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Update 08/06/2023: After the startup Owl Cameras Inc. dissolved rather untidily earlier this year (see original news story below for more on that), users were stuck with expensive dash cams and no support. But there’s hope! Xirgo Technologies, the company that acquired Owl Cameras Inc.’s intellectual property, has partnered with CallPass to take over the consumer service. Existing Owl customers should have received a notification via their app or email. Read more about the rehatching of Owlcam, and stay tuned for reviews of the new product promised for later this year.
PCWorld reviews dash cams, including both the debut 2023 Owl Car Cam and the improved 2023 Owl Car Cam. Even though the camera’s $350 price was very high for its competitive set, it received largely positive reviews, and some people bought the Owl Car Cam—though, apparently, not enough people to keep the company afloat.
Things started looking alarming earlier this year when PCWorld dash cam reviewer Jon L. Jacobi began receiving emails from readers who were unable to reach Owl Cameras for support. As we began to investigate the Owl Cameras communication blackout, we found a company that looked alive on the surface, but seemed very much dead upon closer inspection.The lights are on, but…
Owl Cameras, Inc. co-founding CEO Andrew Hodge still says “we’re hiring” on LinkedIn in early March, long after the company had closed its doors.
Other signs of life could be found on LinkedIn, where the founding executive team was still listed as employed by Owl Cameras, Inc. The LinkedIn profile pages of co-founding CEO Andrew Hodge and co-founding CTO Nathan Ackerman went so far as to proclaim, “we’re hiring!”
Other signs of health: Job postings on Glassdoor looked recently refreshed, and employee reviews were generally glowing. Some reviews mentioned typical startup perks, like plentiful free snacks. But one hint of a different story came in the final Glassdoor review, dated October 31, 2023. It was a favorable review, but it ended with a foreboding sentence: “Company makes a great product but failed to raise more money.”
GlassdoorNo one is home
PCWorld visited Owl Cameras, Inc. mid-afternoon on February 19, 2023, and found dark, empty offices, devoid of people and PCs.
Most tech startups fail. From that perspective, the death of Owl Cameras is hardly a surprise, nor is the reason: As that Glassdoor review stated, it simply ran out of money. A person closely associated with Owl Cameras who wished to remain anonymous described a downward spiral that began last September with a major layoff and executive reshuffle, and concluded in January with a full shutdown of the company.
Owl Cameras, Inc. co-founding CTO Nathan Ackerman still says “we’re hiring!” on LinkedIn in early March, even though the company closed down in January.
Nonetheless, we’ve been able to piece together a chronology of troubling events. Owl Cameras’ Twitter feed went silent after August 29, 2023. A scan of the LinkedIn profiles of former Owl Cameras employees showed many of them exited around September, 2023, including founding CEO Andrew Hodge. The company filed a Statement of Information with the State of California dated October 28, 2023, listing a new CEO (Gary Clayton), and designating co-founder/CTO Nathan Ackerman as Secretary and Chief Financial Officer. Gary Clayton’s LinkedIn profile now shows he was CEO of Owl Cameras from October, 2023 to January, 2023, while Nathan Ackerman’s profile shows him as a current employee of Owl Cameras, Inc.
It appears both companies learned of Owl’s demise not from Owl itself, but rather from PCWorld when we contacted them for this story. Neither responded to our communications directly, but we noticed that the Best Buy retail page and AAA information related to Owl Car Cams disappeared soon after we contacted the companies.An answer, and a little hope
So would anyone share clear information on the fate of Owl Cameras, and where its customers can seek support? We finally got a response (albeit a vague one) from Xirgo Technologies, a company that provides IoT solutions for enterprise customers. A source within the company confirmed that Xirgo had acquired the assets and technology of Owl Cameras, Inc. The purchase occurred in early February, but has not yet been publicly announced. Our source says the company is exploring solutions for servicing existing Owl Car Cam owners. At least Xirgo seems to care a little more about these early backers than Owl Cameras did.
Jon L. Jacobi contributed to this story.
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Having said that, there are numerous
Deako is rapidly turning into a leading supplier of smart light switches, on account of delightful design, inventive engineering and costs that fall beneath their opposition. Their Bluetooth-powered smart switches make it simple for homeowners to move up to brilliant lighting, enabling clients to control any light in their home from a switch, cell phone or their voice. What’s more, the best part is that Deako’s brilliant light switches don’t require a different center point.
