Monday, December 31, 2012

The most useless machine

Machines are now an important part of our life and thus, we are surrounded by them 24X7 in one way or another. A whole lot of machines is made every day and while some are useful some are not. Deciding the most useful or the most useless machine is a subjective issue, but this machine gives it a very serious try.

The machine defies your every move. Named "Useless machine advanced edition", it turns itself off whenever you flick any of the 8 switches to on position. Its owner, forn4x, built the device when his Canon 850i managed to break its printer head but all the other mechanics and electronics were still usable. Its maker decided to put printer's optical sensor and DC motor to some annoying work, since he din't think the printer was worth fixing. Here you go with the video, forn4x uploaded on YouTube.

Here is the list of parts he used.

  • ATMega8
  • H-bridge(BD137+BD138)
  • LCD(to have the capability to set the switch positions)
  • PWM outputs(for the servos)
  • Encoder inputs, switches inputs and internal pullups
  • 7805 voltage regulator
Making this piece of work can be really entertaining and to take care that you don't come across a problem, you can download the schematics and code, to see how it works, by clicking here.

As a matter of fact, a similar thing has already been done but with only one switch and the above mention is a successor to the original one, "most useless machine". You can have a look at that one too.

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More photos of Huawei Ascend Mate show up

We all know Huawei is after the phablet category and is challenging the current top dog of the category, Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Huawei's Chairman of Devices, Richard Yu, recently showcased company's effort regarding the aforementioned through the 6.1" 1080p display equipped Ascend Mate. As already seen, the video that made the rounds on the internet wasn't that clear and left the fans wanting. But now more photos of the gigantic device have come to the light and this time, we get to have a better show of the mammoth's physical appearances.

The Huawei Ascend Mate is supposed to be equipped with a 6.1" 1080p display, 1.8GHz quad core K3V3 chipset(probably a Huawei's in-house designed chip), 2GB RAM, 13MP camera and a 4000mAh battery to support the big powerhouse and all of this is rumored to be housed in a 9.9mm thick body.

Besides the high resolution photos of the device, an upcoming ad for the device has leaked as well. Huawei compares its big boy, Ascend Mate, to its arch rival, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, in the ad.

The device should break cover during the upcoming CES 2013 which proves to be a grand central of the new product launches.
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Android Malware uses Google Play icon to trick users

Android has been the center of a humongous amount of security holes and malware attacks. Its openness sometimes seems to be a curse more then the boon to the users because it makes it easy for the attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities in the system and annoy and loot the users.

Recently, a member of XDA developers discovered a very serious security flaw in the Exynos 4 series processors which can give the attacker complete control over physical memory of the device and before that attackers targeted the Windows users looking for USB drivers for their Android devices. Now, a new malware has been discovered that uses Google Play Store icon as disguise to lure users to click on it to carry out its attack.

This trojan can carry out co-ordinated DDoS(Distributed Denial of Service) attacks using victims' mobile devices. It can also receive commands from its makers and send text for spamming purposes.

Russian security research firm, Doctor Web, has detected it as "Android.DDoS.1.origin" which supposedly spreads via social engineering tricks. According to the firm, the malware camouflages itself as a legitimate app from Google and also, uses the Google Play store icon once the user installs it on their device.

The special thing about this malware that separates it from the others is that when the user clicks on it, the original Google Play store is opened instead of anything fishy and thus reducing the suspicion about the app. After being launched, the trojan immediately connects to its Command and Control(C&C) and if successful, the malware sends its victim's phone number to the attackers and then sits in wait for the instructions.

The malware can basically conduct two functions: conduct a DDoS attack on a specified server(attackers send over its IP address and port number) and send spam messages(message content and recipients' numbers are dictated to it by the attacker).

When the criminals send a DDoS attack command, the malicious app sends specific data packets to the sent over IP address. Although packets from one device can not hurt a website but when you take the amount of Android devices, potential victims, in perspective, a potential website take-down can take place.

When it receives a command to send SMS, it spams the recipients in no time. This can result in a slower device and also result in unexpected SMS and data charges for the victim to take care of. Also,these expensive messages become a source of income for the app maker.

