Brooklyn-based artist Kyle McDonald finds himself in hot water after secretly photographing Apple Store customers while they shopping for computers. “I thought maybe we could see ourselves doing this we would think more about our computers and how we’re using them,” McDonald told Mashable. Without the staff’s knowledge, the 25-year-old installed software on computers at two Apple Store locations in New York that used their integrated webcams to capture photos every 60 seconds. The software then automatically sent the photos to McDonald. The electronic artist published his project on his site and a dedicated Tumblr blog, and eyebrows were raised soon after. Mashable reports that McDonald was soon approached by the U.S. Secret Service, and his personal computers have been confiscated as part of the investigation into alleged computer fraud. McDonald says he did get Apple Store security guards’ permission to take photos in the stores, and he also asked permission while photographing patrons — with his handheld camera. McDonald makes no mention of gaining Apple’s permission to install software on display computers that secretly snaps photos and sends them to McDonald behind the scenes. A video of McDonald’s project can be viewed below. More →
Apple’s FaceTime video chat service for Mac exited beta on Thursday to coincide with the release of the company’s refreshed MacBook Pro line. It also comes bearing a new price tag: 99¢. FaceTime is Apple’s branded video calling service that allows Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and soon, iPad users to make video calls for free over land-based Internet connections. The service is free to use and the associated app is free on Apple’s iOS-powered devices, but now it carries a small, one-time fee on existing Mac computers. The app is free and pre-installed on Apple’s new MacBook Pro models, however. More →
DigiTimes is hit or miss and while we’re inclined to think there are some misses in its latest report on Apple’s upcoming iPad 2, there are also some hits — or safe bets, at least. Citing an unconfirmed report in a Chinese newspaper, DigiTimes lists five key new features that Apple’s upcoming iPad sequel will supposedly tout:
•Front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat
•A thinner glass panel for a lighter build
•A USB port
•A 3-axis gyroscope
Aside from the USB port, the paper’s claims sound reasonable. We’re not saying it’s impossible that Apple would add a standard USB port to the iPad, but we definitely give it a likelihood rating of 1 on a scale to 10 for the time being. More →
And the tablets keep on coming. In addition to Dell, HP, and a plethora of smaller manufacturers, ASUS confirmed it too will be jumping on the tablet bandwagon. Not surprisingly, the tablet will be known as the Eee Pad and will be powered by Android. Key features of the Eee Pad include a webcam, Adobe Flash support and USB connectivity. Hoping to sell 350,000 units by the end of 2010, ASUS expects the Eee Pad will cannibalize sales of its popular Eee PC netbook line by approximately 10-20%. Look for the Eee Pad to get official this June at Computex 2010 retail for NT$15,000-16,000 (US$479-510) when it launches in Q3 of 2010. Any tablet freaks turned off by the mass-consumerism of the iPad interested in this Android offering? More →
The good folks at Best Buy hit us up and since it’s the holiday season and all, BGR is giving away an ASUS Eee PC netbook. That’s right, all you have to do to win is enter below, we’ll randomly select a winner, and the BGR team will ship it right out to you. You can even choose what color you’d like. Here are the exact specifications on the model we’re giving away followed by the giveaway rules:
- ASUS Eee PC 1005HAGB
- 10.1″ WXGA LED backlit screen
- 1.5GHz Intel Atom CPU
- 1GB RAM
- 150GB hard drive
- Wireless b,g,n
All you have to do to enter is simply drop a comment below and that’s it!
- To enter, you must be over the age of 18 and reside in the U.S.
- Leave a comment below letting us know why you think you deserve to win –and we’ll randomly pick a winner — hey, you never know!
- The contest will run for one week.
- The winner will be picked at random.
- Official rules are located here. Good luck!
Earlier this morning, Samsung made an announcement that will hopefully soon lead to some major improvements as far as notebook-integrated webcams are concerned. The South Korean electronics giant has developed a 1/4-inch CMOS sensor that is capable of producing high-quality 30 frames-per-second video at 720p and it small enough to fit in just about any bezel surrounding a laptop display. Woh. The new S5K4AW imager is a major step towards a more usable notebook webcam experience compared to the choppy, low-quality caming most are forced to endure today. This new sensor also supposedly provides much better low-light video than current sensors by more than doubling the cam’s binning performance (dark pixels are grouped and compressed while brighter pixels are enhanced). Various Samsung partners are already sampling the new S5K4AW sensor and the company is aiming at production in the first half of 2009.
Yeah, yeah, we’re a little late on this one, but what can we say? We’re in love. For anyone that gets a kick out of remote viewing, this little thing is bound to mess up your head. You probably know all about it by now, but it’s a fully mobile 3-wheeled robot that houses a webcam, speaker, mic, and more. It effectively let’s you roam to any part of your office or home while streaming the video for your live, anywhere you are. Want to check up on that shady maid you found on Craigslist? Maybe you want to make sure the Time Warner guys aren’t playing Madden ’09 in your TV room but actually working. Either way, this thing lets you be there when you’re not, and that’s pretty damn cool.
The packaging is a standard affair with the actual unit, battery, A/C adapter, USB cable, software CD, and charging base all included. Rovio is decently heavy and at first handle, it looks to be extremely well manufactured. Setup is dead simple, too. If you’re on a PC, just insert the setup CD and it will run through the configuration options. If you’re on a Mac, you can simply set it up by accessing the robot through a web interface. When controlling it remotely, you’ve got a lot of options including creating a path for the robot to follow, snapping pictures, recording movies, talking and listening to the surroundings, and even sending that little bugger back to its charging base. We’re happy to report that browser compatibility is not an issue here. On Internet Explorer you get the most options when remote viewing, but you can also work it reasonably well over an iPod Touch or iPhone. The BlackBerry Bold did not perform well in that regards. Make sure you show our unboxing photos to your girlfriends/wives so they don’t order you the wrong gift this Christmas Kwanzaa Hanukkah holiday.