Calling themselves to be the Airbnb for garages, Nymea built up this framework for Marantec. Access to anything and anybody, the organization claims that it is a logical reaction to smart door locks. Anything and anybody can gain admittance to private property on a similar platform. This could access savvy vents, offer access to experts, or show information on an app for predictive maintenance.Manufacturing Robot
The manufacturing robot exhibit is a working manufacturing plant utilizing Kepware mechanical connectivity and ThingWorx Platform to screen production, outwardly distinguish part quality, foresee results, and recognize future disappointments with its potential root causes. Every individual with a stake in the task of the assembling line can see their job and activities through real-time information.
The organization offers a cloud-based IoT SaaS platforms for startups, small and medium-sized organizations, and substantial organizations to launch, oversee, convey, and adapt their IoT products and services. Jasper basically is an IoT solution for IoT organizations over various sectors and portions to quickly and cost-adequately deploy IoT so more organizations can acknowledge along these lines of working together. Applications incorporate mobile service management, billing and business automation, and bolster diagnostics and also substantially more.Data-Driven Steel
There were a few metal and safety products and services this year. This data driven steel 4.0 is an IoT product for smart monitoring of melt shop and rolling mill processes. It utilizes multivariate analysis and modeling deploying AI systems to automatically and ceaselessly analyze industrial procedures. The program at that point automatically prescribes enhancements to the procedure for proficiency and to evade undesirable impacts for engineers and chiefs.
The IoT cloud-based platform is currently being utilized by numerous brands to get associated and be nearer to their clients. This consists of integrating products and in addition business procedures and offices. The stage additionally gives an approach to share every one of the information is gathered such that a whole organization can without much of a stretch access and analyze together for more noteworthy joint effort and insights.Beluga Whale Protection
This IoT toy organization was seen on “Shark Tank” and has been developing in popularity as a way for children to talk with loved ones without giving them a mobile phone. Messages can be sent from the phone application to a talkie toy or two talkie toys can be utilized to message one another. It’s a fun and safe approach to get kids into discussions and far from their screens.
Buddy Ohm is a full observing solution that can be utilized to deal with all IoT information. It incorporates Internet of Things (IoT) class hardware, scalable information infrastructure, an operations portal, dashboards, and mobile network. Organizations can utilize this IoT gadget to get more bits of knowledge from every one of the information that is accessible through analysis in the wake of connecting a wide range of gadgets together.
People are downloading more apps, adopting new apps at a faster rate, and spending more time within apps according to data from a new report.
App Annie published a comprehensive report, which was commissioned by Facebook, looking at the evolution of the mobile app market over the past 5 years.
Growth has been tremendous, to say the least, as the average consumer now spends over one-fourth of their waking life in apps.
As the mobile app market matures and use cases increase, 2023 is shaping up to be its biggest year yet.
The market has never been more diverse, as the top 100 apps consist of many new entrants, categories, and companies.
In fact, the competition has increased so much that the top apps now make up a smaller proportion of time spent than they did 5 years ago.
In 2023, the average global user had 93 apps installed on their phone and used 41 apps per month, up from 85 and 35 respectively in 2023.
Here are some additional highlights from the report, which examines mobile app trends in the US and worldwide.2023 Mobile App Trends Growth in Time Spent
Users are downloading more apps and spending more time engaging with apps.
This indicates growth in total time spent is driven by more overall users, as well as more time spent per user per day.
In 2023, users spent 3.1 hours per day in apps on average, compared to 2.1 hours 5 years ago.New Apps Can Still Gain Traction
Data shows the mobile app market is relatively friendly to new entrants.
There are several new entrants to the list of top 100 most downloaded apps each year that were not in the list the previous year.
In 2023, 35 of the top 100 apps were new entrants, up from 27 in 2023.
App Annie recommends that companies continually invest and innovate to stay competitive and relevant in the app market.
“In the USA, a newly launched app — if it has potential — can typically find success relatively early on. Over 60% of apps are able to reach their Category Top 30 in the first 6 months.”The App Market is Diverse
The list of top 100 apps is comprised of a mix of company types and app categories.
Diversity in app categories is attributed to the fact that users are comfortable downloading and using apps in different ways than before.
“Growth across differing app categories suggest that users are continually seeking new apps for different use cases.”Users Are Spending Less Time With Top Apps
Users are spending less time with the most popular apps, and engaging more with less popular apps.
“Top 30 apps make up a smaller proportion of time spent now than they did 5 years ago, indicating that users are deepening engagement with apps outside the top apps.”
App Annie notes that this continues to be true in 2023 even after app engagement increased due to COVID-19.
For even more data on mobile app trends, see the full report here.
