401 Cortex M4 [Adafruit]

    (Thanks, PT!)

    Read the rest

    The Internet of Dongs remains a security dumpster-fire -- UPDATED

    The Internet of Dongs is Brad Haines's term for the world of internet-connected, "teledildonic" sex toys, and Haines, along with Sarah Jamie Lewis, have exhaustively documented all the ways in which internet-connected sex toys can screw you, from leaking private data to physically attacking your junk. Read the rest

    Bossfight: Allstate Insurance enters the Right to Repair fight, loans its lobbyists to fight Apple

    The Right to Repair movement got state legislatures to consider more than a dozen Right to Repair bills last year, and have made great strides in the EU and elsewhere, but for every two steps forward they manage, they're forced a step or two back by giant corporate lobbyists, led by Apple, who want to ensure that third parties can't repair products, and that a manufacturer's decision it's time to retire a product from the market won't be challenged by independent repair depots. Read the rest

    Amazon just bought mesh wifi company Eero. Oh, great.

    We have an Eero system in our house; it does really good and reliable wifi distribution, including to my office in the garage. And it was nice to have a piece of home electronics that was neither from one of the great data-sucking companies like Google, nor from the control-freak companies like Apple -- and also not from a no-name white-label re-badger or a giant shitty telco switch company whose consumer products arm is an afterthought. Read the rest

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