China already testing drone delivery

Since the demo of Amazon Prime Air, the debate about drone delivery has been raging in the US. Meanwhile, China is already testing parcel delivery using drones.

Legalisation would merely be a formality since businesses in China are already allowed to use drones as long as they apply for approval to do so.

VSCO Cam finally comes to Android

Visual Supply Co (VSCO) has announced that its smartphone camera app VSCO Cam is coming to Android.

Finally. VSCO Cam is my favourite app for editing my iPhone photos. Android photographers will be delighted to finally be able to add this awesome app to their arsenal.

Users will also be able to access VSCO Grid, an online gallery for users to showcase their works.

FaceCrypt uses facial recognition to encrypt your data

PetaPixel writes about FaceCrypt, an iOS app that locks your encrypted data using a selfie.

Instead of using your standard password, all of your info — be it passwords, photos, credit card numbers, passport data or that note reminding you where you hid the kids Christmas presents — is locked inside of a vault that can only be opened using biometric face recognition and a selfie… although we suggest you keep a straight face since duck lips might throw the system off.

What if someone tries to bypass the system using a picture of you?

To keep things even safer, individual ‘drawers’ in the vault can be locked with additional security measures; and the app can be set to prompt the user to blink so that someone with a picture of you can’t access the app by holding up your mug shot.

Find My Mac helped track down two murder suspects

Detroit Free Press reports that the Find My Mac app on a stolen MacBook helped police track down two murder suspects.

It had been more than two months since a popular University of Michigan medical student was shot to death, and police seemingly had few leads.

But on Oct. 3 — 45 miles from where student Paul DeWolf was killed in his Ann Arbor fraternity — a man in Detroit attempted to log onto a computer he’d just purchased through Craigslist. The man didn’t know it, but the Mac laptop had been stolen from DeWolf’s next-door neighbor around the time he was killed.

That computer had an app that would lead police directly to it, and to the two suspects now charged in DeWolf’s killing.

Android users buy 40% of Black Friday iPads

InfoScout reports that 40% of the iPads sold on Black Friday were purchased by Android users.

The analytics company also reports that the iPads are dominating the Black Friday sales in Walmart and in Target.

The importance of teaching coding at a younger age

Jathan Sadowski writes on WIRED.com about how pushing people to code will widen the divide between the rich and poor.

For instance, the burden of adding coding to curricula ignores the fact that the English literacy rate in America is still abysmal: 45 million U.S. adults are “functionally illiterate” and “read below a 5th grade level,” according to data gathered by the Literacy Project Foundation. Almost half of all Americans read “so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels.” The reading proficiency of Americans is much lower than most other developed countries, and it’s declining.

I don’t agree with Sadowski about how literacy and the ability to code should be lumped together when considering the school curriculum. Just because a person is illiterate doesn’t mean that they are precluded from learning programming.

Teaching children how to code will instil in them problem-solving skills and logical thinking. More importantly, it will eventually become essential for our children to be able to read and write code. Software is changing the world. Technology has become an integral part of our lives. We need to be able to understand how technology works.

LINE Shopping launched in Malaysia and Indonesia

We brought your attention to LINE recently, notably when the popular Asian messaging system hit the 300 million user milestone. The company isn’t intent on resting on its laurels, and has just launched LINE Shopping in Malaysia today. The launch of LINE Shopping in Indonesia at the end of November was quite successful, collecting about 900,000 subscribers within a week. You can bet that Naver (the company behind LINE) is looking to repeat that feat or improve upon it.

LINE is already well known for its adorable and expressive stickers, and offering a free sticker set as an incentive to get folks to subscribe will definitely drive subscription numbers.

The next step will be to see how well LINE harnesses its subscriber base to promote wares from its retail partners, including Groupon, Lazada, Zalora, Rakuten, Superbuy, H&M and more. With messaging platforms being highly personal, if LINE manages to continue its growth trajectory and strengthen partnerships, it’ll be able to have an edge against competitors in Asia such as WeChat and Kakao Talk.

LINE Shopping launched for e-commerce business in Indonesia and Malaysia

Android’s list of blocked words

WIRED.com reports that Android’s Google Keyboard is not correcting certain words.

The banned directory includes “butt” and “geek,” all seven of George Carlin’s dirty words, a frat party’s worth of homophobia and misogyny, and is peppered with pornographic sub genres and fetishistically obscure medical terms, like “gonadatrophia” and “irrumination.” Genitalia is banned (with special attention paid to women’s bodies) as well as a mystifying selection of words that aren’t generally considered offensive, like “thud” and “LSAT.”

Taken as a whole, Google’s list suggests not only a surprising discomfort with sexuality, but also reproductive health and undergarments. Words like “panty,” “braless,” “Tampax,” “lactation,” and “preggers” are censored along with sexual health vocabulary like “uterus” and “STI.”

“I try to Swype-type the word ‘condom’ and I get ‘condition’ or ‘confusion,’” said Jillian York, a spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “There is no context in which that makes any sense. Grow up, Android.”

It is fun to text my Android-using friends, especially when they are too drunk or tired to check their typos. This is going to take some fun out of it unless they disable the filter.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 now available in gold and red

Android Central reports that Samsung has announced three new colours for its Galaxy Note 3.

Its black and white models now comes with rose gold versions that has gold instead of silver accents. It also unveiled a merlot red version.

HTC launched a gold version of its HTC One after producing a limited edition in real gold. After launching a limited edition gold Galaxy S4, Samsung is bringing gold to the mass market with the gold Galaxy Note 3.

I think we are way past the debate on whether a gold phone appeals to the public. The gold iPhone 5s has silenced the critics.

Samsung doesn’t seem to understand that a gold plastic phone feels completely different from a gold aluminium phone.

Jolla phone, the Nokia that could have been

Vlad Savov writes on The Verge about his experience with the Jolla phone.

All the effort of adapting to Jolla might be worth it if the device offered some unique advantage over others on the smartphone market, but it doesn’t. The only standout quality it has is the goodwill of old Nokia loyalists and those who like to support grassroots projects. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a very good smartphone here, and that’s what you need if you intend to compete with behemoths like Google, whose Nexus 5 is a startlingly good value at 70 euros less.

The Jolla’s strength is in having a lighter software stack — underpinned by the Qt framework, which provides the basis both for its native apps and its UI — than Android while still being compatible with Android apps. Alas, not being an actual Android device, it lacks access to the Google Play Store, so you’re left to fend for yourself with the limited Yandex and Jolla app stores and the downloadable Amazon Appstore. You can sideload app APKs if you wish, but that’d require that you understand what the process involves and where to find the requisite software. It’s rough going.

The product is still rough on the edges, but it has a passionate team working on it. There is potential for Jolla to become a good alternative to Apple and Android smartphones. But at the moment, most consumers would probably go for similarly priced phones that has better features. I can’t see people going for this phone unless they want to support the Jolla team.