Bluetooth: Is It Really As Secure As We Think
Yes, it can be hacked too to get your personal information or just to tease you or whatever the reason is. Talking about Bluetooth getting hacked, let’s just know the types of Bluetooth attacks that can happen and how they work.Types Of Bluetooth Attacks
Here are some of the major Bluetooth threats that you aren’t aware of:
It is the method in which hackers can send direct messages to users device by using wireless network. With Bluejacking, it gets easy to access someones Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, laptops, printers and PDAs as well. Hackers can get into the range of frequency of Bluetooth that is roughly 10 metres and can access phones through monitoring frequency. This can be protected by making your phone not discoverable or by turning Bluetooth off.
This technique is also used for getting into system. But, difference between this and the other techniques is that it uses software bug as a backdoor to get into the system instead of wireless medium. Fortunately, only few mobile phones are vulnerable to Bluebugging.
Denial of Service (DOS):
In this type of technique, hackers use their Bluetooth device to send requests repeatedly on user’s device for pairing. With these requests, services of phone are downed. This can also be used to trouble the victim and for creating nuisance.
Read Also: 10 Ways To Keep Personal Data Safe From Online AttackersBluetooth Attack Preventions
Well, there are few precautions that you could implement to save yourself from these types of attacks.
1. Turn Off Bluetooth
This is best way to stay out of danger. There would be no possibility of tracking frequencies when Bluetooth connection is disabled as the device will not be visible to the rest of the devices. So, there will no other way for hackers to get in through it.
2. Become Undiscoverable
This is another way of staying prevented from Bluetooth hacks. If your mobile phone has active Bluetooth connection but isn’t discoverable, then there are chances that your data might stay safe. So, if your Bluetooth is discoverable, just disable it when not in use.
3. Change Bluetooth PIN Frequently
Yes, if you change your Bluetooth personal identification number (PIN) then it would be very difficult for the active actors to get into the device. So, just to stay on the safe side make sure you change Bluetooth PIN every month.
4. Bluetooth Firewall
Last but not the least, you can always use a mobile Bluetooth firewall application on your device. Bluetooth firewall apps are available on play store. These apps would make your Bluetooth untraceable and more secure.
Must Read: Mobile Security Threats You Need to KnowQuick Reaction:
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New Theatre Production Center Is Up and Running Scenery, prop, and costume shops are hives of collaboration
Peek inside the new state-of-the-art Boston University Production Center. Photos by Cydney Scott
For years, BU theater design and production students and faculty made do with facilities at the BU Theatre, where they shared studios with the Huntington Theatre Company’s professional artists. The College of Fine Arts School of Theatre students were easy to spot on the BU Shuttle, hauling their painting tools and oversized portfolios for the two-and-a-half-mile ride to and from the Charles River Campus.
Those days ended at the start of fall semester, with the opening of the new state-of-the-art Boston University Production Center, just across Comm Ave from CFA. The center stands alongside the Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre, whose doors will open in time for the spring semester.
The 75,000-square-foot theater complex, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, comprises the 250-seat theater, production and costume shops, design labs, classrooms, faculty offices, and a landscaped plaza. The project was funded in part by the University’s 2023 sale of the BU Theatre, the longtime home of the Huntington Theatre Company.
“In the new building, you have pride of place. Students feel a sense that this place ennobles their work,” says Jim Petosa, director of the School of Theatre, a member of the faculty team that collaborated with the architects on the design. Previously, design and production students didn’t see much of their performance classmates, who work out of the CFA building. Now, Petosa says, “the proximity that they have to each other is stimulating collaborative energies. That’s a direct result of the new building.”
While the outside of the complex and the interior of the theater are still very much construction zones, the Production Center’s scenery, prop, and costume shops are brimming with activity. Students in Diane Fargo’s scenic painting class are working with large canvases in sun-drenched studios, designing a 25-by-50 foot ground cloth that will be a backdrop in an upcoming production. If they choose, they can raise the backdrop in the shop to see it as it would appear on a stage.
“Not having to share the space is huge for us,” says Fargo, a CFA senior lecturer in scenic design. “Students get so much more out of the experience because they can spend the time and spread out as opposed to constantly moving around. They are going to walk out of here with serious experience.”
Facility production manager Johnny Kontogiannis (CFA’02) says the faculty team began thinking about the building process the same way an artist approaches a blank canvas. “We asked, ‘What makes a fully comprehensive production facility?’” he says. “We collaborated to develop a space that was useful and reflected on some of the problems we had in the old building.” For instance, lighting and sound designers had previously worked in separate rooms, but collaboration is now possible with the new sound and light lab, which Petosa describes as a place where theater-makers can create conditions to test the interaction of lighting and sound before bringing them to the stage.
