10 February 2014

Here’s the Right Way to Rescue a Soaking Wet Smartphone

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

It fell in the toilet. The clumsy waitress knocked a glass of water onto it. You forgot it was in your pocket when you jumped into the pool. That’s just a few of the hundreds of ways your phone could come into life-threatening contact with liquid. When it happens to you (and it will), as soon as you’re done freaking out, you’ll probably begin frantically tapping all the buttons, blowing on it, or blasting it with a hair dryer to quickly get rid of all that water.
While those are all well-meaning actions, guess what? Totally the wrong approach. Here’s what you should do.
First, retrieve it as quickly as possible. If your phone is still in the bottom of the jacuzzi or the toilet, get it out ASAP. The longer it’s in the liquid, the greater the likelihood damage will be.
Once the device is no longer submerged, if you can, take that battery out. Don’t even bother powering it off, don’t press any other buttons, just open up the phone and pull the battery out. If you can’t do that though — if you own an iPhone or another device that’s impossible to quickly pry apart — you’ll have to settle for just carefully powering the device off. You want to cut off power in the device as quickly as possible to prevent the possibility of a short circuit.
Now — Do not blow-dry it or stick it in the oven. The heat can damage the delicate electronics inside. What you should do is give it a quick wipe with a clean towel, making sure no water accidentally ends up draining into its ports or other openings. If there are traces of water trapped inside cracks or indentations in the case, try carefully and conservatively using compressed air to blow it out. Just be careful not to blow the water further inside the phone.

Next we have a few different options. Many folks swear by stuffing your phone in a bag of dry rice, and letting it sit for 24 to 36 hours or more. This is cheap, easy, and can be done in a pinch. But this method could have some negatives: If the rice absorbs the water well, you may be left with a mushy rice mess stuck in its creases and I/O ports. Those with skin in the game (as you’ll see below) also say that the starch from the surface of the rice can get inside your phone and muck it up, but I haven’t been able to find solid empirical evidence of this. To be safe, wrap the phone loosely in a paper towel before dropping it into the rice.
The smartest option is to keep synthetic desiccants on-hand. They are far less messy, and they work more quickly and efficiently than rice.
The $20 Bheestie Bag is one option you can order and keep on the shelf at home. You can drop your phone in the airtight plastic pouch periodically (like after your jeans get soaked in a rainstorm) to make sure no lingering moisture starts doing damage inside your handset, or just use it if your phone encounters a full-on liqui-mergency.
Dry-All is another product you can buy and keep with you just in case. Same deal as the Bheestie Bag: you just seal up your phone inside the pouch, which is filled with desiccant, and then wait the specified amount of time (24 to 48 hours) to let your phone dry out. You can grab a pouch for as cheap as $6 on Amazon.
Drybox is another option. You can use its website to find retailers in your city that have a Drybox you can use on-site. After you’ve powered down your phone post-plunge, you just head to one of these Drybox locations and within minutes, your gadget should be bone dry and restored. While San Francisco had many to choose from, other cities like Houston, TX, and Santa Barbara, CA did not have any Dryboxes nearby, so do your research.
Of course, the smartest thing you can do is begin hoarding the desiccant packets you’re already getting for free. Start now: Every time you see a loose desiccant packet in a box with a new pair of shoes, a hard drive, a shipment of spices, or whatever, pull it out and save it. Dump them all into a plastic or glass container you’re certain has an air-tight seal. After you’ve collected a bunch of them, you have an emergency phone-rescue pod ready to go. Just drop the dunked phone into the container, seal it up, and you’ll get the same results as any of those other commercial options.
The trick to all of these methods is that for the desiccant to do its magic, it needs to be in a sealed container so that it can absorb water only from your phone, and not from the outside air. Also, you need to have enough of the desiccant present to absorb all the water.
Following these tips, there’s a good chance your phone could survive its untimely spill. But if it takes an especially big plunge, you could be SOL. In which case, it’s time to buy a new handset.

