Report: NSA tracks billions of cellphones daily
WASHINGTON — The Washington Post is reporting that the National Security Agency tracks the locations of nearly 5 billion cellphones every day overseas, including those belonging to Americans abroad. The newspaper says the NSA inadvertently gathers ...
NSA tracking cellphone records, documents show
NSA Knows Where You Are Right Now
NSA tracks hundreds of millions of cell phones worldwide
Consider it an attack of the drones — and pork is on the menu.
Feral pigs in America’s deep South are a major problem for farmers and civilians alike, with the porcine predators causing an estimated $1.5 billion annually in damage to crops and wildlife. Enter the Louisiana Hog Control, an extermination company launched in 2011 by a couple of engineers determined to make a dent in the thriving pig population. Using a radio-controlled airplane equipped with a thermal-imaging camera as a spotter and a hunter on the ground, Cy Brown estimates he and his partner, James Palmer, have killed roughly 300 wild pigs in the last six months alone.
“Obviously it’s not completely new technology, but some of the sensors and computing power has gotten to such a state to where it’s very easy to build these things, have them last a long time and for them to have a little bit of brains,” Brown said of the unmanned aircraft system that operates about 400 feet off the ground.
Now in his third season, Brown said he got the idea of strapping a high-end camera to a radio-controlled airplane from his intense interest in the hobby, particularly in a subset community that focuses on creating a first-person viewpoint using the miniature aircraft.
“This is really kind of the next big revolution of aviation and aerospace."
- Ben Gielow, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
“The aircraft is certainly capable of going thousands of feet, but generally the working altitude is 400 feet,” Brown, 36, told FoxNews.com. “And it’s hard to say whether it will be business, but I know people who are making their living doing this.”
Anyone can recreate Brown’s system — the airplane and accompanying computing devices on the ground — for about $2,000, he said, not including the price of the thermal-imaging camera, which can cost upwards of $10,000 and beyond. And since he cannot legally charge people for flying the plane due to FAA regulations, Brown said he kills pigs for tips, often $25 per porker.
“The more you tip, the more we show up,” he said. “Whoever’s got the most pigs and the most money, that’s where we’ll be. Sometimes people pay us money just for showing up.”
Brown said usage of unmanned aircraft systems isn’t going anywhere and will further explode in coming years, particularly after Amazon.com’s announcement that it’s seeking to use the devices to get parcels weighing five pounds or less to customers in fewer than 30 minutes.
“Oh I’m certain of it,” he said of the looming drone explosion. “A lot of the wireless communication technology has kicked into high gear.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told “60 Minutes” that the so-called octocopters are being tested to have a range of about 10 miles, which could cover a significant portion of the U.S. population in urban areas. Bezos said the project — dubbed Prime Air — could become a working service in four or five years, but some skeptics have expressed serious doubts.
"It's fascinating as an idea and probably very hard to execute," Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, told The Associated Press. "If he could really deliver something you order within 30 minutes, he would rewrite the rules of online retail."
Ben Gielow, government relations manager of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said the industry is literally poised to take off. Drones are already being used domestically and internationally in myriad projects, including in search and rescue missions, narcotics interdiction operations by the U.S. Coast Guard and to survey hard-to-reach habitats within scientific research.
Internationally, the trade group said drones have already been used in a number of unorthodox ways, including to arrest a leader of Mexico’s infamous Los Zetas gang, to identify illegal fishermen in Australia and to monitor radiation at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
“People think about using unmanned aircraft to complete tasks that are either too difficult, dangerous, dull or expensive to do traditionally,” Gielow told FoxNews.com. “This is really kind of the next big revolution of aviation and aerospace. You’re no longer constrained by protecting the pilot or passengers on board. You can fly further, faster, higher longer and also fly in areas that are too dangerous for typical aircraft to go, like over a forest fire or beneath a bridge.”
Google Takes on NORAD in Santa Tracker Race
(NEW YORK) -- On the heels of the release of NORAD's Santa tracker site and apps, which was built this year with the help of Microsoft, Google is unwrapping its Santa tracker website and Android and Google Glass apps on Wednesday.
NORAD adds fighter jets to escort Santa in animation of Christmas Eve flight
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To join in the flurry of preparations for Christmas Eve, visit the Village every day through December 24. You'll have the chance to join the elves as they catapult presents and race with reindeer—and you'll be able to send holiday wishes to friends and family from Santa himself. The elves make a little more progress each day, so be sure to stop by the Village to see the latest.
