When I reviewed the Blink security cam system a couple of months ago, one of the negatives I talked about was the lack of proper automation and integration in smart home systems. You could either manually arm/disarm the system, set a schedule, or ask Alexa to control it. There was no automatic option based on geofence, no way to consider irregularities, and no way to trigger things to happen based on detected motion or recorded events. One way to solve that issue is by adding an IFTTT channel and that's exactly what Blink has done.
There aren't lots of options available in Blink's IFTTT channel, but there's enough to open up plenty of integrations with different smart home devices. Read More
Blink, the company that makes affordable and portable home security cameras (see my full review), has been on a bit of a roll over the past few months. First, it added Alexa support to arm and disarm the system and inquire about the latest recorded videos, then it announced an outdoor camera, the Blink XT, with weather-proofing, 1080p video, and an IR night vision sensor. Now it's releasing a whole host of upgrades and gear to complement its system.
To begin, Blink's Sync Module, the one that connects to your WiFi and serves as the central hub for all the small wireless cameras, has an upgraded version with 4G Cellular support and battery backup so your system remains up and accessible even when WiFi is down and there's no power. Read More
Blink has an interesting proposition as a connected security system: one sync module that plugs into MicroUSB for power but connects to your network over WiFi, and 1 to 10 completely wireless cameras that you can place anywhere without worrying about power or connection cables. They only get triggered by motion and record short clips (max. 60sec) then go back to idling. When I reviewed the system last week, I found the idea promising but complained about the slow app and the missing hardware features: no weatherproofing and no night vision were big deal-breakers for me, and the 720p resolution was limited too. Read More
When I first heard about the Blink security cameras, I was immediately impressed and intrigued. Having tried both the Piper and Canary in my pharmacy, to more or less mitigated results, the Blink seemed like the perfect solution.
Piper (full review) suffers from one major flaw: the camera doesn't turn itself back on after a power failure if the back-up battery is empty (and since we have lots of blackouts here in Lebanon, I got tired of buying new batteries every two or three weeks). It also doesn't have a native scheduled arm/disarm feature; I really shouldn't have to manually arm and disarm my cameras when a simple time-based schedule is easy to implement. Read More
You don't understand the feeling of violation that a theft causes until you open the door to your home and see everything moved, turned, tossed, and the muddy footprints of a stranger everywhere on your floor, your kitchen cabinets open, and even your bedspread removed and balled up in the garden. That happened to my family's mountain house many, many years ago, and I still remember the feeling of disgust over the scene as well as helplessness with all the police procedures that followed. The perpetrators were never caught, just like any minor theft that occurs in Lebanon — they only took small appliances — and we ended up installing gates and locks on all the windows and doors. Read More
I'm sure many of you, like myself, use Google Chrome as your main browser. Chrome was built from scratch, with the exception of its engine (which was WebKit at the time), to be for the modern web. The internet is no longer a series of text-only pages with images, and Chrome was built with modern web applications and security in mind.
If you don't know, a rendering engine is the part of a web browser that displays content. Chrome and Opera use Blink, Safari uses WebKit, and so on. Firefox's engine, called Gecko, has been around for ages. In fact, it was originally developed for Netscape Navigator all the way back in 1997 to replace their existing rendering engine. Read More
Not all of the changes to Android 5.0 Lollipop are meant to be seen by regular users, but that doesn't make them any less important. One of the core components of the operating system is about to break free from the shackles of firmware updates and join the Play Store and Google Play services in receiving automatic updates directly from Google. As of Android 5.0, the WebView component will be a distinct apk, allowing it to be upgraded separately from the OS. Not only will this ensure important security updates find their way to our devices, but it will also make new features and APIs available to developers of applications that rely on WebView. Read More
Now you see it, now you don't. Just like that, Blink is disappearing in the blink of an eye. Okay, not quite. Current users will gradually see the service shut down on both Android and iOS over the next few weeks, following the app's acquisition by Yahoo.
Blink was a product of Meh Labs (no, not Meth Labs), a company built by two ex-Google employees Kevin Stephens and Michelle Norgan. The app functioned similarly to Snapchat, at least in premise, by allowing users to send messages that automatically disappear. It encouraged secret, anonymous communication by not requiring users to provide their name or phone number. Read More
Google makes cool stuff. There's self-driving cars, that funky street view camera, and those experimental glasses anyone will be able to buy for one day only tomorrow, April 15th. Yet for every product that comes out, there's another in the pipeline that may or may not ever see the light of day. Last month we learned of a patent application for a pair of smart contact lenses that would process blinks as input for wearable devices. Now Patent Bolt has reported on a separate application for a micro camera component for those lenses.
The first thing that comes to mind here is the ability to take photos using just your eyes. Read More
"Smart contact lens." Get used to that term, even if it makes you cringe - a new patent from Google indicates that at least someone at Mountain View thinks it's a potentially viable idea. Patent Bolt reports on a Google application to the USPTO for "multi-sensor contact lenses," intended primarily as a method for blinking input or input augmentation for wearable devices, or just electronics in general. (Note: this shouldn't be confused with Google's other contact lenses, announced in January as a medical diagnostic device for diabetics.)
The basic idea is that a number of sensors embedded into a contact lens could be used to detect blinks with incredible accuracy. Read More