this is scary

iPhone Charger Reportedly Electrocutes Teenager to Death in Her Sleep

An iPhone 4S charger. (Photo: Thingz.net)

An 18-year-old Chinese woman was reportedly electrocuted to death after her iPhone 4S charger exploded while she was sleeping.

Her sister made the tragic discovery after she smelled plastic burning in her sister’s room, Shanghaiist reports. When she walked into the room, she found a melted iPhone next to her and several burns across her legs, hands and neck. Medical experts confirmed that she died of electrocution.  Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Demo Shows How Easily Your iPhone 4S and Android Phone Can Be Hacked

Hope you don't get cancer, CEO guy. (flickr.com/perspective)

Attendees at the EuSecWest-sponsored World Security Professional Summit in Amsterdam are participating in a contest called Mobile Pwn2Own. Contestants are, yes, basically revealing that our mobile devices can be easily pwned by someone with the know-how. Quell your bubbling phone fanboy or fangirl rage right now: it looks like both Androids and iPhones are vulnerable. The Next Web describes the Android pwnage, which was partially done, by the way, via near-field communication, or NFC: Read More

Apple in Your Eye

Los Angeles Residents Can’t Tell the Difference Between the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5

(Photo: YouTube)

Was it really only yesterday that we watched with muted glee as Apple fanboys everywhere lost their shit over a phone that is only mildly different from its now much cheaper predecessor? My, how time flies.

The iPhone 5 is slightly lighter and slightly longer than the iPhone 4s, but apparently even Apple fans can’t really discern the difference. Jimmy Kimmel brought an iPhone 4s out on the streets of Los Angeles and told everyone he encountered that it was an iPhone 5. Read More

One Phone to Rule Them All

The Most Popular Camera Used on Flickr? The iPhone.

The cops will help you find it.

Flickr just released its quarterly stats report, which reveals a few fun facts. Did you know that there are now 7.2 billion photos on Flickr, with users uploading 2,500 new photos a minute? Did you know that there are 228,207,499 Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr?

Most interesting, though, were the stats about camera choices among Flickr’s community. The most popular camera is the iPhone 4, followed by the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, followed by the iPhone 4S, followed by the Canon EOS Rebel T2I and Nikon D90.

That’s a lot of play for the iPhone 4′s 5-megapixel camera and the iPhone 4S’s 8-megapixel camera on a site that attracts a lot of professional photographers as well as amateurs who take themselves pretty seriously. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Zooey Deschanel’s Adorkable Quirkiness Now Commandeered to Sell Artificial Intelligence

Shoulders back!. (Photo: Apple)

Zooey Deschanel’s girlish wiles have been used to hawk everything from cotton to cosmetics in the past. But now Apple is employing the hipster darling to sell you on the notion of upgrading to a robotic assistant on that computer in your pocket. So what if the iPhone 4S doesn’t have 4G, did you see those lashes??

While we refuse to believe Ms. Deschanel’s apartment is anything but the paragon of DIY domesticity (she uses Siri to remind her to clean), rest of the spot goes for the obvious signifiers of the star’s retrograde appeal (i.e. Elvis and all-American comfort food). Read More

IN WHICH APPLE FIXES SOMETHING

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Siri’s Anti-Abortion Stance: ‘No Offense,’ Promises To Fix Her

It gets better. And it will.

On Tuesday, we noted that while iPhone voice-activated assistant Siri can’t help you find an abortion clinic in New York City—once called The Abortion Capital of America by New York magazine—it can help you find a gun store downtown, in a city with some of the most restrictive gun controls in the country. Apple didn’t respond to our query of why this was, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has finally spoken on the matter. Read More

WTF

Siri, The Pro-Lifer: iPhone Won’t Help Find NYC Abortion Clinic, But Will Get You Guns!

It gets better. And it will.

Megan Carpentier of Raw Story recently noted that Siri is having trouble telling users where to find abortion clinics, and not about abortion clinics in the middle of the Bible Belt, or in the frozen tundra of Alaska. We’re talking about places like New York City and Washington D.C. which, as you can imagine, might have a few of these places. We wanted to test this theory out. Maybe Siri just isn’t a fan of Megan’s? Or maybe Siri is being moody.

Know what we found? Read More

AI Phone Home

Someone Introduced Siri to Eliza: iPhone App, Meet Your Artificially Intelligent Ancestor

Eliza chatbot, flying solo

Jordan Mechner, creator of the wildly-popular Prince of Persia video game, had a rather genius idea this week.

“Since I got my iPhone 4S, I’ve been intrigued, fascinated and alarmed by Siri’s fast-growing capabilities. I thought it would make sense to introduce her to my psychotherapist, Eliza,” Mr. Mechner blogged.

AI historians know Eliza better as a computer program, written by MIT’s  Joseph Weizenbaum in the mid-60′s, that was one of the first examples of natural language processing. True obsessives would also note that Eliza failed the Turing Test, which means it isn’t actually artificially intelligent. Rather it uses pattern-recognition to processes users responses to scripts, most famously DOCTOR, which simulates a Rogerian pyschotherapist. (Guess Freud fell out of favor in the 60s?) Read More

The Tao of Steve

Siri’s Knowledge Engine, Wolfram Alpha, Was Once Pegged As a Google Killer

wolfram

Business Insider put up a post today introducing folks to Wolfram Alpha, the “mind-blowing intelligence service that powers Siri.” How quickly the kids forget!

Wolfram Alpha actually went live back in 2009, and roughly oh about 98.7 percent of the press at the time had some version of WOLFRAM ALPHA: GOOGLE KILLER WHA??!!!. That’s because Wolfram Alpha bypassed scanning keywords for natural language search.This was before Ashton Kutcher invested in Blekko, before Steve Ballmer even previewed Bing online. Read More