Meanwhile, a team of Google engineers are working hard to track Santa’s sleigh with the most advanced maps and holiday technology available. On December 24, grab some cookies and apple cider and settle down in front of your computer, phone or TV to follow the big guy across the globe with our Santa Tracker. See where Santa’s going, the number of presents he’s delivered, and what he’s thinking throughout the evening.
Keep up the holiday cheer across all of your screens. Once the elves approve, we’ll launch the Google Santa Tracker app for Android in mid-December. Use your phone for on-the-go flight practice with the elves or cozy up near the fireplace with your tablet to follow Santa around the world as he delivers presents Christmas Eve. If you have Chromecast, cast from the Santa Tracker Android app to explore the Village or track his route right from your TV. Or, worried you’ll forget the big day? Download the Chrome extension to count down to Santa’s takeoff while browsing the web for holiday gifts.
Be sure to come back to Santa’s Village each day to find new ways to celebrate—and from all of us at Google, happy holidays!
(Cross-posted from the Lat Long Blog) Tags: android, Android Smart Phone, ATT, camera phone, cell phone, cell phone plans, cell phone provider, cell phones, cellular, Metro pcs, mobile, no contract wireless, prepaid wireless, smart phone, sprint, T-mobile, Team Mobile, Verizon, Wireless, wireless provider, wireless services
Google is designing robots for the manufacturing and supply chain sectors and Andy Rubin, the executive behind the company's successful Android mobile operating system, is leading the effort.
The news was first reported by USA Today in August, however, new details emerged about the venture Wednesday.
Google has created a new robotics group under Rubin and bought seven tech companies in the past six months, including Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka and Redwood Robotics, to help with the push, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person did not want to be identified because the group has not officially launched and the transactions were mostly small private deals.
Google began as an Internet search business and this is where the company still makes most of its prodigious revenue and profit. However, CEO Larry Page encourages the company to take big bets on new technology that may not become viable for years but could have a huge impact on how people live and do business. These long-term projects have become known as moonshots.
"Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor," Rubin told the New York Times Wednesday. "We need enough runway and a 10-year vision."
Rubin, aged 50, stepped down from the Android business earlier this year without saying what he planned to do next at Google. The executive has been interested in robots for much of his career. Before working at Apple in the 1990s, he was a robotics engineer at German manufacturer Carl Zeiss.
Google shares rose less than 1% to $1,060.14, close to a record high, in early afternoon action Wednesday.
Page announced Rubin's new project on the company's social network Google+, reminding followers of the executive's past success.
"His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets," Page wrote. "It is still very early days for this, but I can't wait to see the progress."
Google is not the only big tech company thinking about the potential of robots. Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said this week that the Internet retailer is testing the use of drones for delivering packages in a little as 30 minutes.
"Google's robotics ambitions and Bezos's drone PR should be a reminder to investors that they are not only investing in the trend lines of the current financials, but in the future vision and broad ambitions of these companies," Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie, wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.
"Amazon and Google clearly are going to invest in projects that may not bear fruit for 5-10 years, if at all," he added.
Sizing the potential addressable market for Google robots is "near impossible," however, the company does not invest meaningfully in any business that it doesn't think can be profitable and generate at least $5 billion in revenue in a reasonable time frame, the analyst noted.
Google has succeeded on big long-term projects before, such as YouTube and Android, and the company's newer moonshots, such as self-driving cars and the Glass wearable computing platform, are beginning to show early commercial promise.
New York Times
Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android
New York Times
PALO ALTO, Calif. — In an out-of-the-way Google office, two life-size humanoid robots hang suspended in a corner. Multimedia. Video Feature · Shooting for a Moon Filled With Robots · Bits · More Tech Coverage. News from the technology industry, including ...
Google Looks to Robots for Next 'Moonshot' Program, Acquires Seven Robotics ...
Google's latest 'moonshot': Rubin's robots
Google Wants To Build An Army Of Robots To Replace Factory Workers
Every pet owner has wondered what their pet was up to while they're gone. When your dog (and, less often, cat) greets you at the door, you can't just ask them what they accomplished that day—you won't get a straight answer. Some places have decided to attack this serious problem by creating a direct neural interface between humans and animals. Others made cameras.
Whether it's just for the fun of getting snapshots from a cat's point of view, or for the peace of mind of knowing your dog hasn't set the house on fire somehow, there's a surprising number of cameras designed to let owners get a glimpse into their animals' secret lives.
