Humor: Nokia 3310 bend test

Humor: Nokia 3310 bend testReleased 14 years ago, the Nokia 3310 is frequently presented as the epitome of toughness, being widely recognized as one of the sturdiest phones ever made. Thus, it often appears in funny comparisons that pit it against modern smartphones, or in tests that, time and time again, try to make fun of newer handsets.

Right now, one of the tests that are trending is the bend test. Following Apple’s#bendgate (related to the relative fragileness of the iPhone 6 Plus), everyone wants to know which smartphones bend easier than others. 

We’ve seen quite a few flagship handsets getting bent (here, or here), but what about the good ol’ Nokia 3310? Well, someone had to check if it bends, and, as you’ll see (and hear), the test definitely did some damage. But we’re not going to spoil it for you, so here it is:

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iOS 8 Security Flaw Makes It Possible to Bypass Touch ID and Passcode

YouTube user EverythingApplesPro
has found a security vulnerability involving Apple’s iOS 8 Touch ID and
Passcode. Using either iOS 8 or 8.0.2 while your iPhone is plugged into
a computer or wall charger, with the “Allow Hey Siri” setting
activated, a glitch allows you to enter the iPhone unhindered. We’ve
confirmed that it works.

The process is pretty simple but has a
low success rate, at least in our attempts on an iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s.
Essentially you ask Siri a question on the lock screen. For example, we
used “What’s the weather like tomorrow.” As Siri’s thinking up the
answer, press the home button and swipe right and you may just slip past
Apple’s iOS 8 security defenses.

As the uploader warns, and as
we can personally attest, it might take one, or two, or 30 tries until
you get through, but we were able to accomplish the feat using the steps
above on an iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 running iOS 8.0.2 after several
rounds of querying. As far as vulnerabilities go it’s probably not that
dangerous; it demands a very specific set of requirements, and a
situation where you’re likely to be near enough to your phone to prevent
anyone from accessing it in the first place. Still, security that works
all the time is better than security with holes in it. Hopefully iOS
8.0.3 is coming soon with a fix.

We’ve reached out to Apple concerning the issue and will update if and when we hear back.

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Can’t Go Back Now: Apple Stops Supporting iOS 7

Can't Go Back Now: Apple Stops Supporting iOS 7

With every new iOS update, there are bugs and glitches. Oh man, were there ever glitches with iOS 8. For a brief time, if you knew how, you could go back to the sane stability of iOS 7. Not anymore—Apple stopped signing iOS 7.1.2 on Friday afternoon.

This, of course, was bound to happen. Apple likes to nudge its users along to the latest OS as quickly as possible, and for the most part that’s a good idea: The newest software has the newest security patches, even if you’re running an older device that can’t take advantage of all the new
software’s bells and whistles.

But with iOS 8.0.1 breaking users’ phones to the point where they couldn’t make calls, and iOS 8.0 seriously bogging down some older hardware, it was nice to have an escape route back to iOS 7, even if it was a convoluted one.

No such luck any more. If you’ve got iOS 8, you’re there for life—or at least until the next update rolls out. [AppleInsider via CultOfMac]

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BlackBerry’s Passport is a square in looks, but not personality

For the first time in ages, I’m intrigued by a BlackBerry device.

That’s rather unusual these days, but it wasn’t always this way. I remember when I first saw the Pearl eight years ago; it was one of the most beautiful devices I’d ever seen. The Curve and Bold
series didn’t disappoint either. But the magic has been missing from
the Canadian phone maker for a long time, evidenced by its struggling sales.
Only one in a hundred smartphone owners use a BlackBerry, and the
company’s older-generation hardware is still outselling current
BlackBerry 10 handsets. Now it’s putting much of its hope in a
unique-looking squarish device called the Passport,
which launches today in five countries (with 30 total by the end of the
year). The $599 off-contract/$249 on-contract device ($699 in Canada
and £529 in the UK, off-contract) is designed to appeal to fans of
physical keyboards and large displays. It may not restore the magic
BlackBerry’s lost in recent years, but my initial experience with the
Passport has been more positive than I expected. At least that’s a
start, right?

