• An iPhone 5 is pictured on display at an Apple Store in Pasadena, California July 22, 2013.Following reports that a woman in China died when she answered her iPhone as it was charging, Apple is now offering a trade-in program worldwide that will let customers switch their third-party charger for an official Apple product.

    Last month, Reuters reported that Apple planned to probe the death of a woman in China’s western Xinjiang region. According to reports, the flight attendant was charging her iPhone 5 using a third-party USB power adapter. She answered a phone call while it was plugged in, and was reportedly electrocuted and died from the incident.

    In response, Apple will be allowing customers who have purchased third-party charging units to trade them in at their local Apple stores for $10 USD. In Canada, the official Apple power adapter normally costs $19.

    [ More Right Click: Apple releasing update to prevent fake charger hacking attack ]

    Dubbed the “USB Power Adapter Takeback Program,” Apple posted on its U.S. website that any customers who are concerned that their

    Read More »from Apple to offer third-party charger trade-in after electrocution death
  • Inax Satis smart toilet. (Photo courtesy Inax, Inc.)Is nothing sacred? It appears that even in the comfort of your own bathroom, you can be the subject of a hacking attack.

    And not just for those people who bring their smartphones with them to the bathroom. There are reports that high-tech toilets in Japan can actually be hacked, and controlled by an outside user.

    According to information security firm Trustwave, the Satis toilets made by Inax have a Bluetooth security vulnerability that would allow an unauthorized user to control the toilet.

    Ars Technica reports that the Satis can be controlled remotely using the My Satis app for Android over a Bluetooth connection. The PIN to pair the app with the toilet is hard-coded into the app as “0000,” though, which makes it possible for anyone to pair the app on their phone with the toilet.

    [ Related: Now you can control your hotel room with your smartphone ]

    There are limitations, however, that would prevent hackers from controlling your toilet from wherever they are. The person would have to be

    Read More »from Beware the bidet: High-tech toilets vulnerable to hacking attacks
  • (Image from Motorola)The Moto X from Motorola was unveiled last week with one big focus: customization. In an effort to gain more of the smartphone market share, the announcement of Google’s newest device focused on a device that’s user friendly and stands out from other smartphones in look and functionality.

    For function, the phone certainly comes with lots of neat features: the phone is “always listening” and will respond to voice commands after you say “OK, Google Now” (much like the voice prompt for Google Glass). The function is similar to Apple’s Siri, allowing you to ask for specific information or to perform actions with the phone, except you don’t need to press any buttons first.

    It also offers more detailed notifications so you know what you’re phone is alerting you about (email, calendar appointment, etc.) and faster access to camera functionality: twist your wrist twice, and you’re ready to start shooting pictures.

    But if the selling feature for you was the wide selection of colours that Motorola

    Read More »from Black-and-white issue: No colourful Moto X options coming to Canada
  • The Edmonton chain Remedy Café has become what's believed to be the first eatery in the prairie region to accept the cyber currency Bitcoin.

    Bitcoins are a form of currency that you can buy or mine online, unregulated by any bank or central authority. They were created in 2008, when an anonymous group published a paper listing a set of rules for a system that would enable this “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”.

    Remedy Café clients can now order their food using this cyber money, whose value fluctuates, but ultimately depends on the amount in circulation at the time of purchase, CTV reports, set to cap at 21 million Bitcoins in the year 2140. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin (BTC) is worth $106.

    The Café’s digital turn is good news for its customers. They’ll save on transaction costs and won’t have to carry money around, instead paying through a Quick Response (QR) code on their phones.

    "It's very convenient, very fast and you don't have to carry money around with you," Bitcoin user

    Read More »from Bitcoin cyber currency now accepted in Edmonton eatery
  • Black Hat USA 2013 attendees (Reuters)Finding a charger for your smartphone in a public place can be a huge relief, but if you’re not careful, it can lead to big problems for you and your smartphone.

    At the Black Hat hacker conference in Las Vegas this week, three researchers demonstrated how they were able to hack a smartphone in less than 60 seconds by using a tiny LINUX computer and a malicious app. Now, Apple has responded to this research by including an update for iOS 7 (which is yet to be released to the general public) that will prevent your iPhone from being affected.

    The team of Billy Lau, Yeongjin Jang and Chengyu Song from the Georgia Institute of technology built a malicious charger they called “Mactans” which is small enough to appear to be just a charger, but also contains a small computer. When an iPhone 5 plugs into the computer through a USB connection, it will begin charging. It also unlocks as the device assumes as if you’ve attached it to a computer via USB you trust.

