Iowa is taking plastic drivers licenses into the digital age.Next year, the Iowa Department of Transportation will experiment with issuing drivers licenses via an app. The digital license will display a 3-D photo of the driver's face, which can be rotated side to side so law enforcement can better match the licensee to the picture.
"Really, it's about giving customers a choice," said Andrea Henry, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Transportation. "We're in an increasingly mobile world, and there are so many things that are connected to your mobile phone."
The story was first reported in the Des Moines Register.
Since drivers licenses are used for official government identification, the app will be secured with a PIN code. Henry said it could also be secured with a finger print or facial recognition software as well.
Iowa's Department of Transportation will experiment with issuing drivers licenses via an app.That could actually make the digital license safer than the plastic alternative, helping the state cut down on identity theft, impersonations and fake IDs.
But people who want to stick with their plastic license will also be given that option -- or they can ask to have both a plastic license and an app.
The Iowa transportation department has been testing out the app for about a year, and it will deploy the digital drivers licenses to its employees first as a test group. The state hasn't yet set a date for when the digital licenses will be available to the public.
Authored by David Goldman via cnnmoney.com.
The fashionista is selling a solar-powered jacket so that you can keep your phone charged ... assuming, of course, that the sun is shining.
Yes, this for real. It costs $599.
The solar panel jacket has "a unique and innovative design featuring a solar pack that charges a battery to keep your mobile devices working while on the go," boasts the Tommy Hilfiger catalog. "In direct sunlight, the battery fully charges beyond the capacity of most smartphones."
The catalog referred to the jacket as "both stylish and functional."
The men's version has seven solar panels and the women's design comes with 10. Apparently they're removable, because the jacket comes with a "removable bag to stow solar panels when not in use." (The hood is removable, too.)
Half of the net proceeds go to the Fresh Air Fund, the company said.
Solar-powered clothes may be weird, but not unheard of. L.L. Bean sells a solar-powered hat with LED lights.
The designer Pauline Van Dongen also has a line of "wearable solar" coats and dresses that can be used to power smartphones.
And other wearable technologies, like smart watches and glasses, are slowly gaining traction.
Authored by Aaron Smith via cnnmoney.com.
Samsung Electronics Co. ( 005930.SE +0.96% ) estimated its third-quarter operating profit more than halved from a year earlier, hit by weak smartphone sales, forcing the company to rely more on its chip business to drive future earnings growth.
As stiff competition from Chinese vendors continues to pressure its mobile division profit—it derives more than 60% of its profit from the sale of mobile phones—investors have sold off Samsung shares on concerns about its outlook. Its stock is down about 15% so far this year.
The world’s largest smartphone maker by shipments said Tuesday its third-quarter operating profit likely fell 57.8% to 61.8% from a year earlier to between 3.9 trillion won ($3.6 billion) and 4.3 trillion won ($4.0 billion). Last year, Samsung reported an operating profit of 10.2 trillion won. A poll of seven analysts expected Samsung’s operating profit to come in at 4.3 trillion won.
Expectations for the quarter have already been low as sales of Samsung’s flagship device, Galaxy S5 have been weaker than expected and the company only began to sell its new smartphone-tablet hybrid the Galaxy Note 4 last month.
Samsung said in a statement that while smartphone shipments increased in the quarter, its operating margin was weighed down by hefty marketing costs and falling average selling prices. It didn’t provide specific figures.
It also sounded a cautious note for the fourth quarter noting the outlook remains uncertain.
The weak earnings guidance comes as Samsung struggles to figure out its broader growth strategy and amid expectations of a major restructuring later this year, according to people familiar with the situation.
Chairman Lee Kun-hee remains ill following a heart attack in May. While Samsung said Mr. Lee ’s health is improving, critics said the company lacks a visionary to steer the company into new growth areas especially at a challenging time.
