Author Archives: Chris Davies

Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear and Android Community. Based in San Francisco, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

Plane hacker admitted in-flight engine takeover says FBI

Plane hacker admitted in-flight engine takeover says FBI

While we were all busy arguing whether our cellphones could affect planes, one security researcher was busily hacking into aircraft and potentially gaining access to engine control. An ill-advised tweet got infosec specialist Chris Roberts barred from a United flight last month, after he joked about tinkering with aircraft systems like passenger emergency oxygen control. Turns out, so documentation submitted by the FBI reveals, Roberts' abilities were even greater, to the point of momentarily controlling engine thrust.

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LG Watch Urbane Review – All that glitters isn’t gold

LG Watch Urbane Review – All that glitters isn’t gold

You can understand why Android enthusiasts might be resentful of the Apple Watch. Android Wear has been around long enough for manufacturers like LG to release several generations of smartwatch, but listen to some and you’d be excused for thinking Cupertino had invented the segment. Into the fray wades the LG Watch Urbane, promising genteel luxury instead of geek chic, and first to offer the very latest version of Android Wear itself, complete with a number of hotly-anticipated updates. $349 is a lot to ask for an Android smartwatch, though: is the Urbane worth it?

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No free Windows 10 lunch for PC pirates

No free Windows 10 lunch for PC pirates

Microsoft's appetite to get Windows 10 on as many PCs as possible may have seen it extend an olive branch to those running stolen software, but it won't be a free lunch. The software giant surprised many earlier this year with its promise of a complimentary update in the first year; now, tackling the thorny issue of whether those running "non-genuine" prior versions of Windows will also get the free 10 upgrade, Microsoft's Terry Myerson has confirmed that it won't be so simple.

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The simple Smart Home: Where to start

The simple Smart Home: Where to start

Controlling lights, appliances, and keeping an eye on home security has never been easier, but as smart home technology proliferates, picking the best place to start can be tough. I’ve been upgrading my apartment for the past few years, now, and I know that the first step needn’t be too risky, however. Since home automation can be intimidating, I’m going to focus on products that require the minimum of installation effort. I’m a big fan of non-permanent options: it makes a lot of sense if you’re renting, but it also gives you flexibility to change things up as you get used to your newly-smart home.

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Acura recalls cars after auto-brakes get distracted

Acura recalls cars after auto-brakes get distracted

A glitch in its semi-autonomous driving system is forcing Acura to recall almost 20k cars, because over-zealous safety systems might unexpectedly slam on the brakes. The luxury arm of Honda is promising drivers of the 2014-2015 MDX sedan and RLX SUV a software update that will make the optional Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) a little less zealous, after finding that it could be confused by certain types of road furniture.

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Amazon Echo is finally becoming your shopping assistant

Amazon Echo is finally becoming your shopping assistant

Back when Amazon launched its Echo, a digital personal assistant squeezed inside a cylindrical speaker, the obvious question was "why can't I shop?" Now, roughly six months into its slowly-staged roll out, Echo is finally getting the ability to do voice-controlled shopping, with a new firmware update pushed out today adding support for re-ordering items you've previously purchased, all using nothing more than spoken commands.

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Qualcomm’s wireless music tweak needs to be in all speakers

Qualcomm’s wireless music tweak needs to be in all speakers

Wireless speakers have traditionally fallen into one of two camps, either Bluetooth or WiFi, but Qualcomm is aiming to harmonize the two. The newest version of Qualcomm AllPlay now supports Bluetooth to WiFi re-streaming, allowing music piped from a smartphone or tablet to a Bluetooth speaker to them be funneled to further WiFi-connected speakers, with all zones fully synchronized.

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Qualcomm wants your IoT coffee pot to run apps, too

Qualcomm wants your IoT coffee pot to run apps, too

Qualcomm has ambitions for the Internet of Things beyond just wiring up your fridge to the web, launching a set of chipsets that will not only provide connectivity but app support to appliances. The two new embeddable boards target everything from coffee pots and rice cookers through toasters, fridges, and washer-dryers, not to mention integrating the IoT - or the "Internet of Everything" as Qualcomm prefers to describe it - with home hubs and routers. Meanwhile, there are moves to smooth the IoT setup experience, too.

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Google Fit adds Android Wear face plus deeper data

Google Fit adds Android Wear face plus deeper data

Google Fit, Google's exercise tracking platform for Android and Android Wear, is getting cleverer, adding tools to better monitor health progress both day to day and over longer periods. Launched in October last year, Google Fit is now able to figure out exactly how far you've walked, jogged, or run each day. Meanwhile, if you're willing to fill Google in on some demographic data, it can also figure out how many calories you've burned in the process.

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I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I told my grandmother about Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving F 015 concept the other week, and she was horrified. “However could you trust it to drive you safely?” she wanted to know, perhaps thinking of how her DVR regularly and unpredictably dumps her favorite recordings and extrapolating that to a crazed silvery space-pod crashing and taking her grandson with it. In fact, I told her, I trust autonomous vehicles far more than I do my fellow human drivers, and recent news of self-driving car crashes in California has done nothing to change that.

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