Calling the Passport a square device isn’t quite accurate,
but it’s pretty close: It features a 4.5-inch square LCD panel with a
resolution of 1,440 x 1,440 pixels (for a pixel density of 453 ppi),
with a squished keyboard underneath that doubles as a touch-sensitive
trackpad. (More on this soon.) Instead of the phone prompting a
love-at-first-sight reaction from the people I showed it to, most folks
had a bewildered look on their faces, as if to say, “What is the point
of this thing?”

It’s not hard to understand why. The smartphone is named after the
booklet that allows international travelers to enter and exit countries,
presumably because its dimensions are nearly identical; place a real
passport on top of the Passport and you’ll only see the outline of the
device. It’s 128mm tall and 9.3mm thick, and it’s on the hefty side at
6.86 ounces (194g), but the 90.3mm width is the most striking part of
the phone’s hardware. To put it in perspective, it’s wider than the
5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the Galaxy Note 4 and the 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520, and is only 1.9mm narrower than the 6.4-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra. It’s also just a tenth of a millimeter skinnier than the LG Optimus Vu, which sports a nearly identical shape, but without the keyboard.

The crazy width on the Passport is no accident — the designers made
it this way on purpose. In fact, BlackBerry boasts that it’s 30 percent
wider than an average 5-inch device, and as a result you’ll see 60
characters on a single line. In other words, the manufacturer expects
you to do a lot of reading on the phone, whether it be emails, messages,
websites or e-books.

Naturally, the first thing I asked BlackBerry reps when shown the
phone was how anyone will possibly be able to use the device one-handed.
To the company’s credit, the Passport feels very comfortable to hold
with two hands, so anyone who misses the tactile feel of a physical
keyboard will be right at home in this position. It was everything else
— the stuff that doesn’t involve typing — that I was concerned about.
How am I supposed to use it in the subway? BlackBerry responded by
rotating the phone into landscape mode.

Landscape mode would normally seem silly on a square device with a
physical keyboard, but the phone’s engineers added a neat trick. As
briefly mentioned earlier, the three-row keyboard doubles as a trackpad,
and this comes in handy in several ways. In landscape, it lets you
scroll through websites, feeds and other content without having to reach
onto the screen. (Sure, it doesn’t feel quite as awkward to hold this
way, as long as you prop the bottom of the phone up with your pinky
finger.) It also adds gestures to your typing experience; three word
predictions will pop up on a virtual bar at the bottom of the screen,
and you can swipe up from below that word to choose it, which eliminates
the need to stop what you’re doing to tap on the screen. You can also
swipe left to delete a full word and use the pad to move the cursor
around.

The phone is also missing a physical number row, which ends up being
the weirdest part of the experience. Instead, BlackBerry offers a
virtual row at the bottom of the screen that dynamically changes based
on the context of what you’re typing. When composing an email, for
instance, the “to” field will pull up different keys than the “subject”
field. Some apps or fields will pull up a dedicated number row, but most
just hide it so you have to tap on the symbol button to access them.
(Another alternative is to swipe down on the right side of the board;
this pulls up a virtual three-row keyboard that acts as a hotmap, so you
can press “X” to type “7,” or “E” to type “2.”)

After a little bit of use, the keyboard actually feels more
comfortable to use than I expected, but it definitely will require an
adjustment period. I get thrown off anytime I have to switch from the
tactile keyboard to tapping on the hard screen, and it’s difficult to
get used to the small space bar and lack of physical symbol or number
keys. Still, it didn’t take long before I found myself getting into a
groove.

