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by dgstorm at Dec 18, 2014
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The idea of having cybernetic limbs sounds exciting when you watch TV shows like the Bionic Man or play video games like Deus Ex, but the reality is that there are thousands of people in the real world who have lost their limbs and struggle with some of the basic life functions that we take for granted. The real promise of mind-controlled artificial limbs is the ability of technology to offer people in this situation improved lives.

Our newest off topic news story for today reveals just how far along we have come with this technology. the above video is the "first bilateral shoulder-level amputee" to wear two MPLs at the same time. MPL stands for Modular Prosthetic Limbs, and what distinguishes this from other situations is that these MPLs are only controlled by his mind using wireless technology.

The man in the video with the cyber-limbs is Les Baugh, who lost his arms over 40 years ago. His technology was different than previous attempts. Instead of using implants, Baugh underwent a a procedure called targeted muscle reinnervation. This procedure reassigned the nerves that once controlled his arms and hands. The next step was that the researchers recorded the patterns his brain makes for each muscle movement. They were actually able to help him adapt and test these movements with virtual limbs on a nearby computer. This helped him "train" for the real thing once they fitted the physical limbs.

One of the researchers...
by dgstorm at Dec 18, 2014
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There's a new phone in India called the Yureka, with the PR description of "The Zeus of Phones." It's the brainchild of a tema-up between CyanogenMod and Yu (the Micromax sub-company). While this new device looks like a remarkable entry in that marketing sector, it's really just a sheep in wolf's clothing.

All Micromax did was slap their Yu logo on their CoolPad F2 device, add CyanogenMod's UI overlay, and call it a day. The hardware is identical down to the physical design and aesthetics. Here's the hardware specs below:
  • 5.5-inch 720p display
  • 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615 64-bit
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage, microSD slot up to 32GB
  • 13 megapixel Sony Exmor sensor
  • 2,500mAh battery
  • CyanogenMod 11 w/ Android 4.4.4 KitKat (5.0 promised down the line)
Despite that, it's actually worthy of your attention because its internal hardware is very good for the price of Rs. 8,999 (or about $142USD). The phone is an Amazon India exclusive at first.

Source: Yureka Electronics
by dgstorm at Dec 18, 2014
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Even though Google just cranked out the 5.0.1 version of Android Lollipop within a week or two of the operating system's first launch, that doesn't mean they are resting on their laurels. According to the latest leaked intel, the next big update for Android is not only planned, it's already in the works and will likely launch sometime in the first quarter of 2015. In fact, reports indicate that the plan is to launch it by the end of February.

Here's the full changelog according to the leaked intel:
  • Silent mode added after missing on Android 5.0
  • General improvements in system stability
  • Improved RAM management
  • Fixes for sudden app closures
  • Improved battery management
  • Excessive consumption of network devices when used Wi-Fi fixed
  • Issues with wireless connections fixed
  • Problems with Okay Google function solved
  • Notifications problems solved
  • Some sound problems experience by certain devices fixed
  • Other improvements and changes
  • Changes in the Material Design color palette (after users complaints, possibly for a higher version though)
As you can see, this is more than just a "maintenance" update with a few bug fixes. Not only does it eliminate several flaws which have cropped up, it also adds a few new features as well. We'll keep you posted if anything more corroborative comes forward.

Source: AndroidPit
by dgstorm at Dec 18, 2014
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That's a holiday deal worth getting behind! The 2nd generation Moto X is available for only $49.99 on Verizon right now. What makes this deal even juicier is that you can actually customize this one to your heart's content on Motorola's website. Previously it was $100 on contract, so this is basically half off the contract price.

The only negative is that this deal only applies to the base model 16GB version of the phone. If you want to get the 32GB version it will cost $125 on contract, which is still a good deal if you are ready for a new contract. Here's a link below to check out this offer which ends December 31st.

Source: My Moto X design
by DroidModderX at Dec 17, 2014
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Since the release of the Galaxy S5 there has been a petition to allow S5 users to unlock their bootloader at will. The idea behind this is, "The device is ours so we should be able to do with it what we like. If you are worried that we will mess up our very own device then void our warranty once we make the decision to unlock our bootloader." This has been the mantra of Verizon device users for the past several years. OEMs have overwhelming responded by releasing "developer edition" devices and otherwise have NEVER released a method for unlocking the bootloader on a consumer edition device. Pretty much every device since the Motorola Droid X has had a petition and as stated none have seen an official bootloader unlock.

