Inspector Gadget hits Gizmoville

Fab bloggers invade The Reg

Tech Digest The Register may cover everything most sane people would ever want to know about technology, but for certified gadget obsessives Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny scour Gizmoville for the rest:

Obligatory iPod Accessory of the Week: Travel Soother

Why create a plain old Radio Alarm Clock when you can get a bit more coverage with an Apple iPod name check? Smart thinkers over at Sharper Image have concocted the Travel Soother. This not only plays you calming sounds to help you slumber, but also plugs into your iPod (and other music players) supplying an external speaker for you to listen to your music files out loud - although just how good the sound quality is going to be from one speaker remains to be heard.

Ebay Item of the Week: PSP

Those in the UK too impatient to wait for the official launch of Sony’s PSP, which of course launches Stateside this week, will be pleased to learn it’s already hot eBay property. Since the PSP isn’t now debuting in Europe until the summer, we’re expecting a re run of the Apple iPod mini eBay saga where large numbers of the players were sold by Americans to Europeans way in advance of its official worldwide launch. The current UK price for either a Japanese PSP on eBay is around £180. Alternatively for £145.59 games addict who can’t wait until the summer can order a Japanese import PSP from Hong Kong website lik-sang . Courier shipping costs £17 and the PSPs reportedly take 1-3 days to reach you. Although we’ll believe it when we see it.

Hard nut gadget of the week: Gotive H41

They may be entirely irrelevant to the majority of people, but there's something inherently appealing about ruggedised gadgets nonetheless. Maybe it's the bright colours, or the rubbery exteriors, or maybe it's just the promise that you can bash them about with no recriminations. Whatever it is, we're feeling enthusiastic about Gotive's H41 ruggedised PDA. As well as the GSM/GPRS data and voice capabilities, the H41 comes with a GPS function, Bar Code Reader and MMC and CF card slots. It's weather and drop resistant and the connectors are described as "unbreakable" which is surely asking for trouble. It runs on the WinCE NET OS and includes all the usual PIM software. It's pricey though - £990 excluding VAT from Smartdevices.

Tight Wad gadget of the week: O2 X4

O2 does a special line in budget handsets and now the X range has been joined by the latest affordable phone: the X4. O2’s X4 is the first in its series of home-grown 3G phones. Much smaller and lighter than the average 3G Behemoth, the X4 can download or stream, music, sports and comedy clips, but there’s no video calling and only one camera on the clamshell casing. There’s no Bluetooth either - so no chance of using it as a modem for your laptop. Features include a 1.3-megapixel camera, high resolution 262k colour screen, MP3 player, MMC slot and 10MB of storage on board. It’s out now for free.

Ridiculous Phone Accessory of the Week: Mojects Hugm

Emotionally constipated types can now send affection over their phones using the Mojects Hugm, saving them from any messy human contact. Squeeze the little Hugm stresh ball and it will relay the "Hhhuuugggg" message onto text or email (the harder you squeeze the longer the hug). The colour will also change depending on how hard you squeeze. The connection from the Hugm to your phone is via Bluetooth – so there really will be no touching in your life.

Over designed music player of the week: Asono Mica

Another day, another Korean player: but this time there’s a twist - it’s designed in Norway for added Scandinavian Cool. The headphones are integral to the lanyard, making it one to flaunt round your neck rather than just stuff in a bag, and the LCD display has been artfully concealed behind coloured plastic. With the 512MB version at roughly £130 and the 1GB costing £200 you’re certainly paying a premium for the design.

Quick Picks:

  • Nikon Coolpix S1 5.1-megapixel camera compact camera – a real rival for Sony’s ultra desirable DSC-T7
  • Pogo! Radio YourWay LX AM/FM recorder – the first US radio to feature integrated flash storage, so now Americans can pause and record live radio, just like the Brits have been doing for ages
  • TV in your taxi – Cabvision is adding 12inch LCD screens to London black cabs
  • Nokia 6680 - the first 3G phone from Nokia that lets you make person to person video calling. Its has some useful features (MP3 player, 1.3 mega pixel camera, Bluetooth) too.

Loads more of this stuff at Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny.

Other stories you might like

  • India extends deadline for compliance with infosec logging rules by 90 days
    Helpfully announced extension on deadline day

    India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the local Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) have extended the deadline for compliance with the Cyber Security Directions introduced on April 28, which were due to take effect yesterday.

    The Directions require verbose logging of users' activities on VPNs and clouds, reporting of infosec incidents within six hours of detection - even for trivial things like unusual port scanning - exclusive use of Indian network time protocol servers, and many other burdensome requirements. The Directions were purported to improve the security of local organisations, and to give CERT-In information it could use to assess threats to India. Yet the Directions allowed incident reports to be sent by fax – good ol' fax – to CERT-In, which offered no evidence it operates or would build infrastructure capable of ingesting or analyzing the millions of incident reports it would be sent by compliant organizations.

    The Directions were roundly criticized by tech lobby groups that pointed out requirements such as compelling clouds to store logs of customers' activities was futile, since clouds don't log what goes on inside resources rented by their customers. VPN providers quit India and moved their servers offshore, citing the impossibility of storing user logs when their entire business model rests on not logging user activities. VPN operators going offshore means India's government is therefore less able to influence such outfits.

