facetime-calling-640x480For Mac and iOS users, an alternative to Skype would be FaceTime, which allows Mac and iOS users to video call one another through their phone numbers or Apple IDs. Unfortunately for Mac, FaceTime is still limited to video calls, which iOS users have the option of placing audio-only FaceTime calls. Well the good news is that Mac users can look forward to the audio-only option in a future OS X Mavericks update, thanks to the latest beta OS X 10.9.2 that is currently being seeded to developers.

While Apple did not make any formal announcement regarding this feature, it was discovered by developers that FaceTime audio had been integrated into the likes of the Messages and FaceTime app, hinting that the feature could be officially introduced in a future OS X Mavericks update. Similar to Skype, users will be able to seamlessly switch between audio and video thanks to a new button, as well as mute the chat.

According to developers who have tried the feature, apparently FaceTime audio on iOS devices offers a better-sounding call, and that it takes a while to stabilize. Presumably these are some of the kinks Apple is working on ironing out which hopefully will be resolved once the feature goes live for the public.

bmw-i8-smart-key-fobCar keys are something we don’t really give much thought to, although we suppose if we had the car key pictured above, well you can be sure we’d never stop talking about it. Pictured above is a concept key fob belonging to the BMW i8, which for those unfamiliar, is a concept hybrid vehicle that was unveiled back in the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The car’s design, even from 4 years ago, remains futuristic looking even today, and we suppose its key fob is no different. While this is a concept, it is apparently an official concept which was shared by a BMW insider with the folks at Bimmerfile.

While most key fobs come with a few buttons to unlock/lock the car, pop the boot, or sound the alarm, this key fob does that and more. It is said to feature a high resolution LCD display that will be able to display a variety of relevant information to the owner. For example it will be able to tell what is the range left in the car before requiring a recharge, or how long left before the car is fully charged, and etc. The key fob will also feature a handful of buttons that can be customized according to the user’s needs, making it a lot more handy than your regular key fob, although we can only imagine how troublesome and expensive it would be to lose it.

This is currently a concept and BMW has yet to officially confirm its existence, but in the meantime what do you guys make of it?

b-shoeThe elderly do have plenty of things to grapple with, ranging from failing health issues to an ever rising cost of living. In fact, it shows that 33% of people age 65 and over falls, and these falls commonly result in injuries and even death. While they are recommended to use walking aids including canes and walkers, but they refuse to do so since it does show the world that they are weak and dependent on people. This is where the B-Shoe comes in, where it will help folks regain their balance with the help of incorporated technology.

Normal folks would regain their balance simply be moving a leg backward (which is known as a “backward step”), which will further increase the base of support. The thing with older folks is this – a deterioration in balance functions and reflexes in the elderly would mean that the backward step is more often than not taken too late, too slow and inaccurately, resulting in a fall. Not only that, wearing the B-Shoe would not carry any kind of stigma, since it is a standard-looking walking shoe which knows when the wearer is going to lose his or her balance, where it will automatically drive one leg slightly backwards to prevent the dangerous fall. [Press Release]

british-library-digital-bookWell, well, what do we have here? Apparently, a major archive of British websites is now live and kicking, but it has yet to be online. This particular project can be accessed only in person assuming you plant your backside in one of the British Isles’ six biggest libraries, where there will be corresponding terminals in those libraries to help you out. This particular effort is made possible after 10 years of legal wrangling between the British Library and publishers. No thanks to the restrictions which were imposed by the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, this translates to the fact that the archive can only be accessed as long as you are physically in library reading rooms.

The British Library, however, offers a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel, touting that there has been some “discussions into the possibility that the Act might be changed in future so that the archived copies of websites might be made available via the web. Making archived copies of material available online, and also allowing it to be indexed by search engines, could potentially affect the volume of web user traffic to the rights owner’s live website and harm their business model.” This project, first launched in April this year, will comprise of the whole UK web domain, and this includes blogs, public tweets and Facebook pages.

pulsejumpropeJust like how not all TVs are created equal, so too, are jump ropes. Jump ropes happen to be great tools for those who want to exercise and shed those unwanted pounds, but they have largely remained the same over the years, although some of the more modern ones are able to keep track of how many jumps you have made. What happens when all of that kinetic energy expended could be put to good use? This is where the PULSE Kinetic Jump Rope comes in, where embedded within the handles lie a pair of small dynamos that are connected to a rechargeable battery.