This Miracle Karaoke Machine Will Fix Your Terrible Voice

Karaoke is fun. Whether you’re doing the singing or watching your friends butcher Journey songs, only a bonafide curmudgeon could pass up a night of “empty orchestra.” And while bars are great places to enjoy warbling with friends, waiting 90 minutes to sing is unacceptable.
The Singtrix karaoke kit lets you sing at home without the long waits. Even better, it’ll even make up for (or at least mask) your tonal deficiencies. The Party Bundle Limited Edition comes with two mics, a mic stand, a 40-Watt 2.1 stereo speaker with a subwoofer, a mic stand attachment for a smartphone or tablet, and the voice-enhancing Studio Effect Console. Combine it with your favorite karaoke app on a tablet or smartphone. Connect the audio out of the karaoke-fueld device into the Effects Console and let the good times roll.
But the real fun comes when you play with the Effects Console.
With 350 different effects, it’s easy to go down the funny voice rabbit hole. I took Singtrix to band practice. We usually stay on target and work through the songs we’re rehearsing without too much interruption. But the Singtrix brought everything to a hilarious standstill. Singing with robot voices and gender-swapping tweaks led to songs stopping as soon as singing began. It took 90 minutes of screwing around before we started using it in earnest to enhance the backing vocals of songs.
As if the regular vocal effects weren’t enough, you can tap the “Hit Effect” button on the console or microphone and your voice is transformed into an entirely different instrument. The best settings make you sound like a guitar or keyboard for epic solos. Clearly the developers were going for extreme hilarity.
For conservative karaoke enthusiasts, there are vocal effects to enhance or add echo to your voice, a common karaoke trick that makes everyone sound better. Plus, you can turn all the vocal effects off if you’re feeling especially brave. However pro your pipes, the Singtrix has something to offer.
This much fun doesn’t come cheap. At $300, the kit is meant for someone who really, really likes karaoke. For that person and their friends, this is huge doses of fun for years to come. For the average person that hits the karaoke bar a few times a year, you’re probably better off waiting 45 minutes to “Twist and Shout.”

Google updates Newsstand, Now and Search apps for Android with new features

The Google Search now features an improved and customizable time-to-leave system, which can be used to remind a user who should be somewhere by a certain time and will inform the user when should plan to leave instead. Mountain View's Google+ page said, "You can specify where you'll be leaving from, if you're driving or taking public transport and how early you'd like to arrive - just tap the card and you'll see those options - and Google Now will do the rest."

The new update adds reminders support for more languages namely French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Russian. Google has also enhanced its voice-recognition feature, which allows a user to make calls, send messages, and search using voice commands.

Further, Google has added a new Google Now card for the current Sochi Olympics, which will be updating the medal standings, news and forthcoming events. Last week, Google placed a rainbow version of its logo on its search page, intending to increase the pressure on President Vladimir Putin over Russia's "gay propaganda" law at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Google Search homepage also included a quote from the Olympics Charter underlining the right to practise sport without discrimination.

Google has also rolled out an update for the Google Play Newsstand app that brings new features, such as headlines on the home screen with the Newsstand widget, and a new 'mini cards' feature that allows users to quickly access the headlines of the latest news. The new update also adds an option to organize magazine issues by publication date and translate news sources instantly.

In addition, the yet-to-be-launched Google Now Launcher that was first spotted last week, and was speculated to be soon released to other (non-Nexus) Android devices as an app on the Play Store, is now available via APK (Android application package file).

Phone Arena has claimed that Nexus 5's GoogleHome APK can be installed to any Android device after updating Google Search to the latest version. The site also reveals that the Nexus 5's Google Now Launcher is working smoothly on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, though some users are reporting problems with other devices.

Sony Xperia Z2 to offer 15.5-megapixel manual mode, 1080p recording at 60fps: Report


Sony's alleged successor to the Xperia Z1, thought to be codenamed Sony D6503 'Sirius' and expected to be released as the Sony Xperia Z2, is once again doing rounds of the internet, with new reports detailing its camera feature.

