Blog Posts by Chase Kell

  • Police drone crashes into SWAT team vehicle in test run

    It was supposed to be a big day for the men and women at the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. The police force north of Houston, Texas are the first department south of the border with its own $300,000 aerial drone and they had everything set for one heck of a debut. But the high-priced machine was far from impressive in its first test run.

    A report from The Examiner sets the scene:

    "As the sheriff's SWAT team suited up with lots of firepower and their armored vehicle known as the "Bearcat," a prototype drone from Vanguard Defense Industries took off for pictures of all the police action. It was basically a photo opportunity, according to those in attendance."

    A combat vehicle and "lots of fire power?" Sounds like a shot from the set of The Expendables 2. It's just too bad they didn't put as much preparation into the camera as they did the contrived scenery.

    "[The] prototype drone was flying about 18-feet off the ground when it lost contact with the controller's console on the

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  • The gaming industry has been rocked by a rumour that has surely grabbed the attention of the brass at Sony and Microsoft.

    Multiple sources including TechSpot, PC Gamer and are reporting that Valve, creator of the Steam community gaming platform, is working on a PC gaming console called the "Steam Box."

    "The rumor, reported by The Verge last Friday, puts Valve in an interesting position to shape the next generation of console gaming," shares David Daw in a PC World story. "The hardware's presumed heavy integration with Steam would create a console store that Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store would have a lot of trouble keeping up with."

    Rumours around the Steam Box began to swirl shortly after Valve co-founder, Gabe Newell, shared his thoughts in a recent interview with The Penny Arcade Report.

    Newell was quoted as saying, "if we have to sell hardware we will," which immediately galvanized interest in the company's plans for the future. A subsequent report from The

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  • Neil Hope, who played Derek (Wheels) Wheeler on the long-running series.During his time in Hamilton, Ontario, fallen Degrassi star Neil Hope would frequently visit Cheapies Records and Tapes. His good friend, Scott Bell, who works behind the counter, vividly recalls a visit in early November, 2007 - the last time Neil would set foot in the shop.

    The man affectionately known as "Wheels" was sporting an eye patch and his speech was rather incoherent, says Bell in a Toronto Star story. "That was the last time I saw him."

    But Hope's peculiar behaviour was nothing new for Bell. Every now and then, Hope would visit the music story with his PlayStation 2 in hand. He'd sell it for some quick cash, only to return a few weeks later to buy it right back. Hope was a diabetic and suffered the occasional blackout, and as he explained to Bell, he'd often wake up to find his money had gone missing.

    It's been nearly two weeks since the news broke of Hope's inconspicuous death, and the emerging details of his final years continue to add tragedy to this already tragic tale.

    Read More »from Degrassi’s Neil ‘Wheels’ Hope: The lost years of a Canadian TV icon
  • iPhone dock ports and plugs may be getting smaller

    If the latest Apple rumour is indeed true, the one consistent feature that survived the generations of iPhones, iPods and iPads is about to change.

    A report from CNET reveals that Apple might be switching to a smaller port, which in turn would change the required connectors that can be found in millions of homes throughout the country.

    Yet while CNET's Josh Lowensohn stops short of revealing when we can expect such a change, Rene Ritchie gives us a ballpark time frame.

    "We've heard that Apple is getting ready to ditch the dock connector as it's currently sized and implemented on iPods, iPhones, and iPads," shares Ritchie in a iMore report. "The reason isn't anything political, like a new desire to conform to an outdated micro-USB standard, but typically Apple: to save space inside the iPhone 5 for what are now more important components."

    Which steers us toward our next Apple rumour: tech pundits believe the iPhone 5 will be making its debut in June at this year's Worldwide

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  • Sony PlayStation Vita hits the shelves in Canada

    Facing a burgeoning threat in the mobile gaming industry, Sony released the highly anticipated PlayStation Vita on Wednesday, placing an all-or-nothing bet on their new portable gaming unit.

    And as Dean Takahashi explains, the PS Vita could make or break the tech giant's future with on-the-go gaming.

    "This handheld device is Sony's last stand against competitors such as the Nintendo 3DS, not to mention the iPad, iPhone, and all of the other mobile devices out there that have become vehicles for inexpensive or free games," said Takahashi in a Venture Beat story.

    Featuring two analog sticks, a rear touchpad, vibrant graphics and a beautiful screen, the PS Vita proves Sony was thinking big when they put their chips all in.