Android.DDoS.1.origin's source code is reported to be very befuddling which implies that its makers wanted to hide its true functionality. The malware has a very serious criminal potential as it can be used for attacking websites(for political, competitive and corperate reasons), spamming devices or simply generate revenue for its makers.

Although there haven't been much reports of devices affected by this malware but because of the security risk it poses, it is a very dangerous DDoS attack tool. But as we know from the experience, the number of such malwares is very high and only one from the herd has been recognized  The only precaution a user can take to protect itself from such malicious tools is taking care while downloading something and using reliable sources only for the purpose.
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is Note family getting a new member?

Samsung's Galaxy lineup has been its one-way ticket to success and Samsung hasn't look back. It even defined a new category in the smartphone world through its Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone and brought back the old-school stylus from its grave back to creative usage and popularity. Recently, Samsung brought the Note charisma to the world of tablets through its Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8000 and it looks like it is ready to step into the realm of 7 inchers sensing the lucrativeness of the section.

Now, a device known as Samsung GT-N5100 has revealed itself in GLBenchmark and It is a well known fact that Samsung has used the N moniker exclusively for its Note lineup since the launch of Galaxy Note a.k.a. GT-N7000 last year. According to the benchmark data, the device runs on Exynos 4412 at 1.6 GHz and sports a HD display with 1280X800 resolution.

As Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Note 2 are very updated devices that lready on a quad-core chipset, it is a safe bet to assume that this is a 7" Note device. It is likely that Samsung saw Asus, Amazon and Apple have success in this segment amd wanted to taste a piece of this sweet pie.

Whatever Samsung is planning, it is very likely that either CES 2013 or MWC 2013 will be the stage where the smartphone world will witness its unveiling.
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Janken is unbeatable at Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, Paper, Scissors is a very interesting game and sometimes it can be decisive in situations between friends. But no one in the world is unbeatable at it except Janken who can not and does not ever loose at it.

Janken is a robot developed Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo and even IEEE's Automation Blog points that it never looses. Now, you might think that there is a catch and as a matter of fact, there is. As the starting of the video also tries to explain it with a pictorial representation  the robot works on the basis of visual feedback and high speed physical response. What that means is that as soon as you make your move, a visual feedback is taken by the robot and the winning move is drawn with a high speed. The speed of this move is so high that to naked eyes it seems as if the robot has made the winning move on its own and as if it can read its opponent't mind. So technically, there is no way you can beat this champ.

Lets have a look at Janken, the robot with 100% winning rate.

There is something you can learn off of Janken. To win at this evergreen game of Rock, Paper, Scissors you either have to know your opponent really well or be devastating quick.
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Friday, December 28, 2012

We all know how big a deal the launch and success of BB10 OS means to RIM and its BlackBerry line. That is why, its no wonder that leaks related to it have been raining lately. First, we got a glimpse of a BB 10 N-series device and then we saw an extensive photo shoot of the BlackBerry L-series, the device which was teased on BlackBerry's website.

Now, an image was leaked which shows not one but two new devices. BlackBerry X10(left) and BlackBerry Z10(center) are the devices to be caught on the camera now. The device to the right is already seen N-series device.

Leaked image

The device on the left, BlackBerry X10, is quite off from traditional BlackBerry designs and feels very similar to HTC ChaCha in looks. The center one is the BlackBerry Z10 and it has a full touchscreen display but it doesn't have the upper and lower plastic stripes like the L-series and is supposed to be rated just below it.

So this makes a total of 4 devices for the BB 10 OS to launch on, lets see how many make it to the final stage when BlackBerry unveils its latest lineup at the end of the next month.
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BlackBerry L-series photos leak out

It has been such a less time now that we caught its glimpse on BlackBerry's website and now it has gone through an extensive photo shoot.

We are talking about the BB 10 based upcoming full touch BlackBerry L-series device. After this photo session, there is very little that is left for us to imagine about the smartphone. These live images of the L-series smartphone takes the curtains of a very well-built device with a large touchscreen on it.