Do these types of petitions make a difference? I don't know ask the RAZR HD users who ended up with an unofficial bootloader unlocking method at the hands of developer Dan Rosenburg aka "DjrBliss". Either way these petitions give consumers an outlet to vent and let their voices be heard whether they make a difference or not. They also serve as an interest gauge to would be Bootloader unlock developers. Head to the link below to sign the petition if you so desire.

via XDA
by DroidModderX at Dec 17, 2014
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Can't make it home for Christmas this year? No worries let Christmas come straight to you. The new Christmas Gyro 3D Wallpaper brings a Parallax Christmas scene to your android home screen. The scene features an HD Christmas tree. You can add decorations at will including a candle, snow, presents, an Android figure, and a decorative Christmas ball. The Parallax affect takes place when your rotate your screen. It gives you the feeling of depth like you are looking into a box, think Nintendo 3Ds. This is one of the coolest live wallpapers i've seen in a while.

Via Play Store
by DroidModderX at Dec 17, 2014
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Some of you are reporting that Verizon is rolling out an update to your Galaxy S5s. This update will bring your device up to Software version KTU84P.G900VVRU1ANK2. Don't get too excited yet this is still Android 4.4.4 not Lollipop 5.0. This appears to be a minor bug fixer. The fixes included in this update are fixed VPN connectivity issues, fixed an issue where some users saw a memory card error "Blank SD card unsupported file", and replaced ISIS mobile wallet with Softcard. If you like to have a rooted device you will want to skip this update for now as you will loose root, and there is currently no root method. It would seem as though you should be able to flash the NCG kernel, root with towelroot, and then flash the NK2 kernel, but no one has posted the NK2 kernel yet. To update if you wish head to about phone, then check for updates.

by DroidModderX at Dec 17, 2014
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While the Nexus 6 has been a huge success there are several of you who have told me you won't be purchasing the device because of the enormous size. Many of you are still loving your Nexus 5 however you may want to grab one of the coolest features from the Nexus 6. The Ambient Display Notifications feature sends notifications to your screen. The notifications come straight to your lockscreen and appear as a black and white screen conserving precious battery. Normally you would consume a bit of extra battery by turning on your screen after seeing an LED notification. With Ambient Display Notifications you don't even have to pick up your phone to see what is going on.

You can have this same feature on your Nexus 5. You will need a rooted N5 with custom recovery installed. If your device is ready to go you will need to download the mod from the link below and flash the zip file in custom recovery. Once the mod is finished flashing boot back into Android and you will see the ambient display option in your Display settings.

Via PhoneArena
by dgstorm at Dec 17, 2014
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Here's another "outside the box" poll to get your brain-box gears turning. Last week we wanted to see which Android smartphones of next year (2015) you thought would be the best. Today's poll asks the opposite question and in reverse too.

Which Android mobile devices, software or topics of 2014 were the biggest flops of the year? We have included several choices, but we know we can't cover the whole gamut of possibilities, so we will cap the options off with the ubiquitous "Other." If you choose "other" as your flop of choice, be sure to sound off in the thread and let us know which mobile tech related topic was the most disappointing to you.

Also, even if you do vote for one of the pre-chosen possibilities, feel free to chime in and let us know why it was the biggest flop of the year. Here's the poll:

What do you think was Android's Biggest Flop of 2014? (in no particular order)
  • The Amazon Fire Phone
  • The OnePlus One's limited availability
  • The Nokia X Android Phone series
  • The Android One from Motorola
  • The limited availability of the Google Nexus 6
  • The larger 6-inch size of the Google Nexus 6
  • No big improvements in battery life technology for mobile devices
  • My OG 2012 Nexus 7 runs like crap now
  • Other (stuff we might have missed)
Thanks for participating and we look forward to seeing your choices!
by dgstorm at Dec 17, 2014
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Google is taking security for Gmail to a new level. They recently updated the up with the capability to block third party add-ons that have the capability of snooping in your emails. They did this by implementing something called Content Security Policy, which stops web extensions from running code that has the potential to bypass security.

It's possible that some useful third-party add-ons will be disabled by this upgrade, but either they are legit and will get an update which restores limited functionality, or they were probably something you don't want to begin with. Here's the full quote below from Google's developer blog:

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