Meanwhile, Samsung affiliates have been carrying out a series of financial transactions that will help heir-apparent and Mr. Lee’s only son, Jay Y. Lee, inherit the company from his father. The younger Mr. Lee, a vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, remains the biggest shareholder of a de facto holding company of the Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate.
Fortunately for Samsung, its lead in memory chips and tight supply is expected to cushion the blow from weak mobile phones sales this year. Analysts say chip profits could exceed those from mobile phones later this year.
The last time Samsung’s chip profits exceeded mobile profits was in the second quarter of 2011.
To continue to stay on top, Samsung on Monday announced plans to build a $14.7 billion plant over the next three years, to address future chip demand for various electronic devices ranging from smartphones, to tablet computers and robots.
“Samsung does make good memory chips,” said Doh Hyun-woo, an analyst with Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul, noting that the company will have to shift its gear to rely less on mobile phones and more on chips for profit growth.
He expects Samsung’s annual chip profits to rise 34% to 11.5 trillion won next year, from an estimated 8.6 trillion won this year. He forecasts that mobile operating profit will fall to 9.7 trillion won in 2015 from an estimated 14.8 trillion won this year.
Samsung didn’t provide a breakdown of profit estimates by businesses.
It will release final earnings figures later this month.
Write to Min-Jeong Lee at email@example.com
When the standup comic Marc Maron moved into his house in Northeast Los Angeles, in 2004, he had grand plans for his garage. “I always wanted to do something in there,” he told me over coffee at a café a few hundred yards from his home. “I put a floor in there and had an ISDN line installed. I hoped to do a radio show there, I guess.” But when Maron’s second marriage, to the comedienne Mishna Wolff, fell apart, his plans did, too. The garage, which had been a place of hope and intent, acquired a new purpose: in the fug of breakup it was there, amongst the shelves and boxes, that Maron considered taking his own life.
“I was in a dark place,” he said. “I was up against a wall: my comedy career was floundering, and I had been at it for a very long time. I was close to broke. I had no answers. The suicidal ruminations made me feel better. I don’t know if I ever would have gone through with it, but those thoughts made me feel more in control.” Maron believes that it was pride, rather than virtue, that kept him alive and away from the garage. “I am not grown up in certain ways that might allow me to plan ahead. That often results in panic and darkness. But it’s also what prevented me from throwing in the towel. I don’t know where I would throw it.”
After Wolff moved out, Maron remained in the home, and commuted between Los Angeles and New York for standup gigs. He was also recording a weekly hour-long video Webcast with the comedian Sam Seder, called “Breakroom Live with Maron & Seder.” The show was filmed in the break room at Air America Media, on Park Avenue. Maron took the gig to “get out from under the divorce,” but it “hemorrhaged money” from Air America, which cancelled the show in July of 2009. Faced with redundancy, Maron, who had always been attracted to radio, and his coworker Brendan McDonald launched a podcast on which Maron interviewed guests about their lives. “We’d break into the studio with the help of the night tech and begin recording the podcast there,” he recalled. “We’d bring guests up there through the freight elevator.”
After recording a dozen episodes of the podcast, called “WTF” (Internet slang to express incredulity), Maron returned home to Los Angeles and, with McDonald’s help, converted his garage into a recording studio. “We had no expectation, but it was our thing,” he said. “I focussed on talking to people about how they live life.” Maron soon found that what had begun as a light-hearted venture resonated in unexpected ways. Through the vulnerability of his conversations, often with strangers, he began to examine his own situation with fresh perspective. “The first year of the podcast, you can hear me trying to get out from the darkness in my life,” he said. “But we didn’t really have any expectations other than to see whether or not we could build an audience.”
They built a huge one. Earlier this year, Maron stated that episodes of the podcast had been downloaded more than a hundred million times since its début, in September, 2009. But, despite the success, the garage itself has remained an informal space, a shantytown of books and wires. Initially, McDonald purchased an analogue mixing desk (which Maron still uses today) and two “high-end mics” that were “inappropriately set on small booms.” Maron and his guests would sit at a small table in the middle of the room, recording onto his laptop.
