Thursday, March 20, 2014

Malaysia Airlines MH370 Found or Lost

Last week, McGill-educated pilot Chris Goodfellow posted a lengthy theory on Google Plus that purportedly explained what happened to the Boeing 777 that vanished without a trace on March 8.

He said the Malaysian military tracked the plane making a left turn toward the Malay peninsula into the straits of Malacca, which suggested to him that it was heading for an airport on the island of Pulau Langkawi.

In Goodfellow's own words:

"We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbour while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don't want to be thinking what are you going to do — you already know what you are going to do."
He wrote that the pilot was a "hero" who was likely responding to a fire on the plane, which would have led crew members to pull all the circuits and breakers until they found the faulty one.

This, he wrote, would explain the loss of transponders and communications.

The Toronto Star reported Goodfellow saying that a fire could have started due to improperly stored lithium ion batteries or poorly inflated tires, but the former theory does not appear in his blog post.

He shot down reports of a hijacking because, he said, the plane would not have made a left turn towards Langkawi.

Goodfellow added that the MH370 likely crashed en route to the airport, and that looking for it elsewhere is pointless.

His theory went viral with 2,060 shares on Google Plus. Wired re-published it Tuesday with the headline, "A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet" and The Atlantic on Monday said the explanation "makes sense."

But it's also being pilloried by at least one outlet that claims Goodfellow didn't take all the facts into account.

Slate's Jeff Wise wrote that while the plane turned towards Langkawi, it also later turned right and headed for a waypoint known as "Vampi," northeast of Indonesia's Aceh province.

It also set a course for a waypoint called "Gival," south of Phuket, Thailand, and was later tracked on a route going over the Andaman Islands, Reuters reported.

"Such vigorous navigating would have been impossible for unconscious men," Wise wrote.

He also pointed out that an electronic ping detected by the Inmarsat Satellite at 8:11 a.m. on March 8 narrowed the plane's location to one of two arcs, one in central Asia, the other in the Indian Ocean.

"As MH370 flew from its original course toward Langkawi, it was headed toward neither. Without human intervention — which would go against Goodfellow’s theory — it simply could not have reached the position we know it attained at 8:11 a.m.," Wise wrote.

Ironically, Wise's own analysis of Goodfellow's theory has gained a life of its own online.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Galaxy S3 Android 4.3, JellyBean Update Begins Rolling Out for International Version Again

The Galaxy S3 Android 4.3, JellyBean update started rolling out once again for the international version.

The company stopped the update not too long ago due to certain issues users were having. Galaxy S3 owners noticed several performance and battery problems with the software and complained about it directly to Samsung influencing them to pull the plug on the initial roll out.

The new version of the firmware is available to owners of the GT-I9300 model. The update will bring full Galaxy Gear support, but does not come with Samsung Knox features. It can be installed OTA over-the-air or through Samsung KIES.

The Android 4.3, JellyBean update also recently became available for the Galaxy Note 2 in Canada. Multiple carriers in the country have already begun rolling out the software to the phablet such as Mobilicity and Videotron. It is available OTA (over-the-air). The update weighs in at over 700MB and brings various improvements to the device.

Sprint Galaxy Note 2 users can also update to Android 4.3, JellyBean. The final version of the firmware began rolling out to the carrier's customers at the end of last month. Android 4.3 brings a slew of changes to the Galaxy Note 2 such as TouchWiz refresh to match the theme from the Galaxy S4 and Note 3, a new lockscreen with multiple widgets, adjustable clock size and personal message, actionable notifications and daydream mode.

Users will also be able to move apps to the SD card and will have new screen modes such as Adapt Display and Professional Photo. TRIM support will be added to improve performance along with Galaxy Gear support, Driving Mode, voice commands and Samsung KNOX compatibility.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fast and Furious Actor Paul Walker Dead at 40

Paul Walker, an actor best known for his role as a fast-driving cop opposite bad-guy-gone-good Vin Diesel in the Fast and Furious movie series died on Saturday in a car crash in Santa Clarita, California, according to multiple sources. Walker was 40 years old.

News of the fatal crash spread first online after celebrity news site TMZ broke the story. Initially, most other news outlets and Twitter accounts picked it up as a report.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kmart's Jingle Bells Ads Has Legs

Nothing rings in the holiday season like men in boxers thrusting to the tune of "Jingle Bells." Kmart unveiled its latest Christmas ad on Monday and it's quite a sight for the eyes.

The 1:00 spot features six men seemingly dressed in suits as they play bells behind a table. But when the table and bells are whisked away, they appear in Joe BoxersKmart's branded collection — and find a new way to keep the song going.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The 10 U.S. Cities With the Worst Commutes

Those living in the Washington, D.C., metro area may want to rethink their decision to drive to work. The average commuter in D.C. spent 67 hours stuck in traffic in 2012.

It's not just Washingtonians who have it bad when it comes to traffic, though. Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York commuters each wasted roughly 60 hours in traffic last year.

