Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

Is There a “WarKitteh” in Your Yard?

Posted by JenThorpe at 2:31 AM on August 12, 2014

Not a WarKittehThe innocent looking cat that is wandering through your backyard might be up to something sneaky. Instead of hunting mice, he or she could be hunting for Wi-Fi networks. Of course, the cat probably just thinks it is out for its usual “wander around the neighborhood”.

Gene Bransfield gave a talk at DefCon titled “How to Weaponize Your Pets”. In it, he described how to turn your cat into a “WarKitteh”. Gene Bransfield works for the security company Tenacity, and he created the “WarKitteh” idea because it amused him. The “WarKitteh” name is a reference to an activity called “wardriving”. In short, it is an activity in which a person drives around looking for weak or unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Now, your cat can go do that all by itself, no driving required.

Bransfield put together a specialized collar that contained mini-computers and an antenna (which were sewn into a collar that could be worn by a pet).

The collar was placed on a Siamese cat named Coco, who belonged to Brandsfield’s wife’s grandmother. Coco turned out to be pretty good at wandering the neighborhood. Coco spent three hours exploring some of the backyards nearby.

At the same time, the cat was mapping out dozens of the neighbor’s Wi-Fi networks and was able to gather enough data to determine which would be easy to get into. The “WarKitteh” identified four routers that were using an old form of encryption that could be easily hacked into and four more routers that had no security protection on them at all.

The primary inspiration behind the “WarKitteh” was entertainment. The results, however, showed that the “WarKitteh” could be an effective way to teach people about how to better protect their Wi-Fi networks. The “internet” is in love with cats, so I can see where this has potential.

The photo you see at the top of this blog is one I took of a cat that was wandering through my backyard a few years ago. That was before “WarKitteh” technology existed. The next cat that wanders through your backyard could be a “WarKitteh”, and you would probably not even know it had been there!

GNC #971 Good Evening Listeners!

Posted by geeknews at 1:01 AM on August 12, 2014

I update you on what happened in the storm and all of the tech news with some extra time taken on fitness tracking applications and the privacy implications. Also as a reminder I will be out to the Podcast Movement and I will attempt to get a guest host for the two episodes I will be gone for..

I Also update on my Transformation. Discounts are still available by using promo code “podcast” @ mypurium.com/podcast

Consider becoming a GNC 1000 Contributor:

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FCC Requires Support for Text-To-911

Posted by JenThorpe at 11:02 PM on August 10, 2014

Federal Communications Commission logoThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules that are designed to promote the widespread use of text-to-911. Currently, the availability of text-to-911 is limited. The purpose of this new rule is to keep pace with how Americans communicate. In other words, the FCC has noted that more people are using cellphones and texting now than they have in the past.

This new requirement builds on existing commitments that were made by America’s four largest wireless carries to support text-to-911 by May of 2014. The new rules require all remaining wireless carries and certain IP-based text application providers to support text-to-911 by the end of 2014.

The new text-to-911 requirements apply to wireless carriers and “interconnected” text messaging providers. It also includes providers of “over the top” applications that support texting to and from phone numbers. It does not include messaging apps that only support communications among users of social media or games.

Why is it important to have a more uniform system that allows for text-to-911? The overall reasons is to help save lives. The FCC noted that Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech disabilities are widely using text messaging. It also pointed out that there can be situations where a person is in danger but is not safe to call 911. Sending a text is silent, and can be used more discretely by people who need help. Text-to-911 can also be useful when networks are congested.

That being said, the FCC doesn’t necessarily recommend that everyone use text-to-911 as a “go-to” for emergencies. They describe text-to-911 as a complement to, not a substitute for, existing 911 service. Make a voice call to 911 whenever possible. If that doesn’t work, then it is time to use text-to-911. They recommend people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities to use relay services or other existing methods to contact 911 if text-to-911 is unavailable.

New Media Show #56 with Espree Devora of WeAreLATech

Posted by geeknews at 12:19 PM on August 10, 2014

Rob and Todd have a talk with Espree Devora a serial entrepreneur who is well known in the Los Angeles startup scene. She is launching a new podcast on start-ups and has some great advice for women who are considering a show. If you want more info on her podcast be part of her launch at WeAreLATech.com/podcast

Contact the show: Rob or Todd @ newmediashow.com

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Twitch Will Deploy an “Appeal” Button

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:08 PM on August 8, 2014

TwitchTwitch has been making lots of controversial changes lately, and this has not gone unnoticed by the gaming community. The addition of a new Audio Recognition System has been problematic. The system has been improperly flagging some audio that was cleared through creative commons (and therefore, should not have been flagged at all). After much outcry, Twitch has stated that it will deploy an “Appeal” button.

In short, the purpose of the Audio Recognition system was to identify music that has a copyright and that was used in videos on Twitch that are available on demand. (They call those “Video on Demand” or VOD). Twitch partnered with Audible Magic.

When the Audio Recognition system identifies music that is in the Audible Magic database, it automatically mutes the portion of the video on demand in which that music appears. (The Audio Recognition system is not being used on videos that are streamed live on Twitch.) It can scan 30 minute blocks of a video. If third party audio is detected anywhere in the 30-minute scanned block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted.

Twitch explains it this way on their blog:

“We’ve partnered with Audible Magic, which works closely with the recorded music industry, to scan past and future VODs for music owned and controlled by clients of Audible Music. This includes in-game and ambient music. When music in the Audible database is detected (“Flagged Content”), the affected portion of the VOD will be muted and the volume controls for that VOD will be turned off. Additionally, past broadcasts and highlights with Flagged Content are exportable but will remain muted.”