The Passport is the first BlackBerry device to come with OS 10.3.
Among its list of features is Assistant, the platform’s first attempt at
a digital assistant like Siri, Cortana or Google Now. Long-press the
middle button on the right side to activate the feature, which uses
Nuance technology to process what you’re trying to say. As you might
expect, you can use Assistant to tackle tasks like calling and texting
friends, sending emails, creating and editing appointments, checking in
on Foursquare, playing music, getting navigation routes and sending
social media updates.

Additionally, the Passport comes with support for the Amazon
Appstore, so users will have more app options (though still not as many
as its competitors). Just as before, you’ll still be able to sideload
Android apps, as long as they are compatible with Android 4.3 or
earlier; KitKat apps still aren’t supported on BlackBerry’s runtime.

The company’s also launching a service today called BlackBerry Blend,
which is akin to the Continuity feature on iOS — through an app on
your computer or tablet, you can manage your phone’s content, transfer
files back and forth, send and receive texts/BBM messages and handle
both your personal and secure work stuff. The service will be available
as a free download on Mac OS X 10.7 and better, iOS 7 and higher,
Windows 7-plus and Android 4.4 KitKat, but BlackBerry plans to launch
extra enterprise features through subscription in the coming weeks.

Once I got past its awkward facade, I noticed that it’s actually very
solidly built. Nothing on it feels cheap; it comes with a stainless
steel frame along the sides, with a black, soft-touch plastic on the
back that, along with the fret racing across the top half of the phone,
gives it an elegant look and feel. The unlocked model retains the
company’s signature logo on the back, but nothing else.

Surprisingly, the Passport packs a respectable spec sheet. It’s
powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip and comes with 3GB of
RAM, 32GB of internal storage (with microSDXC allowing up to 64GB of
external space), a 13MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and optical
image stabilization, dual-band WiFi with 802.11ac support, a
four-microphone setup, NFC, Miracast and 10 LTE bands. And let’s not
forget the 3,450mAh battery, which is one of the top benefits of the
phone’s size. Unfortunately, it’s not removable; the only part of the
back you can take off is the top section, above the top fret. This
section contains the nano-SIM and microSD slots.

Overall, my first impressions of the Passport are better than I
expected. The device is built well and the keyboard is comfortable, but
be prepared for a few odd stares from those around you. That said, I
have plenty of reservations: I’m not sold on BlackBerry’s solution to
the phone’s one-handed dilemma, and although the app situation is better
than it was a year ago, it’s still not great. I have a unit that I’ll
be testing over the next week and will offer my thoughts in a full
review.

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Our iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus battery life tests are done, both trail the competition

Both trail the competition

Our iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus battery life tests are done, both trail the competition

For most Apple fans, the iPhone, irrespective of the generation, is above
reproach. And in our experience, this is justified for a very big part.
But the latest iPhones, including the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,
have a very specific and undeniable weakness when compared with what
competitors offer, and that weakness is battery life.

As usual, we
put the two aforementioned iPhones though our custom battery life test,
which attempts to estimate how long the average person will be able to
use a given device if he doesn’t put it down at all. With that in mind,
the iPhone 6 battery life score of 5 hours and 22 minutes is
underwhelming, especially if you consider competitors from the Android
camp — the Samsung Galaxy S5, for example, clocks in at 7 hours and 38
minutes, while the new Sony Xperia Z3 managed the whopping 9 hours 29
minutes. Both of these have larger-capacity batteries, but aren’t as
thin as the iPhone 6 — though that’s one trade-off that not all would
agree with.
Looking at the iPhone 6 Plus battery life results,
things are better — it scored 6 hours and 32 minutes, which is
actually better than competing 5.5-inchers like the LG G3 (6 hours 14
minutes) and Oppo Find 7a (6 hours 6 minutes), but still trails a number
of flagship Android devices from the last year or so. Still, the
significantly larger physical footprint of the iPhone 6 Plus has
obviously allowed for a more generous battery, and this shows. Check out
the results below.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.