Each jump that you make will make use of that kinetic energy to power the battery, and subsequently, the energy reserves of this particular battery would be used to add more power to your thirsty gadgets. As with any other self respecting exercise tool, incentive is the main motive to keep on going, regardless of how much technology you pack in it. Those who are interested in picking up the PULSE Kinetic Jump Rope will be able to do so at $129 a pop, where these are currently involved in a limited beta test run of 100 units apiece. [Product Page]

I am quite sure that many folks were awed when they saw how Jean-Claude Van Damme managed to perform a split for a Volvo ad, showing just how tough and yet versatile and agile he still is at his age. Having said that, there could only be one other person who could be able to top that, and it would be none other that the legendary Chuck Norris. In the video above, Chuck himself was seen performing a split nonchalantly on the tips of the wings of two fighter jets, in addition to carrying up to 11 soldiers on his shoulders (who formed a pyramid and carried some sort of LED lights to represent a Christmas tree, I suppose) without breaking a sweat – at that crazy altitude, too.

It will surely add more credence and weight to the ever expanding Chuck Norris facts list, although humanly speaking, this feat is impossible – which is why it is none other than Chuck Norris who starred in the video, enlisting some CGI help along the way, of course. The holiday video hails from Hungarian animation firm Delov Digital, and it remains to be seen whether Norris worked directly with Delov in this matter. It is nice to have some laughter after a particularly long day at work.

fedex-droneDrone deliveries could be the next big thing when it comes to courier services. Just ask Amazon with their Amazon Prime Air program, as well as UPS and DHL who are looking into the possible integration with their existing services. How about FedEx who has long claimed to deliver to the world on time? It seems that FedEx has dabbled in the world of delivery drones, but they are none too thrilled to introduce the concept into the market.

FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, who spoke with Wall Street analysts during their quarterly earnings call, laughed when approached concerning the topic of delivery drones, and shared that their Chief Information Officer was looking into the situation. Robert B. Carter, FedEx’s Chief Information Officer, is a quadrotor enthusiast, and his most recent drone research results pointed to a drone that can “operate about eight minutes and carry about four Budweiser beers,” which hopefully, was said in jest rather than seriousness. Do you think that delivery drones will one day be the ideal way of getting packages arrive in front of your doorstep? Are there any existing services that have been totally computerized and automated at the moment, that you miss the human touch?

acoustic-cryptanalysisThey say that a chain is as strong as its weakest link, and when it comes to cracking the encryption code of a computer, a bunch of researchers have made a rather startling discovery. What they did was to listen to the different sounds that a computer’s CPU made, before using that data in order to crack open the computer, which theoretically speaking, would allow even the world’s toughest encryption to be cracked wide open.

4096-bit RSA happens to be one of the most secure encryption algorithms worldwide, but researchers Daniel Genkin, Adi Shamir (co-creator of the algorithm itself) and Eran Tromer enlisted the help of a microphone in order to tune in to the sounds a computer’s CPU whenever it decrypts data. The sound is the result of the CPU regulating its voltage, with each sound emitted to represent a certain RSA key. Once you understand the RSA system of encryption, it is a simple matter of cracking the code in order to obtain full access to the data. RSA happens to be the only encryption method to be tested, and if it could be cracked, less secure methods would not be able to stand a chance either, using the same principle. Security and privacy issues, first world problems.

Pokémon fans, rejoice! If you cannot get enough of the game, how about some cartoons that will help fill up your time along the way? This is what we are talking about with the announcement that Pokémon the Series: XY anime that will make its debut this coming January 18th over on Cartoon Network. Of course, it is an opportunity for you to rise and shine despite having a late night out on Friday all the way to the wee hours of the morning, since this cartoon will begin to air on Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM Eastern/Pacific.

Throughout the month of January next year, do expect several special Pokémon movies to be shown, where all of them will lead up to a crescendo – that is, the Pokémon the Series: XY premiere. Saturday, January 4, will see viewers treated to a digitally remastered edition of Pokémon: The First Movie, while on January 11, you can expect to check out the animated special Pokémon: Mewtwo — Prologue to Awakening at the same time. Do check out the trailer above and tell me that you are excited. January cannot come too soon enough for Pokémon fans, that is for sure! It is also a good time to introduce your little ones to the wonder of Pokémon that enthralled you all those years ago.

samsung-galaxy-s4-active-review-31MediaTest Digital happens to be a company that tests out the security of mobile devices as well as their corresponding software, and they were able to obtain sensitive user data from Samsung accounts, including names, email addresses, and passwords – which leads to the question; just how safe is all of our data stored online? Well, Samsung is now particularly aware of this security hole, and taking 5 days since the first report, Samsung has managed to respond accordingly – and in the best manner possible, by fixing the security hole to make sure that such a breach will not be able to happen again sometime down the road.

There is no further information on whether follow up tests will be held in order to verify as to whether the patch has been made, though. MediaTest’s findings saw that should someone access somebody else’s Samsung account, they too would be able to record and track a user’s movements while going through the entire list of locations that one has visited recently. Apart from that, they are also able to lock someone out out of their device and redirect calls. Creepy, and it sends a chill down your spine, doesn’t it? If you are a Galaxy S4 user, it might be better to reset your password just to be on the safe side via the Samsung Account website.