Uncle Milton's Pet's Eye View
If the Uncle Milton label didn't give it away, this camera is more of a toy than something like a GoPro. For only $40, though, it's the least expensive way to turn your dog into a photographer.
• Simple to use, automatically takes photos in 1/5/15-minute intervals
• Charges and transfers images via USB
• MSRP $40 ($30 on Amazon)
Costing only $46 after shipping, this camera is not without its drawbacks: It only outputs in .avi format, and it's not waterproof. As a fun novelty gadget, though, this camera is reasonably priced.
• Records up to 3 hours of video
• Sound-activated, shuts off after five minutes of no noise
• $46 (after shipping)
Eyenimal Petcam (distributed by Dogtek)
Now we're getting a bit more serious, and quite a bit more expensive. Eyenimal makes a series of pet cameras that have more features than the ones we've listed so far. Its basic model, the Petcam, goes for $99. The Petcam's battery allows for up to 2.5 hours of continuous recording. It uses flash memory as its storage medium, but can hold up to 4GB of footage.
• Up to 2.5 hours of continuous video recording
• 4GB of flash memory, transfers via USB
• MSRP $99 ($79 on Amazon)
Eyenimal Cat Videocam
Eyenimal's Cat Videocam is the next step up from their basic Petcam. Designed for cats, this camera is smaller, and features night vision, movement detection (so it shuts off when the cat isn't moving, which is about 99% of the day), and a water-resistant body. This thing will set you back at least $99, though.
[Promotional video of Eyenimal's Cat Videocam (Warning: French)]
• Same battery life and memory capacity as Petcam
• Night vision
• Movement detection
• MSRP $129 ($99 on Amazon)
None of the cameras listed so far has the image quality of a GoPro-style action cam. If you already one of those and want to make cool videos like these, the Mutt Mount accessory will let you securely strap it to your dog. This is a great way to get amazing, high-definition shots from the point of view of man's best friend.
[Footage from GoPro attached to Mutt Mount]
Sony also has a similar mount for their action cams. Just make sure you train your pooch not to roll around too much.
• Camera can be mounted on animal's chest or back
• Ideal for people who already have an action camera
• MSRP $45.60
mydlink Network Camera System
The mydlink home network camera system lets you easily set up surveillance cameras that connect to your home's wireless network. Their D-ViewCam software (free with the camera) lets you access live video feeds from any device with an internet connection. The cameras can also be set to start recording when they detect motion, and even send you an e-mail.
While security and surveillance are the primary uses of these cameras, they can easily fill in as pet monitors. At $90 a camera, though, we hope you plan on doing more with them than just finding out if Fido sleeps on the couch when you're not there to stop him.
• Simple wireless surveillance cameras
• Access live video feed from any device with an internet connection
• Basic camera (DCS-930L) is $90, $45 on Amazon
The NetGear Vuezone camera system is a bit pricier than the mydlink system, but it comes with a few more features. The idea is still the same: Set up some cameras that connect to your home's wireless network, then view live feeds from your computer, smartphone, or iPad.
Like with the mydlink system, you can get an e-mail alert when the camera detects motion, but the message will also come with a snapshot or short video clip attached. You also get to pan and zoom the cameras from your computer, letting you zero in on a small area of a live feed while yelling, "ENHANCE!"
However, those perks cost you extra: $49.99 a year, or $4.99 a month for their Premier service plan. At that point, it is similar to paying a monthly service plan for home monitoring, so you should definitely be doing more with it than just watching Fluffy hack up a hairball on your rug.
• Wireless surveillance camera system
• Access live video from iOS or Android device
• Motion detection e-mail alerts, with image or short video clip (requires service plan)
• $130 for basic, 1-camera kit; $49.99/year or $4.99/month for Premier service plan
The K9 Storm Intruder
If money is not an issue for you, then you should consider equipping Spot with one of these. The Intruder, made by K9 Storm, is the ultimate pet camera. The vest has load-bearing rings for easily lifting or lowering your dog, or for attaching a parachute to it. The camera lens is extremely durable, and comes with night vision. It's also waterproof, which "enables amphibious assaults." Seriously, what more do you need?
No pricing info is available, but according to this article, US Navy SEALs paid K9 Storm $86,000 for four of these babies. Totally worth it.
• Built-in harness system
• Durable, strike-resistant camera lens
• Night vision
• $86,000 for four, so… ~$21,500? Plus tax?
[Hero image: Flickr user "musespeak"]