Cops Can't Force You to Unlock an iPhone via Face ID, Touch ID

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A U.S. federal judge has ruled that law enforcement can’t force you to unlock an iPhone or iPad via Face ID or Touch ID.

In the United States, a suspect’s property has the potential to be searched by law enforcement officials as part of an investigation, but some items are typically left alone. While people are protected from having to unlock their devices via a passcode, biometric security has been considered fair game for use by investigators, bypassing the passcode rules.

This will certainly set a precedent for the future. Although it doesn’t completely stop the investigation, it does give people a bit more freedom.

Arduino Hacker eBook Bundle: $19.99

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The Make Arduino Hacker Ebook Bundle

We have a big  bundle of ebooks for you on Arduino today from The Make called the Arduino Hacker eBook Bundle. With 15 different titles in the bundle, topics range from getting started to project-specific books, to more advanced topics, too. You can see the full list (with descriptions) in the deal listing. This bundle is $19.99 through our deal.

How to Prepare Your Digital Life for When you Die

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Whitson Gordon wrote a helpful guide on how to prepare your digital for your death. Although no one wants to think about their mortality, it’s an extremely helpful guide.

It’s impressive to me how many times people don’t recognize the extent of digital assets that they own, says Mark Parthemer, Managing Director and Senior Fiduciary Counsel at Bessemer Trust. With many clients, they’re concerned about financial things, but they need to protect the sentimental assets too, like photographs.

I didn’t know Whitson wrote for Popular Science, but good for him because he’s perfect for that site. Anyway, getting your digital life in order is a must. Many people write out wills but often forget about things like social media accounts.

Alexa - Stop Listening To Me

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Alexa Calling uses your Echo or Alexa app for voice calls

As ever more people buy smart speaker devices likes the Amazon Echo, the privacy concerns around such devices increase too. I’ve always been somewhat wary of them. Not that I’d be discussing much of any interest, but the idea of a device sitting in my home listening out attentively for a keyword, rather freaked me out. For Tom Hoggins, those concerns got too much. He explains in the Telegraph why he unplugged his Amazon Echo Dot.

I am not usually one for tin-hat conspiracies, but with the examples mounting and the increased scrutiny on companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook (among many others) for excessive data gathering, I did start to eye Alexa with some suspicion. It then showed an increased propensity for piping up over the dinner table, playing music without being asked or blurting out random facts when the ‘Alexa’ wake word had not been uttered in earnest. By that point, it was time for Alexa to go unplugged.

Blackmagic eGPU Pro Available This Week

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The Blackmagic eGPU Pro will be available this week for delivery and in-store pickup, a month after it became available to order.

Delivery of the Apple Store-exclusive Blackmagic eGPU Pro is scheduled for as early as Tuesday, January 15th. In-store pickup is also available for most regions, and we’re seeing Wednesday availability for that.

Like its predecessor, the $1199 Blackmagic eGPU Pro is aimed at customers looking for a set-it-and-forget-it solution, and don’t mind paying a large premium for the privilege.

U.S. Businessman still Missing Despite Payment of Large Bitcoin Ransom

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Bitcoin Logo on physical gold coin

An American businessman who was kidnapped in Costa Rica remains missing, despite the payment of an approximately $950,000 ransom in Bitcoin. William Sean Creighton Kopko, who owns an online gambling platform, was taken in September. Three suspects were arrested in Zaragoza, Spain in November 2018, The Next Web reported. In total, 12 people suspected of involvement in the kidnapping have been arrested by police in Spain and Costa Rica.

After Kopko’s family paid the Bitcoin ransom, the kidnappers stopped communicating with them, went dark, and fled to Cuba. In early November 2018 three suspects returned to Spain which alerted the authorities. The three suspects were later arrested in Zaragoza, Spain after renting an apartment in the city.

VSCO X January 2019: Kodak Portra 400NC

· · Cool Stuff Found

VSCO X is a membership program for the photography app VSCO. It’s a yearly subscription that offers members exclusive film emulation presets. Members also have access to the entire library of 130+ presets. The membership costs US$19.99/year.

Now available exclusively for VSCO members, Kodak Portra 400NC was originally released in 1998 and became a favorite amongst portrait and fashion photographers. With its natural tones and low contrast, KP5 allows the styles that surround you to stand out.

The Mac Observer has a full list of Film X presets that are updated every month.

VSCO X January 2019: Kodak Portra 400NC

'Tidying up With Marie Kondo' - the New Best Thing on Netflix

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A Netflix show about tidying up might not be an obvious hit, and yet, I’m hooked. So are millions of others. Marie Kondo, the author of a bestselling book on tidying, travels around America with the intention of “sparking joy” through cleaning up. In each episode, Ms. Kondo helped restore order in people’s lives and reignited family relationships through her KonMari method. Seriously. If readers are anything like me, you will have cupboards filled with old devices, cables, and boxes, along with everything else. This show gives great tips on how to sort it all, and, more importantly, explains why you should.

A CES 2014 Flashback: The Folly of Curved TV Screens

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Curved TV display

At one time, five years ago, curved TV screens were all the rage. Every TV manufacturer jumped on the bandwagon, fearful of being left out. Today, we know it was a fad. A folly. A technical dead end. Recently, ars technica took us back in time, via Twitter, to their prescient analysis. After a good technical roundup, “The flat-out truth on curved TVs” ars concluded:

The mishmash of arguments for a curved TV isn’t necessarily an indictment of the value of curved TV. This would not be the first time that manufacturers obscured the technical or scientific reasons for a decision because they think it’s too hard to explain to consumers. It may be easier to latch onto words like “immersive” and “theatrical” and hope no one asks the hard questions.

But, it would also not be the first time that manufacturers assigned value to some spec based on the idea that it qualitatively improved a viewing experience in some way, only for consumers to find the end result is underwhelming and, more importantly, not worth paying for.

CES - JBL's Flip 5 Adds USB-C Charging, Increased Sound Output, Larger Battery

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JBL unveiled the Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker at CES this week, with some notable enhancements over the Flip 4. The most visually-obvious thing they’ve done is moved to a waterproof USB-C connector for charging, eschewing the rubber cover that protected its predecessor’s micro-USB port. This means the Flip 5 is fully submergible without having to first check to ensure the waterproof charge cover is in place. Additionally, JBL has remodeled the acoustic design, now using a racetrack-shaped driver that should increase the speaker’s bass response. Battery life is also increased to a full 12-hours of playtime. The JBL Flip 5 will be available this spring for US$99.95.

CES – JBL’s Flip 5 Adds USB-C Charging, Increased Sound Output, Larger Battery