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More worrying evidence of the iPhone 6 Plus’ fragility: see it easily getting bent on video

More worrying evidence of the iPhone 6 Plus' fragility: see it easily getting bent on video

Several hours ago, we told you that a few iPhone 6 Plus owners discovered that their devices had suffered slight deformation
from normal usage (i.e., just sitting inside a front pocket). Are these
isolated cases, or is Apple’s new and huge iPhone a bit too fragile?
Well, it seems that the latter is – unfortunately – the case.

The
guys from YouTube channel Unbox Therapy tested just how much pressure
the iPhone 6 Plus can take – using bare hands. As you’ll see in the
video below, the device can be quite easily bent. Unlike LG’s G Flex, which is literally flexible,
the iPhone 6 Plus obviously can’t regain its initial shape by itself.
Sure enough, no sane person will try to bend his or her phone
(regardless of its maker) like that. Still, this represents worrying
evidence that the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t as solid as it should have been.

As
you may know, the iPhone 6 Plus is made out of aluminum, and is Apple’s
largest smartphone ever, measuring 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches (158.1 x
77.8 x 7.1 mm). It’s also Apple’s heaviest iPhone: 6.07 ounces (172
grams).

We’re looking forward to seeing what Apple has to say
about this problem – which has the potential to bother many current (or
future) iPhone 6 Plus users.

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Leaked: GoPro’s New, Budget-Friendly HERO Action Camera

Leaked: GoPro's New, Budget-Friendly HERO Action Camera

The GoPro leak machine just keeps on leaking: PetaPixel just revealed that GoPro may add a low-spec, budget model to the bottom of its action cam line. Meet the HERO.

If PetaPixel’s intel
is to be believed—and they’ve been extremely reliable in the past—the
simply-named HERO will give up some of the fancier features of its
bigger brothers. No touch display, no 4K video mode, no Wi-Fi or
Bluetooth connectivity.

What it will have is high-quality 1080p30
and 720p60 video, a one-touch QuikCapture button to power-on and start
recording with a single press, 5-frame-per-second burst photo mode at
5MP, and a 0.5 second time lapse.

The 3.9 oz model comes in an
integrated, non-removable rugged waterproof case safe to 131 feet,
automatic low-light mode, 2.5 hours of battery life, a built-in
microphone, and an SD slot for up to 32GB of removable storage.

We
still don’t know what pricing will be like, but if PetaPixel’s info is
legit, the affordable HERO should offer some great basic capabilities
without the bells and whistles that could push the upcoming Hero4’s
pricing beyond reach for some customers. We’ll find out for certain on
October 8th, when PetaPixel says the new line will officially be announced. [PetaPixel]

Images via PetaPixel

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FoundationDB adds SQL personality to its database

Summary: Although organizations are exploring No-SQL and Big Data
databases, many would like to access these data stores using a SQL
interface. FoundationDB is now offering a SQL “personality” for their
key-value store database.

During my last discussion with FoundationDB‘s
Dave Rosenthal and Ori Hernstadt, they mentioned that the company was
poised to announce a SQL layer, or “personality module”, designed to
allow developers already familiar with SQL to easily use FoundationDB
for transaction-oriented or big data applications. (See “FoundationDB: Back to the future with key-value store” for more information on FoundationDB and key-value stores.)

http://ift.tt/1wDc0XfThe company just launched SQL Layer as an add-on product to its FoundationDB database. Here’s a quick take on the announcement.

SQL Layer

Here’s what the company has to say about the product:

The SQL Layer is an ANSI SQL engine that stores its data in the
Key-Value Store, inheriting its incredible properties. It is best suited
for operational (OLTP) applications with high concurrency.

FoundationDB’s SQL Layer makes its highly distributed, key-value
store database appear to be a single SQL database to applications. What
the company has actually developed is a stateless “layer” that
translates and stores all data in their Key-Value Store. The
architecture was designed to provide a familiar interface to the
back-end data grid. FoundationDB presents this approach as providing a
high level of scalability and fault-tolerance.