“At some point, I realized I had to make it more accommodating and comfortable,” he said. “I bought a separate computer just for the show, and some proper mic stands.” Nevertheless, the garage continues to function as storage. Maron keeps his books stacked along the walls, alongside items that fans of the show have sent in and assorted personal debris. “Guests sit within a history of me, artifacts from different times of my life,” he said. “There are photographs and pictures of me from across the years: pictures of relationships, pictures of my parents from when they were young, performance posters that are important to me, and pictures of my heroes. Some of it has to be cleaned out. But I always liked that kind of clutter. The feel of having interesting stuff.”
On a podcast episode in January, 2013, Maron talked about the mystique of the garage. “I don’t know why this garage changed my life,” he said in the show’s preamble. “This is a magic place. I don’t understand why what happens in here happens.” Indeed, Maron and his garage have become known for inspiring vulnerability in the luminary comedians, actors, film directors, and musicians who serve as his guests. The comedian Louis C.K. broke down during his interview, while describing the birth of his daughter; at the age of forty-seven, the comedian Todd Glass came out as gay on the podcast. In part this is due to Maron’s skill as a conversationalist (he doesn’t prepare a list of questions before interviews, preferring to improvise as if at a standup gig). But the garage itself has an aura of nostalgia, an environment that, by its very presentation, appears to invite intimacy. “It feels lived in,” said Maron. “It’s a personal rather than professional environment, and that sets the tone for the conversation. It seems to me that the best that can happen is that people forget that they are on the mic in there.”
For Maron, the return to the garage symbolizes a return to his interest in other people and their stories. When he was in high school, Maron told me, he was attracted to big personalities, people who appeared to “have an angle on life.” At the time, his grandfather owned an appliance store. “The old guys would stand around and tell stories, and I’d sit and listen to them,” he said. “I went on to work at a restaurant and I’d talk to the local lunatics. I was interested in people’s stories, especially if they were weird.” Later, Maron believes that his drug addiction numbed that interest. “Lately, I’ve returned to a curiosity that had been diminished by anger. I’ve had to rediscover empathy.”
Maron’s interviews are recorded in batches, sometimes five or six a week, but he records the introductions (usually a soliloquy on current events in his own life) the night before release. “WTF” recently passed its five hundredth episode, revitalizing Maron’s career and redoubling the show’s success. (In May, 2013, Maron launched an IFC TV series, “Maron,” which is currently in its second season).
But with this success comes a challenge: how to protect the spirit of a show that some publicists may view as a P.R. platform for their clients. “As the show becomes more popular, my sense is that some interviewees are now being prepped a bit, in terms of what to talk about and how to be,” Maron said. “Some people are more professional or have a public narrative, but I get around that, and usually there’s a genuine exchange going on.” Another challenge is how to keep the project vital for himself. “You don’t want it to become empty or just a plain job,” he said. “So there’s fear there. But I know that people are going to tire of it, because people tire of things. Things have their time. At least I have a body of work now that wasn’t there before.”
The success has also led to a material conundrum: whether or not to move to a larger house or, crucially, to a different garage. “I was looking at houses, and the first consideration was always the question of whether or not I can recreate my garage,” he said. “But I couldn’t pull the trigger. It does seem to be a magic place, a sacred place. I want to keep that magic for sure.”
Authored by SIMON PARKIN via newyorker.com.
There may very well be a day when Apple executives set up an iPhone X rumour publication that consists of nothing but endless, daily, rumours of the next iPhone. They can call it the iPhone Bugle, or iPhone X Times. Just so long as ‘iPhone’ is in the title, Jimmy Tan has a grainy-picture gallery, and there’s a ‘Leaker Wars’ section where leakers accuse each other of leaking fake pictures of dummy models.
That would save us all a lot of time.
Until then, people like myself will have to diligently wade through the iPhone rumour sludge to present you, the eager public, with something to look forward to.