The area of connectivity looks to be very well covered by the device by sporting micro-HDMI port, microSD card slot and NFC antenna. It also rocks a 1800 mAh power rating battery which is far from generous for a device of this size but who knows BlackBerry pulls off something like Apple did with its iPhone 5, which it already looks a lot like. Here you go with the whole set of images.

Well, it sure does look like a solid platform for BlackBerry to showcase its BB 10 OS for the first time and meet the expectations of the smartphone world. Although we just got a good taste of what it may look like but we will have to wait for BlackBerry's New York event scheduled to be held on 30 January,2013 for official unveiling.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recently, the marketing image of Z10 was leaked and now another BB 10 device has made its way to the internet. A BB 10 N-series smartphone has just emerged in a couple of live photos which sports a QWERTY keyboard as well as a capacitive touchscreen.

It is evident from these photos that this device has looks that are very similar to BB's current offering, BlackBerry Bold 9900 except for the lack of menu and navigation buttons which has allowed it to incorporate larger screen. QWERTY keyboards have always been BlackBerry's strength and from the photos, this keyboard seems to be no different. It appears to be very well-made and comfortable to use, so the pure BlackBerry fans have a good reason to look forward to this device.

L and Z series BB 10 smartphones are supposed to be the full-touch one and N-series to be the ones that pack hardware QWERTY keyboard. This device is all but certain to launch on BlackBerry's January 30 New York event alongside its full-touch sibling, BlackBerry Z10.
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A Samsung spokesperson has responded to Android Central on its plans to fix the recently revealed Exynos Kernel vulnerability issue. According to the Android Central, the company is aware of the problem and it is moving in right direction with the software updates to solve the problem "as quickly as possible". According to Samsung, they already knew about this vulnerability and a specifically coded app is required to exploit this vulnerability.

Here's the exact statement given by Samsung.

The exploit, which was discovered some days back, could give a malicious app full control over the physical memory (RAM) of the effected device. As the exploit is based on Samsung Exynos 4 series processor which are the base of popular devices such as Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S2, whose sale is recorded to be tens of millions, a quick response from Samsung was expected.

If you can't wait for Samsung to release an update to curb the issue, you can have a look at the third-party apps which partially fix the issue. You can know in detail about the issue and its fix by clicking here.
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First full-touch BB10 phone to be called Z10?

Sometime back, the Vietnamese website Tinhte was able to get its hands-on a supposedly to-be-launched BB L-series device based on the BB 10 OS. L-series is RIM's upcoming BlackBerry's BB 10 OS full-touch device. They were also able to capture this experience and upload it on YouTube. First, lets have a look at the video in question.

RIM is going to host a major event on 30 January,2013 which is supposed to be the launchpad for its latest OS, BB 10, and devices running it. They have had their share of leaks already and now a marketing has come up and has made its way to popularity through internet.

If we believe the leaks of the earlier times, the BlackBerry Z10 should sport a 4+ inch HD resolution screen, a dual-core Krait core processor and a 8MP/1080p shooter. For the careful observers, it must sound a lot like the specs of latest Windows Phone 8 flagships, so if these leaks turn out to be true we'll be seeing heavy competition between the two platforms.

These are very powerful specs and coupled with BB services this device may have a potential to be a huge hit if only BB is able to attract developers to make apps for its latest OS. 
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Huawei flaunts 6.1" Ascend Mate before CES

Huawei, the Chinese smartphone maker, is planning to launch a sequel to its Ascend line up at CES 2013 and apparently, its a big sequel in every sense. Although, the CES is just around the corner,8-11 January, but it looks like Huwaei's Chairman of Devices, Richard Yu, was too eager to wait that long.

It is supposed to sport a 6.1" 1080p screen which equips it with an impressive 361 ppi screen and also a 9.9 mm slim profile. A device that big will need two hand operation at most of the times.

The device is also reported to run on a quad core K3V3 chip clocked at 1.8GHz and sport a 4000 mAh battery compared to 3100 mAh and Samsung Exynos 1.6GHz quad core chip of its direct competitor, Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Precedent to this demonstration, Huawei had already confirmed their interest in starting such a competition by appealing to the customers to wait for their "better and cheaper" phablet.