    They've made an effort to boost the portable system with PlayStation's back catalog, supported the release with the new Uncharted: Golden Abyss (only available on the PS Vita), and have thrown in a new selection of bells and whistles - a standard pack of augmented

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  • Philips and LG have a plan to boost consumer interest in their 3D TVs, and they're targeting gamers worldwide.

    LG introduced the concept of the "dual-view" gaming last September and it looks like the brass at Philips are hopping on the bandwagon. The latter has announced their 2012 TV lineup, highlighted by the Phillips 6000 and 7000 series, which will feature an application that allows two gamers to see different displays on the same television.

    Check it the demo in the video below:

    In his Tech Spot blog, Shawn Knight explains how this feature could effectively render "split-screen gaming" a thing of the past.

    "The televisions utilize 3D technology to essentially play a trick on the human eye. With both players wearing special 3D glasses, one player only sees images from the left side of the screen while the other gamer only sees images from the right side. The beauty of the system is that it expands the half-screen view for each gamer so they see a full-screen image as they

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  • Man finds $26,000 in a safe he bought on eBay

    Several weeks ago I received a late Christmas present when I reached into the pocket of an my old ski-jacket and pulled out a $20 bill. That kind of good fortune is common; your old clothing can often be a forgotten gold mine. But a man in the U.S. hit the jackpot when he cracked open a safe he had purchased on eBay.

    A Bartlett, California, man bought the old safe from James Labrecque for $122.93. When the man opened the safe, he found $26,000 in cash, a revelation that will haunt Labrecque for quite some time.

    "I made a mistake, you know, that's what it boils down to," said Labrecque in a story.  "And it cost me dearly."

    Labrecque, an eBay veteran of more than 15 years, saw the safe as just another product to flip since he didn't have the combination for it.

    "I thought it was empty," he said.  "I shook it and I didn't feel anything inside of it, so I figured, 'well, maybe it's just a locked safe,' you know.  So I put it on eBay."

    The man who discovered the cash had brought

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  • Fans of the iconic Degrassi series are mourning the loss of Neil Hope, also known as Derek "Wheels" Wheeler, as news broke on Thursday that the former teen star has been dead for five years.

    Several media outlets have reported that news of Hope's passing was made public on Thursday, Feb. 16, but confirmation from Hope's sister-in-law, Tracy Northrup Hope, had been posted on the Facebook group "Let's Bring The Real Neil Hope ("Wheels" from Degrassi)" on Jan. 12, 2012. The posting reported Hope had died from natural causes on Nov. 25, 2007, in Hamilton, Ontario. He was 35.

    According to the National Post, the Canadian actor's fiancee, Christina Boulard, released the following statement:

    "The family regrets to announce that Neil passed away in Hamilton, Ontario on November 25, 2007 of natural causes. There was some confusion regarding his passing that they do not wish to go public with, which is why they are only announcing his death now to the public and the media."

    Producers of the show,

    Read More »from Degrassi star Neil ‘Wheels’ Hope reported dead – five years later
  • iPhone users rejoiced when the keystroke monitoring system known as Carrier IQ was confirmed in Android devices back in December. But before they could boast, Carrier IQ was discovered in both the iPhone and iPad, making the top two mobile OS developers guilty of tracking the activity of their users.

    And that's not all that your sneaky iPhone is up to.

    A report from Gizmodo reveals how an array of iPhone apps are stealing your contacts data and storing it in a private server. Some of the offending apps are making the appropriates fixes, and some aren't. But as Sam Biddle of Gizmodo explains, the underlying issue goes much further.

    "Apple allows any app to access your address book at any time—it's built into the iPhone's core software," he explains in the article. "The idea is to make using these apps more seamless and magical, in that you won't have dialog boxes popping up in your face all the time, the way Apple zealously guards your location permissions at an OS level—because

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  • Smartphone evidence a boon for divorce lawyers

    We all love our smartphones. But if you're going through a divorce, there's a good chance your spouse's lawyer loves that smartphone even more than you do.

    A report from All Things D reminds us that in this digital era, exercising caution goes much further than tweets and Facebook posts. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is reporting a spike in cases that include evidence taken from smartphones, including Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones.

    "As smartphones and text messaging become main sources of communication during the course of each day, there will inevitably be more and more evidence that an estranged spouse can collect," reveals Ken Altshuler, AAML President in the story. "Text messages can be particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case, because they are written records of someone's thoughts, actions and intentions."

    At 62 per cent, text messages account for the most common form of smartphone evidence used in divorce proceedings. Email evidence follows

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