    The researchers created this computer

    Read More »from Apple releasing update to prevent fake charger hacking attacks
  • Back in May, we learned that one of the devices BlackBerry would be introducing this year would be the Q5. Unlike the Q10 and Z10, it appeared to be a lower-priced version better suited to emerging markets, with a plastic exterior and isolated buttons.

    But instead of just being released overseas, it looks like Canadians will be able to get their hands on the new smartphone, too: the BlackBerry Q5 will be hitting store shelves in Canada on August 13.

    [ Related: The BlackBerry Q5: A low-priced BlackBerry for emerging markets ]

    For some, the news is extremely welcome; Yahoo! Canada readers were upset when the news initially broke that Canada wouldn’t be the first to get that phone. Here’s a sample of what our readers said at the time:

    “The Q5 is the phone that I would ideally purchase as my next phone. Bring it to the Canadian market soon please. I currently have a Curve 9320, it does all I need in a phone. If Blackberry needs a tester I'm on board lol.” – R.L.

    “Seriously this is part of

    Read More »from BlackBerry Q5 coming August 13, but makes ‘no sense’ in Canada, marketing expert says
  • (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    The findings of a recent survey on smartphone use in Canada are sure to surprise very few of us north of the border.

    You have probably noticed that smartphones are quite popular in Canada. These days you would be hard pressed to step out in public and not witness several people staring down at their mobile devices. 

    Approximately 33 per cent of Canadian adults used a smartphone in 2012, and as the recent Google report would suggest, that percentage is up in 2013. Way up!

    In just seven short months, the percentage of Canadian adults who use a smartphone nearly doubled to 56 per cent, based on findings from the 1,000 Canadians surveyed.

    And not only are we buying smartphones in bulk, we're growing increasingly more addicted to our mobile devices. Just about eight in 10 respondents said they don't leave the house without their smartphone, while two-thirds of them revealed they have used their mobile device every day in the past week.

    Nearly 80 per cent of smartphone users said they use their

    Read More »from Smartphone use continues to grow in Canada: survey
  • Like many Canadians, I’m embarking on the time-honoured practice this weekend of piling into a car, driving for hours along kilometres of highway, stopping only for bathroom breaks, roadside diners and anything with “world’s largest” in the title. And also like many Canadians, I’ll be carting along my smartphone, unable to fully detach myself from the world of digital comforts.

    For those of you who will be taking a similar road trip this summer, you can make them that much easier and more enjoyable by loading up some of these apps before you head out:

    How to get there: By now you’re likely familiar with the basic mapping software like Google Maps and Apple’s Maps software. If you’re looking for an alternative, though, try checking out Waze or HERE Maps. Waze gained quite a following during the early days of the Apple Maps fallout, and was a popular alternative for many iPhone users for its social mapping approach. Other Waze users can mark maps in an area to help out other drivers by

    Read More »from Make the most of your summer road trip with these apps
  • Hugo Barra holds the new Nexus 7 tablet during a Google event in San Francisco, California, July 24, 2013.I always dreamed of learning all the languages and traveling the world without being bothered by communication barriers. This might not be a far-fetched idea after all and, what is more, it might not require years of intensive study.

    Google is working on prototype devices, which, hooked up to your phone, would enable you to receive real-time translations from a foreign language speaker.

    [ Related: Google takes aim at Apple TV with Chromecast ]

    Many have likened this latest development to Douglas Adams’s prophetic Babel Fish, an animal in his 1979 comic sci-fi novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, able to perform instant translation.

    Far from fiction, the device is part of a bigger Google Now project, which seeks to answer the customers’ every need by anticipating their requests.

    While in theory the idea means it could revolutionize the world of communications and become a sort of ‘universal tongue’ challenging the meanings of ‘learning’ and ‘knowing’, polyglots and language teachers

    Read More »from Google’s instant translation devices could turn science fiction into reality
  • Google is at it again.

    The tech giant, which continues to carve out its reputation as the "killer" of Apple products, recently unveiled Chromecast, an HDMI stick that streams music, movies, TV shows — just about anything one can stream — to your HDTV. All for the measly price of $35.

    [ Related: Google gets deeper into hardware with new tablet, TV gadget ]

    So, if you've recently purchased an Apple TV, or perhaps a Roku streaming player, I hope you've kept your receipt.

    Set-top streaming boxes such as Apple TV and Roku can run you a cost north of $100; Chromecast rings in at nearly a third of that cost. Apple TV, outside of its own apps, can only stream content from Apple computers and devices. Chromecast allows streaming from a host of devices: iPhones, iPads, Macs, PCs, and of course Android phones and tablets, just to name a few.

    "Third-party streaming boxes are dead," exclaims Benedict Evans, consultant at Enders Analysis in London, in a Huffington Post story. "Why would you spend $100 to

    Read More »from Google takes aim at Apple TV with Chromecast


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