The Huawei phablet is expected to be showcased during CES 2013 with an expected price tag of around 480$ (¥3000) . The version of Android it runs on is yet to be revealed but Jelly Bean is a safe bet.

Its all a wait and watch game but lets have a look at the video of the demonstration.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Google working on 'X' phone to rival Apple, Samsung

Wall Street Journal reports that Google has got its Motorola Mobility branch to work on a high-end very powerful smartphone to rival Apple iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S lineup purported to be 'X' phone by WSJ's sources.

Engineers at Motorola Mobility are calling it 'X' phone internally and are designing it to have cutting-edge features to rival and sweat every other smartphone in the world. According to the sources, the project is being led by Lior Ron, who has previously worked as product manager at Google on its Google Maps team. Reportedly, he wants amazing and top of the line camera hardware and software to be incorporated in the phone.

When asked, Motorola's CEO Dennis Woodside, also a former Google top sales executive, denied to discuss about any product under development but he also said that the company is "investing in a team and a technology that will do something quite different than the current approaches". He also said that the company has "fallen under hard times" but with Google as its shareholder it has resources to do big things.

According to WSJ's report, Google's acquisition of Viewdle, a gesture and facial recognition company, will also contribute to the x-factor of the smartphone.

Apparently, the company is also expected to work on 'X' tablet after the phone is launched which, according to the sources, is due sometime next year. The smartphone is expected to have some truly unique mix of features and we all know Google has the know-how and the resources to execute it. Can the X phone, as intimidating as it sounds, be the one Google launches its Android 5.0 (dubbed Key Lime Pie) on at Google's I/O event in the summer of 2013? Its getting interesting and harder at the same time to wait. But we will have to wait and watch.
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A very Merry Christmas to you all from SmartHacks

Christmas is one of the most auspicious and greatest holidays of the year and this is the very first Christmas experience of this website. We would like to grab this opportunity to Thank our readers and fans for sticking with us and sharing with us our passion for technology.

We want to thank you, our readers, because if it weren't for you we couldn't be here and its only because of you we try to do our job with the utmost possible compassion and hard work.

We wish that these holidays bring a huge amount of joys and smiles to you and your family. We wish you have amazing time and memories to carry over to next year :)

We would like to send our holiday greetings to those readers,also, who are not celebrating Christmas. We wish you witness the magic and happiness you can't even hope for.

Thank you!! :)
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Apple releases iOS 6.0.2

iOS 6.0.2 has been released by Apple for iPhone 5 and iPad Mini to curb the very irritation wi-fi issues that many users were facing.

No piece of software is perfect. Many users were facing Wi-Fi issues when they updated to iOS 6.0.0 and to stop that Apple released iOS 6.0.1 but many users still faced the issue. To try to solve this, Apple has now released iOS 6.0.2 which is only for iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. If you were facing the issue, you should download and install this on your device.

Download links for this and various IPSW's can be found by clicking here.
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Some Galaxy SIII dying suddenly

Samsung Galaxy SIII is one of the most powerful and successful phones in the smartphone universe. Its hardware is still praised and top notch and gives latest smartphones a run for there money. Samsung Galaxy SIII recently made news when a XDA developer discovered a security hole in Exynos 4 series processors.And now, many SGSIII users are reporting their devices being bricked suddenly. These devices just don't reboot after it is charged overnight or if its screen is turned off.

The issue was first seen on Reddit where it gained quite a traction and it links to a XDA submission which started last month and got more then 600 comments. According to the users, the smartphone's mainboard is the culprit in this issue and that the flash memory is getting corrupt and failing. Reportedly, Samsung is replacing the phones with issue under warranty whether they were rooted or not or they had custom firmware installed but Samsung is replacing the mainboards with those of the same revision so the issue might crop up again.

Samsung hasn't officially acknowledged the problem but the employees at Customer Care Centers have reported this issue to be happening to many people recently. It is yet unknown how widespread the issue is but Samsung won't either acknowledge the problem neither comment about it.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

WP 8 and WP 7.8 get an interesting update

Both the current versions of Windows Phone OS, i.e. Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8, have just been updated. The default maps app of Windows Phone 8 has been updated whereas Windows Phone 7.8 users have just been gifted with the feature of Bluetooth Share.

