Monthly Archives: September 2015

Ubiquiti revamps its enterprise UniFi gear


In early July, Ars ran a syndicated piece from The Wirecutter on the best consumer-grade Wi-Fi extender. Ars readers as usual were quick on the comment button, and a number of folks left feedback on the article saying that even the best consumer-grade Wi-Fi extender is barely functional trash, and that if you really need to expand beyond a single access point, the way to do it is with enterprise-grade gear. Cisco gear came up a couple of times, but more than anything else Ars commenters kept bringing up Ubiquiti Networks and its UniFi line of wireless access points.

Ubiquiti has just announced a re-vamp of the UniFi wireless access point product line, with new models all featuring 802.11ac as standard. Three of the four new models are priced extremely competitively even when considered for home use (the fourth model is for educational institutions only):

RADIO 802.11ac/n/b/g/a 802.11ac/n/b/g/a 802.11ac/n/b/g/a 802.11ac/n/b/g/a
2.4GHZ MIMO 2×2 3×3 3×3 3×3
5GHZ MIMO 2×2 2×2 3×3 3×3
POWER OVER ETHERNET 24V passive 24V passive 802.3af / 802.3at 802.3at
MSRP $89 $109 $149 $399

The dead-easy configuration and extremely granular customization options are hella neat; the level of control over your WLAN and the clients on it is even better. This is the exact same system often used by small businesses or hotels when building out a large WLAN, and it even lets you customize a guest portal and generate vouchers to hand out to your friends for access (or force them to pay you $10 for using your Wi-Fi for a few hours), and it turns out that it makes a hell of a home system as well.

One thing it’s not, though, is a firewall or NAT router—so, you’ll have to bring your own router.

I have the  Unifi AP now as my home access point and love it!


Philips’ Smartphone-Controlled Lightstrips Now Do Natural White Light


At some point in their life everyone has to grow up, and the same goes for Philips’ flexible Hue Lightstrips. Once the perfect way to subtly turn your living room into a colorful rave, the LED strips can now be tuned to generate more natural white light for reading the paper, or just relaxing with some knitting.


But that doesn’t mean the party’s completely over. The new Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus, which comes with an adhesive backing so it can be easily installed out-of-sight as accent lightning (under your couch, above a kitchen counter, or below a cabinet), can still be tuned to produce almost any color you can imagine. And at 1,600 lumens they’re now brighter than the original version—perfect for anyone whose living room doubles as a nightclub on the weekends.


Available starting in October, a six-and-a-half-feet long version, which includes a power adapter, will sell for $90. But you’ll also need the Philips Hue base station connected to your home’s wifi network to make it work with the Hue smartphone app. And if that’s not long enough for your needs, there will also be $30 three-foot extensions available that can be easily clipped onto the end of the longer version without gobbling up additional outlets.




An Android Porn App Takes Your Photo and Holds It to Ransom


Users of the “Adult Player” Android app are in for a shock: it’s emerged that the Android app has been secretly taking photos of users – and wants their cash in exchange for deletion.

The Register reports that security firm Zscaler was first to spot the app, which presents itself as a normal video playing app, albeit for playing videos of an adult nature. Apparently once it has silently snapped photos of its victim it will display a message on screen demanding that they pay $500 . Otherwise, well… do you want people knowing you’ve used the app?

Apparently once the ransom message appears it will stay fixed on your phone screen, even if you reboot. Whilst no doubt highly illegal and bad and wrong, you have to admire how clever the ruse is.

But there is good news: Adult Player isn’t actually available on the Google Play store, and to use it users will have to have installed the app’s APK file manually, checking the box in settings to allow their phones to run apps from non-trusted sources. So there’s no need to be too nervous when downloading new apps to your phone. If an app was listed in the app store, apart from the fact that Google would probably stop it from being published in the first place, if it wanted to use your camera you would have to grant it explicit permission.

So let this be a lesson: If you want to let a porn app do anything to your phone, make sure you use an app that ensures that it does it, umm, explicitly.


Amazon Prime Video Gets Offline Playback on iOS and Android


Amazon may not be the most popular video streaming service on the block, but today it got a killer feature that takes it one step closer to its competition: offline video.

iTunes and Google Play have been able to do this for awhile, of course, but those are pay-per-video services. Amazon Prime Video has also had this on the Kindle Fire, but now iOS and Android users can download movies or TV episodes for offline playback, perfect for saving data or watching on an airplane.

It’s currently only available for certain shows and movies, but it’s a decent list. You can download Amazon’s own shows, as well as shows from HBO, NBCUniversal, CBS, and Fox, not to mention some movies—including Epix movies like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Which, incidentally, Netflix is losing. Yikes.