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  • Hangouts hangs up: Google chat app shuts this year
    How many messaging services does this web giant need? It's gotta be over 9,000

    Google is winding down its messaging app Hangouts before it officially shuts in November, the web giant announced on Monday.

    Users of the mobile app will see a pop-up asking them to move their conversations onto Google Chat, which is yet another one of its online services. It can be accessed via Gmail as well as its own standalone application. Next month, conversations in the web version of Hangouts will be ported over to Chat in Gmail. 

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  • OpenSSL 3.0.5 awaits release to fix potential worse-than-Heartbleed flaw
    Though severity up for debate, and limited chips affected, broken tests hold back previous patch from distribution

    The latest version of OpenSSL v3, a widely used open-source library for secure networking using the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, contains a memory corruption vulnerability that imperils x64 systems with Intel's Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX512).

    OpenSSL 3.0.4 was released on June 21 to address a command-injection vulnerability (CVE-2022-2068) that was not fully addressed with a previous patch (CVE-2022-1292).

    But this release itself needs further fixing. OpenSSL 3.0.4 "is susceptible to remote memory corruption which can be triggered trivially by an attacker," according to security researcher Guido Vranken. We're imagining two devices establishing a secure connection between themselves using OpenSSL and this flaw being exploited to run arbitrary malicious code on one of them.

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  • Not enough desks and parking spots, wobbly Wi-Fi: Welcome back to the office, Tesla staff
    Don't worry, the tweetings will continue until morale improves

    Employees at Tesla suffered spotty Wi-Fi and struggled to find desks and parking spots when they were returned to work at the office following orders from CEO Elon Musk.

    Most tech companies are either following a hybrid work model or are still operating fully remotely. Musk, however, wants his automaker's staff back at the office working for at least 40 hours a week. Those who fail to return risk losing their jobs, he warned in an internal email earlier this month.

    "Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned," he wrote.

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  • LGBTQ+ folks warned of dating app extortion scams
    Uncle Sam tells of crooks exploiting Pride Month

    The FTC is warning members of the LGBTQ+ community about online extortion via dating apps such as Grindr and Feeld.

    According to the American watchdog, a common scam involves a fraudster posing as a potential romantic partner on one of the apps. The cybercriminal sends explicit of a stranger photos while posing as them, and asks for similar ones in return from the mark. If the victim sends photos, the extortionist demands a payment – usually in the form of gift cards – or threatens to share the photos on the chat to the victim's family members, friends, or employer.

    Such sextortion scams have been going on for years in one form or another, even attempting to hit Reg hacks, and has led to suicides.

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  • 5G C-band rollout at US airports slowed over radio altimeter safety fears
    Well, they did say from July, now they really mean from July 2023

    America's aviation watchdog has said the rollout of 5G C-band coverage near US airports won't fully start until next year, delaying some travelers' access to better cellular broadband at crowded terminals.

    Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement this month that its discussions with wireless carriers "have identified a path that will continue to enable aviation and 5G C-band wireless to safely co-exist."

    5G C-band operates between 3.7-3.98GHz, near the 4.2-4.4GHz band used by radio altimeters that are jolly useful for landing planes in limited visibility. There is or was a fear that these cellular signals, such as from cell towers close to airports, could bleed into the frequencies used by aircraft and cause radio altimeters to display an incorrect reading. C-band technology, which promises faster mobile broadband, was supposed to roll out nationwide on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US's networks, but some deployments have been paused near airports due to these concerns. 

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  • IBM settles age discrimination case that sought top execs' emails
    Just days after being ordered to provide messages, Big Blue opts out of public trial

    Less than a week after IBM was ordered in an age discrimination lawsuit to produce internal emails in which its former CEO and former SVP of human resources discuss reducing the number of older workers, the IT giant chose to settle the case for an undisclosed sum rather than proceed to trial next month.

    The order, issued on June 9, in Schenfeld v. IBM, describes Exhibit 10, which "contains emails that discuss the effort taken by IBM to increase the number of 'millennial' employees."

    Plaintiff Eugene Schenfeld, who worked as an IBM research scientist when current CEO Arvind Krishna ran IBM's research group, sued IBM for age discrimination in November, 2018. His claim is one of many that followed a March 2018 report by ProPublica and Mother Jones about a concerted effort to de-age IBM and a 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that IBM executives had directed managers to get rid of older workers to make room for younger ones.

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  • FTC urged to probe Apple, Google for enabling ‘intense system of surveillance’
    Ad tracking poses a privacy and security risk in post-Roe America, lawmakers warn

    Democrat lawmakers want the FTC to investigate Apple and Google's online ad trackers, which they say amount to unfair and deceptive business practices and pose a privacy and security risk to people using the tech giants' mobile devices.

    US Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and House Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) requested on Friday that the watchdog launch a probe into Apple and Google, hours before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for individual states to ban access to abortions. 

    In the days leading up to the court's action, some of these same lawmakers had also introduced data privacy bills, including a proposal that would make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive location and health information of individuals' medical treatment.

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