The update for Windows Phone 8's default mapping application sizes at 290MB. It is supposed to bring a better map details as well as better traffic information. In the area of maps, better detailing is always very welcomed because that reduces the chances of user getting lost. But its offline working capabilities is suspected to be the cause of the size of this update.

On other side, Nokia has just published a Bluetooth Share app to the marketplace for Windows Phone 7.8. It enables normal Bluetooth sharing, i.e. exchanging files and data between Bluetooth capable devices, on Windows Phone 7.8 platform.

But this app has some shortcomings. Firstly, it is only compatible with Windows Phone 7.8 and not for Windows Phone 7.5 which means those who have not got the update can not get Bluetooth file sharing on their dear Windows Phone devices whatever it may say. Even if you have the update, it might not work on non-Nokia made Windows Phone devices such as HTC and Samsung.

But for the impatient ones out there, there is a way out when it comes to getting the update. You can just go to a local Nokia Care Center and ask for the update. I got Windows Phone 7.8 on a Nokia Lumia 800 by this way and reportedly Nokia Lumia 610 and Nokia Lumia 710 are eligible too.

Bluetooth Share for Windows Phone
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Real Life Fruit Ninja exists

Fruit Ninja is one of the very popular games among people of all ages. Also, we all know ninjas are very cool but fruit ninjas are cooler. There exists a dude who is very good at handling at Katana blades and decided to become a fruit ninja. He has done a very good job and there is nothing you won't love about this video because we all would like to have a go at it. Lets have a look at the video in question.

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Android is known to be vulnerability friendly but this exploit deals with a security hole in the Samsung Exynos 4 series processors. The brilliant minds at XDA have done this, again. A member of XDA Developers, who goes by the handle of alephzain, discovered this vulnerability which can effectively give complete access to physical memory. Many might not now but this has very huge repercussions for those using devices based on the effected processors, such as attackers could use malicious apps to wipe out user data, quietly access personal data or brick it.

This vulnerability was first tested by alephzain on his Samsung Galaxy SIII to root the device but according to him the vulnerability also exists on Samsung Galaxy SII, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Meizu MX and other devices which use a Samsung Exynos 4 series processor(Exynos 4210 and 4412) and use kernel sources of Samsung. Unfortunately, he released a complete working exploit with the source code before the vendors could be made aware of it leading to a very serious security issue which has no fix for now.

Although not many people have been reported to be effected by this and there isn't awareness of any app that uses this vulnerability. Also, Samsung is yet to confirm this but a senior moderator named Chainfire has created an APK file which exploits this vulnerability named as ExynosAbuse. Although the app only roots and installs the latest release of SuperSU on "any Exynos 4 based device". The post lists the following devices to be compatible:

  • Samsung Galaxy S II GT-I9100
  • Samsung Galaxy S III GT-I9300
  • Samsung Galaxy S III LTE GT-I9305
  • Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
  • Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note II SCH-I605(with locked bootloaders)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8000
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8010
According to Chainfire, some Samsung engineers have been flagged to read this post and Samsung has been made aware of it. Also, Supercurio says he has confirmed "that people at Samsung were made aware of it".

Meanwhile, Supercurio has released a quick and a partial fix to the problem. The details about the fix and its application can be found by clicking here.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Upcoming features of BB 10's keyboard showcased

Touchscreen keyboards,once thought a niché, is now a very well used feature in mobile devices. RIM was always known for its QWERTY keypads but it wants to make a mark in the field of touchscreens. This is what they are trying to do with the BB10 OS. To show thr amount of thought and effort that went into the making of BB10's keyboard, company's Head of Software Portfolio, Vivek Bhardwaj gave a short walkthrough of the keyboard.

He shared some of the new features company has added to the keyboard, especially the adddition of spaces between words automatically. With the help of this you can literally skip the spaces between words and the keyboard will take care of it. According to BlackBerry, you can continue with your train of your thought without worrying about putting spaces. There are some more features that Vivek was keen to spot like the visual design of the keyboard and personalised vocabulary suggestions. Lets have a look at the video in question.

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