This new addition to Twitch is very similar to what YouTube is using to identify audio that has a copyright and that has been used in videos that appear on YouTube. Both systems have returned “false positives” and flagged things that should not have been flagged. As such, Twitch is deploying an “appeal” button for the VODs that have been incorrectly flagged for copyrighted music.

I suspect this is not going to be enough to appease gamers who have had their audio muted without warning when all they were doing was streaming the ambient music that is in a video game. It’s not going to go over well with gamers who have had 30 minutes of their audio muted because they played one 2 or 3 minute song that had a copyright on it, either.

GNC #970 Hurricane Special

Posted by geeknews at 12:47 AM on August 8, 2014

This is my first hurricane special recorded hours before hurricane Iselle is about to whack us.. Great show with lots of tech news and a special shout out to the idiots at Best Buy and why I am boycotting their stores for the near future.

I Also update on my Transformation. Discounts are still available by using promo code “podcast” @ mypurium.com/podcast

Consider becoming a GNC 1000 Contributor:

Download the Audio Show File
Read the rest of this entry »

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TGP #168 – MediaFire – I Like It!

Posted by Gadget at 2:25 PM on August 7, 2014

Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #168 hosted by Don Baine, produced by Mike Baine.

Celebrating 3 years!

MediaFire Cloud Storage – Great Reduced Pricing!
Stream, Share, backup, and store files and entire folders directly from your desktop, all without ever having to open your browser. Download MediaFire Desktop to get started!
Instant uploads – very easy to use
Share your files with a single click
Screen capture tool – this does it all at a great price

Also – finally an inexpensive M14 LED bulb for my outdoor lights – this is fantastic!

We also feature tech news,free apps & and software reviews!

For the best in video streaming & rental equipment check out the new Livestream Studio HD51

Visit The Gadget Professor on Facebook www.facebook.com/gadgetprofessor - check it out and LIKE him!

Subscribe Today:  Video Download the Show File

Look for The Gadget Professor every Thursday here at Geek News Central.
Audio version NOW AVAILABLE!!

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Robot Underpants: 08.06.14 (163) “Twitch Out ”

Posted by Langley at 11:16 PM on August 6, 2014

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, Eric Rice, and “Starman” Michael Gaines discuss this weeks hot topics including: The massive debacle surrounding Twitch and Justin.TV, Foursquare, Motley Fool, Apple Event, SXSW is expensive, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terminator, Ninja Turtles, Batman Superman date moved up, Weird Al petition to play Super Bowl and more!

* Twitch Backlash
* Foursquare
* Guardians of the Galaxy
* Terminator Movie
* Jeff Goldblum’s Jurassic Weding Photo
* Weird Al at Super Bowl
* Vanilla Ice Doesn’t Like New TMNT Rap
* 8 Year Old Sings “Home Sweet Home”

The PAPAGO! Video Contest has Begun

Posted by JenThorpe at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2014

PAPAGO! logoAre you an aspiring filmmaker? Do you enjoy taking videos of yourself, your friends, or your travels? The PAPAGO! video contest was designed for people just like you. Three winners will be given a GoSafe 200 dashcam.

The contest has already started. You have until August 31, 2014, to submit a storyboard of your video idea to PAPAGO! They ask you to submit it via Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. They will select three winners from the submissions that are received.

Those winners will use the GoSafe 200 dashcam to video their storyboard idea. They will have until September 28, 2014, to submit the completed video to PAPAGO!, who will choose one top video. That winner will receive a $400.00 gift card (selected by PAPAGO!). The winner of the video contest will be announced by October 15, 2014.

There are, of course, rules and guidelines that must be adhered to. You can read more about them on the PAPAGO! website. I will point out just a few of the rules here. They encourage the contestants who are given a GoSafe 200 dashcam to be creative. “Take it out of the car. Record in the car. The possibilities are endless.”

The video must be 1 – 2 minutes in length and made from video footage that the contestant captures on the GoSafe 200. The videos will be highlighted on the PAPAGO! Website “and all social media platforms”. You must be 18 years of age (or older) and a legal resident of the United States or Canada in order to participate in this contest. Those who submit a video to the contest are giving PAPAGO! “the right to use their names, photographs, statements, quotes, testimonials, and video submissions for advertising, publicity, and promotional purposes without notification or further compensation.”

The GoSafe 200 has a 140 degree perspective and a unique slide-out LCD screen. It has an automatic start-up function and a motion detection feature that will enable the device to start recording once it detects movement. If you have a creative idea, now is your chance to enter the PAPAGO! video contest and, perhaps, win your very own GoSafe 200.

Justin.tv Pulls the Plug

Posted by Langley at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2014

Justin.tv, the live streaming service which started in 2007, has abruptly pulled the plug on it’s service today. With no warning or notification and no way for users to access their account or any videos they may have had, people are rightfully pissed.

Back in February JTV officially became Twitch Interactive. Twitch being a primarily video game centric streaming service while JustinTV was for everything else. A lot of content streamed was copyrighted material, that no one seemed to care was being streamed. If you wanted to watch 24/7 of Futurama, it was there. It’s not clear if this has anything to do with the sudden shutdown, but more likely it has something to do with rumors of Google purchasing Twitch for $1 billion.

If this is another move by Google, it’s another public-infuriating one. Google seems to be becoming notorious for creating bad PR for itself as of late. With the G+ experiment and the debacle/laughable Google Glass program, as well as all the NSA business, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of things to be excited about when people mention the “G” word.

Whatever the reason, it seems the 7-year-old service is no more. Their website explains all APIs and accounts are gone.  There is a video (hosted on Vimeo, btw) saying goodbye, and some FAQ’s for people wondering what happens next (though there doesn’t seem to be much as far as answers go, other than “So long, thanks for all the fish.” )

More info can be found at Justin.TV