This year’s rumour-mill feels like it has been in overdrive for the last seven months. We’ve seen rumours ranging from haptic feedback on the iPhone 6, to wireless charging, to automatic location-based unlocking. Some likely, some rumour-mill fairytales. Here, I’ll rundown the most believable rumours reported so far. And be sure to check back here for updates as and when they come in.
The biggest and most likely rumour is that Apple is going to increase the size of the screen, possibly with two versions of the iPhone 6 on the way. We’ve seen dummy shots of both 4.7 and 5.5-inch versions, with the 5.5-inch device potentially scheduled for a 2015 launch because of production problems, according to Mac Rumours.
However Chinese publication, Economic Daily, said that iPhone assembler, Foxconn, is ramping up production and hiring new staff for a double launch later this year.
Dummy models from show off the different versions
Reports suggest that both handsets will have a resolution of 1704 x 906, which would give the 4.7-inch model a pixel density of 416 and the 5.5-inch version a pixel density of 365.
The new iPhone screen should be made of tougher stuff, too, with a sapphire glass display according to a South China Morning Post article in February this year. Tech blogger Marques Borwnlee uploaded a video last week testing an apparent iPhone 6 sapphire screen by vigorously rubbing it with sandpaper. The video shows that the new display fares a lot better after a sandpaper attack than its predecessor, the iPhone 5.
However The Guardian reported that the new display could be a blend of sapphire and glass, which explains why its possible for it to be scratched, despite reports that will be “unscratchable”. Professor Neil Alford, who was consulted by Apple about sapphire screens 18 months ago explained:
“Apple has patents for both sapphire lamination – taking two different cuts of sapphire to induce strain and increase its resilience – and for fusing quartz or silica (glass) to sapphire.”
Apple also submitted a patent for a wraparound display at the end of last year, citing different shapes outside of the standard rectangular phone. Although this may come too soon for the iPhone 6, especially given how many casing leaks there have been that show no space for a flexible display.
Processor, power and memory
It’s pretty likely that Apple will opt for a more powerful and efficient A8 processor, which should improve battery life. LaptopMag reported that it will include a 20 nanometer quad-core 64-bit A8 processor, although Chinese sitecnBeta.com suggests that the iPhone 6 will once again feature a 2GHz (or higher) dual-core processor.
There seems to be a consensus that there will be a big shift in available memory on the new iPhone, with the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions boasting 64GBs and 128GBs of space respectively.
The battery is likely to get a 15% increase in power with its new 1800mAh battery for the 4.7-inch model and the 5.5-inch getting a 2500 mAh battery, which gives it a huge 50% increase in battery life over the 5S. There’s also the improved chipset that should improve efficiency and reduce battery drain.
However, if reports of a QHD screen are correct, the same as the one in the LG G3, then any battery increases will be negligible given how much power a super-HD screen requires.
Leaked images of the iPhone 6 rear panel earlier this year show that Apple’s new handset could be the slimmest one yet. The leaked images show a cut out of the Apple logo on the back panel, which could indicate a reserved NFC or wireless charging being embedded into the logo. Photos from French blog nowhereelse.frrevealed similar images, which I wrote about a couple of months back.
Leaked shots of the iPhone 6 rear casing.
Naturally, with larger screens comes a larger body, and, according to an Amazon leak, the iPhone 6 will feature dimensions of 130 x 65 x 7mm and weighing in at 113g. Dummy photos emerged in May from Italian blog Macitynet.it, which compared the thickness of a round-edged iPhone 6 dummy unit and the iPhone 5 – showing a small change in thickness.
Perhaps one of the most credible design leaks was Jimmy Lin’s photo of himself holding up an iPhone 5 and an apparent iPhone 6. He pulled a similar stunt last year, just as the iPhone 5 was about to be launched which proved accurate.
Sonny Dickson also unveiled photos of a similar looking dummy, and YouTube techblog TechSmartt examined the 5.5 and 4.7-inch mockups in detail.