Architect Ross Cameron, an Elkus Manfredi senior associate, says it’s unusual to have such a large scene shop in an urban area like Boston. “In the scene shop, we very purposely included windows and openings in a building typology that is usually just a big metal box,” says Cameron. “If someone’s walking down Dummer Street, they can look in and watch someone painting a scene. None of the building design was whimsical. It’s all driven by giving CFA maximum flexibility in the space.” For instance, a partition wall divides the large room so multiple groups can use it, but it can be pulled back.
He compares the production wing’s layout to a “theatrical assembly line.” First up is the loading dock, where raw materials are brought in. Next comes the fixed tool area, where materials are cut and shaped before the assembled pieces are brought to the paint shop. Sets and backdrops can either take a left into the Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre or be loaded back onto the truck to head to another facility.
“The only limitation is that pieces have to be able to fit in a truck,” says Walt Meissner (CFA’81), BU associate vice president for operations, who is overseeing the project for the University. “So the truck is what’s limiting the size, not the building.”
Faculty team members say they are particularly indebted to Steven Friedlander (CFA’80), president of performing arts planning and design firm Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, who has been the project’s official theater consultant. “His guidance and knowledge helped provide clear communication and a professional knowledge that bridged our faculty teaching-artists and the architecture team,” Petosa says. “Together, they created a state-of-the-art facility that is flexible and flawlessly designed for maximum use and efficiency and offers our students an exemplary place to work and learn.”
Jon Savage, a CFA assistant professor of scene design and head of undergraduate design and production, says everyone is pleased that the University invested in such a facility. “We’re really grateful for the University’s recognition of, and contribution towards, the needs of these students,” he says. “We feel it is a continued investment in us.”
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If you are a Mac or PC user you have to make sure your machine is regularly “cleaned.” This means employing some kind of software to automatically scan through the machine and remove unnecessary file clutter for speed and to save space.
For years the standard in PC cleaner software has been CCleaner, and now Mac users can benefit from the experience that the Piriform developers bring to the table. In this article we will look at a new free Mac version and see how it compares to its older brother on Windows.Basic Features
Installing and running is easy. Just go to the download page and download the .dmg file. After opening the disk image, drag the icon to the alias for the Applications directory, then navigate to your Applications directory and run the software.
Running the software opens a window with two buttons: one for analysing the system and one for runnning the Cleaner. This purges your system from detected files which can be safely removed. There are tools and options menus, too, but those two buttons are the things you’ll make the most use of.
Both the Windows and Mac free versions contain the same two basic features described on the website as “faster computer” and “privacy protection.” What this boils down to in real terms is the primary use of cleaning software, that is to say safely and securely scanning your system intelligently for anything which might be deemed superfluous and erasing it. Plus, you get the bonus benefit of privacy protection via the cleaning of cookies, history and other browser data. (Safari is cleaned by default, being a Mac, but other browsers can be selected in the Applications tab.)
CCleaner has the dual purpose of making your machine leaner and faster but also reducing clutter in ways that would takes hours, if not days, to do manually and with the need for a lot of research to properly identify files and their purpose before deleting.
CCleaner has a lot of Windows experience with this kind of work, and Piriform developers have decided to bring this technology to the Mac because although OS X is a usually very tidy operating system, it still generates a lot of junk if you don’t keep an eye on it. Being able to address this routinely and easily is a huge boon.
Obviously, although CCleaner has a free product, there is a premium level, and it would be remiss of us not to note the differences.Mac Premium Features
As well as the basic features on the Mac version, if you pay for the upgrade to the premium level of the product you also have Automatic Browser Cleaning, Real-time Monitoring, Automatic Updating and what they call “Priority Support.” This is an extra to make up for the lack of a Premium Plus level upgrade path like there is on the Windows platform.Windows Premium Features Conclusion
Clearly the premium features on both platforms are not important at the free level, as the offerings for the Mac and PC version are for all intents and purposes the same. The main differences occur when rising to the Premium level by paying a fee. On the Windows version (and the higher cost Plus version not available to Mac users) you have a much wider toolset of features.
Whether these higher level features will be available to Mac users in the future is not clear, but as a Mac user you can console yourself realizing that the plus features are less important in a Mac environment where the OS takes care of a lot of that sort of maintenance automatically. In any case the upgrade to the premium product is only $19.99 and doesn’t necessarily represent a major expense.
Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He’s designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.
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