Snapshot analysis

At first glance, this announcement isn’t earth shattering, but it is
an important step in making FoundationDB a more friendly tool for all
those SQL-trained developers out there. It can hide a key-value store
database approaches behind a traditional structured query language
personality without sacrificing any of the flexibility, scalability or
reliability of the underlying database.

This is a good move for the company and will make it easier to get
developers to look at FoundationDB. While I don’t expect these
developers to suddenly decide to move all of their enterprise
applications over to this platform, I do believe that it will be easier
to get them to try it out.

Topics: Big Data, Data Management | ZDNet

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The Unexpected Success of the Boeing 747 by Ed van Hinte (Works That Work magazine)

Ask anyone to name the first type of airplane that springs to mind,
and the answer is likely to be the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. From 1970 until
the 2007 introduction of Airbus’ A380, it was the largest passenger
carrier ever, and the remarkable image of its bulky head has become part
of our cultural consciousness. It may come as a surprise that this
unique shape was not a design choice, but rather the by-product of an
extremely complicated development process that involved gruelling
effort, interminable paperwork, vehement debate and little attention to
visual values.

Passenger airplanes are extraordinary machines. They are a crucial
element in a worldwide system that transfers millions of people safely
and efficiently through thin, icy air over vast distances in a very
short time. Day in, day out, they fly higher than the highest mountain
ranges and move faster than any other means of public transportation.
Yet there are surprisingly few of them: the total world fleet of all
passenger airplanes presently amounts to 25,000 at the most, including
almost 1,500 Boeing 747s. For comparison, over the past year 800,000
cars were sold in Beijing alone. Even a large airline such as British
Airways typically operates fewer than 250 planes (a quarter of which are
747s) that make an astonishing total of 200,000 flights a year.

The
latest version of the aircraft, the 747-8, is in production at the
Boeing Everett Factory. This variant has a maximum payload capacity of
154 tons of cargo (16 percent bigger than its predecessor), allowing it
to carry seven additional containers. Its body is more than twice as
long as the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk. (Photo
courtesy of the Boeing Company)

The birth of the Boeing 747 in the late 1960s heralded modern
intercontinental mass transportation. It represents not only the
impressive result of an intensive engineering and design process, but
also the spirit of its era, a time when belief in progress, including
access to air travel, was a phenomenal force. So much so that
corporations and governments alike began to dream out loud about
supersonic travel, about moving more people across the earth through
sheer speed: more flights per day rather than more passengers per plane.

Boeing wanted a piece of that prospective market too and launched a
government-supported project to develop the 2707 SST, an aircraft
planned to carry 300 passengers at three times the speed of sound. (By
comparison the now obsolete Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde flew 100
passengers at twice the speed of sound.) The company considered the 747 a
less-important intermediate product: something for the lower-end
subsonic market. They expected to sell a couple of hundred units or so
and projected that it would find more use as a container-carrying
freight plane. It had to be developed within 28 months, which was 30%
faster than usual even for a normal-sized jet, let alone an entirely new
flying colossus. While the 747 was still in development, however, the
government cancelled the SST programme, finding it neither
cost-effective nor fuel-efficient.

The
historic Everett Factory. In 1966, having signed a US$525 million
contract with PanAm, Boeing purchased 780 acres of land in Everett,
Washington, 30 miles north of Seattle. No existing facility could
accommodate the 747’s unprecedented size, so to build the world’s
largest airplane, Boeing had to build the world’s largest factory. With a
floor area of 398,000m² (4.3 million sq. ft) and a volume of
13,385,378m³ (472 million cu. ft), the Boeing Everett Factory is still
the largest building in the world. (Photo courtesy of the Boeing
Company)

While it still existed the SST programme drained valuable resources,
leaving Joseph Sutter, engineering chief of the 747 project, grappling
with a lack of company support. Nevertheless, he and his 4,500-member
engineering department set out to develop a very large airplane suitable
for both freight and passengers. This group in turn became the core of
the 747 programme led by Malcolm Stamper, involving a staggering total
of 50,000 people committed to developing the market, negotiating
financing, training pilots, and safety testing each and every component.
Furthermore, PanAm Airlines, as Boeing’s most important customer, also
exerted an unprecedented influence on the design process.