PCAdvisor speculates that the iPhone 6 could come with an automatic unlock feature, similar the Android L feature that Google demoed at its I/O in June. To do so, there would have to be a connecting device that prompts it to unlock, an iWatch perhaps?
Apple’s recent patent application also alludes to location based security, which means that your iPhone will detect when you’re at home or the office and not require a passcode. It reads: “The security level and/or other device behaviour, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified based on the location of the mobile device.”
It continues: “In one example, a passcode is not required when the mobile device detects a current location corresponding to the user’s home. In another example, a simple passcode is used when the mobile device detects a location corresponding to the user’s office desk, but a longer or more complex alphanumeric passcode is used at other locations within the office, such as the cafeteria or conference rooms.”
The iPhone 6 camera is likely to see an improvement in the new device. Chinese website IT168 speculates that the iPhone 6 will come with a 10-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture and improved filter. A rumour on Weibo also reported that the iPhone 6 may use Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), which should prevent images from blurring. If so, it looks as if Apple may be taking a page out of HTC’s book and not going with a high pixel count camera, but focussing on image enhancements and features instead.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that there’s a good chance Apple will include NFC in the new device, possibly in the cut out Apple logo on the rear panel. Although Apple has shied away from NFC, and many predicted that it will launch its own version, Kuo thinks that Cupertino tech giant will have to fall in line and adopt the technology.
Apple also recently announced a partnership with China UnionPay to add its banking service to Passbook, which means users will be able to make payments on China Union Pay’s NFC enabled QuickPass machines.
The iPhone 6 will likely ship with iOS 8, which means that it could ship with a rumoured health app that monitors your vital statistics that pull data from a variety of built-in sensors on the iPhone 6.
As mentioned earlier, Chinese publication, Economic Daily, said that Foxconn has confirmed that it is hiring an extra 100,000 workers to gear up for mass production of the iPhone 6. The report says that production for the 4.7-inch model will begin at the end of the July and the 5.5-inch version in the “first two weeks of August” – suggesting that larger iPhone may not be delayed until 2015 but will arrive with its little brother in September / October.
Authored by Jay McGregor via forbes.com.
Are you going on vacation soon and would like to have the ability to watch HD movies not included on one of your streaming subscriptions on your tablet or smartphone? Does your destination have a decent wi-fi or 4G connection? Or, do you just want relax all weekend and watch your collection of movies from your DVD collection? You can use Google Drive for this! For video instructions on how to convert your DVD collection to the mp4 format click here.
Any kind of file can be stored on Drive. Some may not realize certain files stored within Drive can be utilized within the application. For example, audio mp3 and video mp4 files are playable within Google Drive. This can be done on a computer, tablet, or smartphone in HD. At the time of writing this article there is no Chromecast capability within the Google Drive app for iPhone or first generation Nexus 7 tablet. However, Google has released the SDK for Chromecast recently. Expect new functionalities soon.
Most of us with a Gmail account realize that it comes with 15 GB of free storage. Most of my free storage is already filled with other files, however. Therefore, it behooves anyone with the ambition to store their media collection on Drive to create a new Gmail account strictly for this purpose. The following steps will walk you through, (this may be most helpful for those already with a Gmail account, as I found the process of creating one while having an existing account a bit confusing).
Below is a screen capture of the first step in this process. You have to sign out of your current Gmail account to begin, (if you don’t have an account just go to www.gmail.com and create one). Once you sign out click the “Add account” tab.
Next, a screen with the option of creating a new account will pop up. Once you arrive at this screen be sure to not sign into your account. Clicking on “Create and account” in blue lettering underneath the “Sign In” box will take you to the next task in the sequence.
At long last, you will arrive at a screen which will let you create a new Gmail account. The set up instructions are straightforward and you can use your current email account to link to.
Click here to learn to navigate Drive if you are not familiar with the Google’s cloud storage feature. Once you upload your media files a brief “processing” period may occur. For larger files, (HD movies) it may take about 24 hours for this task to complete.