The rumoured Sony D6503 'Sirius', which has in the past been expected to have the same 20.7-megapixel camera as the Xperia Z1, in its recent leak of screenshots of the camera settings, shows off the ability to record 1080p video at 60 frames per second. If true, it will be more than twice as fast as Xperia Z1, which has the usual 30fps recording mode.
With the Xperia Z1, users could click 20-megapixels images only in the 4:3 aspect ratio. Users could click widescreen 16:9 images only at a 8-megapixels resolution. With the latest report however, it seems evident that the settings shown on the Sony D6503 "Sirius" suggest that one can also get the same 16:9 aspect shot with 15.5-megapixels.

Last month, XDA developer's forum member has posted a bunch of alleged live images of the rumoured Xperia D6503 'Sirius'. The same XDA developer also published leaked UI screenshots of the Xperia D6503, which showed the alleged Sony device running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

Later a report in January pointed the numerous Xperia UI changes, are expected to be skinned on top of Android 4.4 KitKat when the device ships. The other purported screenshots also detailed the new features. Some of the features said to be included are 4K recording, Timeshift video, smart backlight control, the presence of two home launchers, USB DAC audio support, and more.

The revealed specifications of the alleged Sony Xperia D6503 'Sirius' so far includes a quad-core Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974-AB) chipset clocked at 2.3GHz with Adreno 330 GPU; 3GB of RAM; 5.2-inch full-HD display; and a 20.7-megapixel rear camera with a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera.

A Sensor-Packed Teddy Bear That Keeps an Eye On Your Baby

A stuffed animal can give a child some much needed comfort, but the Tedi promises to do the same for new parents. On the outside it looks like your run-of-the-mill plush toy, but on the inside it's packed full of sensors that report various aspects of a child's status and progress to a smartphone, allowing helicopter parents to remotely hover 24 hours a day.
Besides stuffing, inside Tedi you'll find a microphone that keeps track of when and for how long an infant cries, a thermometer to monitor its temperature, a sensor to keep track of its pulse, and a grip sensor that keeps tabs on your child's continually improving strength. All of this data is wirelessly transmitted to an accompanying iOS or Android app, giving concerned parents up to the minute details on their child's progress.

Tedi isn't limited to one-way communications, though. A built-in speaker lets parents activate a white noise generator that should help restless babies drift off to sleep. Or it can be used to play customized messages, or even help them learn words through repetition. Available for pre-order now for $99, Tedi is expected to ship in January of next year, giving families a sort of plush Mary Poppins that does everything but handle feedings and change diapers. 

CineMate™ 1 SR Home Theatre Speaker System

CineMate™ 1 SR Home Theatre Speaker System


Spacious home theater sound from a sleek soundbar speaker 

ADAPTiQ audio calibration system analyzes the way your room's dimensions and other variables affect sound, then automatically adjusts the sound of your speaker system to the acoustics of your room 

Flexmount automatic placement compensation automatically detects the speaker's orientation—flat on a table, or mounted on a wall—and adjusts the sound to ensure wide, spacious sound. 

PhaseGuide sound radiators work with TrueSpace technology to direct sound with precision, sending acoustic detail to the left, right and center of your room. 

SmartSource input selection system continuously monitors the system's auxiliary audio inputs and automatically switches to the best audio signal available that matches what's on the TV. 

Wireless Acoustimass module produces deep low notes for added home theatre realism. A wireless link allows for flexible placement and does away with any speaker cables from the module to the soundbar. 

Programmable IR remote controls the CineMate 1 SR system and nearly any attached entertainment device to simplify the experience and reduce the clutter of multiple remotes. 


What's in the box:
Speaker Array
Acoustimass® Module 
Universal Remote Control

Other cables & Accessories

    Optical Digital Cable (2)
    Stereo Audio Cable Coaxial Digital Cable
    AC power cord
    ADAPTiQ® audio calibration headset
    Acoustimass® module feet
    Speaker array extension feet
    2 AA batteries
Soundbar speaker
12.4 cm H x 93.5 cm W x 6.1 cm D 
3.5 kg

Acoustimass® Module
37.3 cm H x 19.3 Wx 28.2 cmcm D 
6.2 kg 

Shipping weight
16 kg


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