Boeing
747, interior mockup. A full-scale mock-up of the interior of the 747’s
passenger model. Boeing initially expected to sell only about four
hundred 747 passenger planes and designed them for easy conversion into
cargo carriers. When the passenger seats are removed the fuselage can
accommodate containers stacked two units wide, two units high and two or
three ranks deep. Boeing has since sold more than one and a half
thousand 747s. (Photo courtesy of the Boeing Company)

(Photo courtesy of the Boeing Company)

In his autobiography 747: Creating the World’s First Jumbo Jet and Other Adventures from a Life in Aviation
Sutter relates how he had to negotiate some pitched battles during the
design process. Many, if not most of them, concerned weight reduction,
how to balance the systems and components essential to safe, comfortable
flight with the profit-eating expense of transporting their combined
weight. Every aspect of the plane’s design was the subject of intense
discussion within an extensive community of people representing
different interests, objectives and opinions.

No doubt one of the most heated debates concerned the basic shape of
the fuselage. The general belief, one shared by many of Sutter’s
personnel as well as by PanAm CEO Juan Trippe, was that the design
process would inevitably produce a double-decker craft: a tall, narrow
airplane with two floors. This was mainly due to cues taken from ship
design and the general idea that the passenger airplane was a flying
ocean liner. Words like ‘crew’, ‘captain’ and ‘purser’ still bear
witness to this association.

(Photo courtesy of the Boeing Company)

Giant passenger ships are made larger by adding decks, and indeed
this was the idea that Sutter started with, but as he continued to draft
and design this model it began to present problems. In freight
applications, for example, the height of the fuselage would make it
difficult to load and unload containers. In passenger applications, the
height of the upper cabin would make completing an emergency evacuation
within the required 90 seconds dangerous, if not impossible. Searching
for alternatives, Sutter and his payload engineer Milton Heinemann
started to think along ‘heretical lines’ as they put it, developing the
idea of a wider, double-aisle fuselage. They started to explore this
novel concept and discovered that although it might be somewhat heavier,
the spacious cabin would be much more comfortable for passengers. And
loading freight into such a wide body would be much easier. The cockpit
would sit above the front loading door in the nose, trailed by a
fairing, a curved surface to reduce drag, creating a modest extra deck
and the 747’s characteristic bulge.

The engineers realised that they would have to work hard to convince
double-decker believers to accept this radical departure from the
traditional approach, and that it was possible that after the first
rumours of the wide-body solution started to circulate, Sutter could
suddenly find himself replaced by someone willing to pursue the
double-decker concept. Fortunately, by that time he had gained
sufficient authority to weather that conflict.

With Boeing finally more or less behind him, the next, even more
crucial, step was to gain the support of Juan Trippe. A meeting in New
York with PanAm representatives was arranged for this purpose, and
Heinemann, more diplomatic and less explosive than Sutter, was chosen to
present the new concept. Heinemann went about it cleverly, reserving a
conference room 6m (19.7 ft) wide, exactly the width of the proposed
cabin design, so that the executives present could experience it
directly. He let the space speak for itself, and it was a convincing
argument.

(Photo courtesy of the Boeing Company)

Before a final decision could be made, however, there had to be one
more meeting at the Everett facility where PanAm representatives could
compare full-scale mock-ups of the double-decker and wide-body models.
When Trippe enquired about the space inside the fairing atop the
wide-body fuselage, Sutter replied that it could be used by the crew as a
place to sleep or relax. When Trippe disagreed, saying that the space
would be used for passengers, Sutter realised that his wide-body concept
had won. But he probably still didn’t realise that his design would
become an icon of the airline industry for decades to come.

The Unexpected Success of the Boeing 747 by Ed van Hinte (Works That Work magazine)

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