Statista's chart, which uses data from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, shows the 10 cities in the United States where commuters sat in traffic for longest in 2012.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

GPS tracking apps make Halloween safer by keeping tabs on kids

Parents spend their whole lives teaching their children not to accept candy from strangers. So what do we do? We celebrate a night each year where we allow our children to accept candy from strangers ­— and in the dark no less.

Such is the ghastly tradition of Halloween. But with today’s technology, namely a smartphone, parents can help temper their worries. There are apps for smartphones that can track your children so they can journey from door to door in search of the elusive full-sized candy bar in complete safety.

So as your children are on their trick-or-treating route, you can use an iPad or a desktop computer to see exactly where they are going in real time. If your kids don’t have their own iPhone, perhaps you can lend them yours and then turn on another app, Find My iPhone, which tracks your own phone in case you lose it.

Find My Friends (iPhone, free) » If you’re an Apple user with kids who also have iPhones, this free Apple-produced app should be on your phone anyway. It is capable of tracking your kids, or friends, on a map at any time as long as you get their permission. And unlike other apps, it doesn’t put an extra drain on your battery.

Trick or Treating (iPhone, 99 cents) » With this app, children can input the contact information of all of their loved ones as well as police should they get lost and need direction to get home. All of the addresses are then displayed on a map.

SecuraFone (iPhone, Android, free, monthly service fee) » This full-featured app allows you to track the user in real time. But it also can send the parent alerts and notifications whenever the child with the phone is changing directions or speed. It also includes emergency contacts that can be accessed immediately.

GPS Phone Tracker (iPhone, Android, free) » Another tracker that parents can use to keep real-time tabs on their children. It also can log where they’ve been every couple of minutes so you can see the trail they’re leaving behind.

Life360 (iPhone, Android, free) » Here is a robust GPS tracker with a lot of features including the ability to organize groups of friends you’re following, a "panic" button your child can use if he or she is in trouble, and more. The free version has basic features, but there also is a premium service that provides a lot more.

Gone Out — Later Folks (iPhone, $1.99) » This app allows kids to keep their parents up to date on where they are and where they are going. The child can take a picture and record the location of where he or she is at and send that information to parents.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Apple's FIngerprint Scanner Doesn't Work All The Time

AuthenTec cofounder F. Scott Moody put the most groundbreaking work his company has done on display this October at North Carolina State University, where he showed off Apple's Touch ID to engineering students.

Purchased last year by Apple for $356 million, AuthenTec is behind the iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor, a tiny device located underneath the phone's home button. The sensor uses a finger's grooves and pores to identify its owner, and it gets to know you better every time you use it.

Fingerprinting wasn't always so easy, though, according to Apple Insider. Touch ID was initially called FingerLoc, and the technology sometimes worked in fits and starts. Moody once got IBM's chief technology officer to test out the sensor, only to have it misidentify him.

But AuthenTec eventually revamped its sensor into a tiny device that only costs $0.80, and Motorola, Fujitsu and Apple in particular expressed interest in the company. Now, after the sale and the introduction of the sensor into the iPhone 5S, the work Moody helped spearhead is a part of millions of lives.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Apple to Offer 12-Inch Retina MacBook in 2014

In a research note shared by 9to5Mac, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will release a 12-inch Retina MacBook sometime in either the second or third quarter of 2014.

The report claims that the laptop will sport an entirely new design. However, the device isn’t termed as being a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, so it’s unclear if this might represent a new laptop category for the computer maker, or simply an upgrade to an existing model.

Aside from the MacBook rumor, Ming-Chi Kuo’s report also claims that Apple may release a lower-cost iMac around the same time as the new MacBook, as well as a sixth-generation, 9.7-inch iPad with 30-40% higher PPI (pixels-per-inch) than the current Retina iPad.

Of course, only Apple knows what it really has planned for 2014. But Ming-Chi Kuo has a decent track record for making such long-range predictions.

So while it wouldn’t be advisable to bet on these latest product forecasts as being 100 percent accurate, you can probably expect at least some of these rumors to come true this time next year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Microsoft Recycles Inactive Outlook, Hotmail Email Accounts

Microsoft is recycling inactive email accounts for its Outlook, Hotmail and Live services, potentially exposing users to previous owners' private information, according to a new report posted by Dutch website Webwereld.

The software giant's services agreement informs users that they must periodically log in to their Outlook, Hotmail or Windows Live ID accounts to keep them active. It reads:

"The Microsoft branded services require that you sign in to your Microsoft account periodically, at a minimum of every 270 days, to keep the Microsoft branded services portion of the services active, unless provided otherwise in an offer for a paid portion of the services. If you fail to sign in during this period, we may cancel your access to the Microsoft branded services. If the Microsoft branded services are cancelled due to your failure to sign in, your data may be permanently deleted from our servers."

The agreement doesn't specify whether accounts would then be recycled, but Microsoft confirmed this to Webwereld and PCWorld, saying "The email account is automatically queued for deletion from our servers. Then, after a total of 360 days, the email account name is made available again."

Yahoo has also come under fire for recycling email addresses, but the company warns users about this policy in its terms of service.

For its part, Google says it will not recycle usernames, according to its terms of service. Users can never sign up for a Gmail account previously held by another person, even if that account has been deleted for years.