This battery cube is a must-have for charging your Apple Watch on the go


I like stupid-simple gadgets. Why? Because they’re designed to do one thing great instead of a dozen things adequately. 

The Zens Apple Watch Power Bank is just the dead-simple gadget that I’ve been looking for.

I’ve been wearing my Apple Watch for over a year now, and while it’s slow as molasses for anything but notifications (thankfully, a speed fix via watchOS 3 is on its way) I like it enough that I almost never wear my regular watches anymore.

What I don’t like is charging it. No, not charging it magnetically with its included MagSafe puck, but on the go. Read more…

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Remember the laptop-destroying 'USB Killer?' Now you can buy one


In Oct. 2015, we wrote about USB Killer — a seemingly innocuous USB stick that fries nearly any device it’s inserted into with a bolt of electricity. 

Back then, it was a proof of concept, interesting mostly to security researchers and folks who work on USB standards. Now, however, the USB killer has become a gadget anyone can buy. 

According to USB Killer’s webpage, it’s a “testing device” which should be a part of every security auditor and hardware designer’s arsenal. The company is also selling the USB Test Shield, a gadget that purportedly lets you safely test a device’s resistance to USB Killer’s high voltage attack. Read more…

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This Indian bank is getting a robot to greet customers


An Indian bank is planning to get a robot to greet its walk-in customers. Call it giving your service, um, a robotic touch.

The robot, which is being piloted by India’s second largest private bank by assets, HDFC Bank, will assist customers with common tasks like withdrawing or transferring money or just finding the relevant department to get their task done. The robot is reportedly a part of the bank’s “Project AI” program. 

The unnamed humanoid will come equipped with a touchscreen display which customers could use to input their query. The bank will soon beta test the robot at one of its Mumbai branchesMashable India can independently confirm the claims

The project is reminiscent of Softbank-owned Pepper humanoid robot, which is capable of reading human emotions, and the Nao robot that Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi had introduced last year. The $8,000 Nao, however, offers more sophisticated services. It speaks Japanese, English, and Chinese and also helps customers who are seeking help with opening a bank account or filing a complaint after losing their card Read more…

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This speech recognition software is much faster than human typists


Speech recognition software used to be awful. It couldn’t deal with background noise, its vocabulary was limited and it was awkward to use in public. 

But we’ve come a long way. A new speech recognition system can transcribe English or Mandarin about three times faster than humans can type on a smartphone, according to a recent study. Developers from the popular Chinese search engine Baidu created the program back in December. It’s called Deep Speech 2, and it uses machine learning to vastly improve speech recognition. 

The study, a collaboration between Stanford University, Baidu and the University of Washington, also found that the system produced 20.4 percent fewer errors than people typing in English and 63.8 percent fewer than people working in Mandarin.  Read more…

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Fitbit's new fitness trackers are all about personalization


***MON 8/29 9AM ET***

Fitbit is updating two of its most popular fitness trackers.

The new waterproof Flex 2 and heart rate-tracking Charge 2 are available now as pre-orders and will officially go on sale in the coming weeks.

With the Charge 2, Fitbit has redesigned its Charge HR with a larger display that makes the tracker look and feel more like a fitness-focused smartwatch. It has the same heart rate monitoring capabilities and smartwatch-style notifications (for incoming calls and texts) as its predecessor, but the bigger display combined with the overall slimmer band make the tracker feel a lot less clunky.  Read more…

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Opera sync system hacked, passwords of 1.7 million users reset


Opera says the sync feature on its browsers was recently hacked, and data of some of its users was compromised. As a security measure, the Norway-based software firm is forcing all sync users to reset their passwords. 

Opera’s synchronization feature allows people to work seamlessly across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. The company said that its servers were attacked recently and while it “quickly blocked” those attacks, it believes passwords and account information of some of its sync users may still have been compromised.  

The company has reset password for all the Opera sync accounts and is urging users to change the password on third-party services if they were linked to Opera sync. The feature allows people to save login information of other services across devices.  Read more…

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