TIME Drones

How to Defend Against Drones

The U.S. is unprepared to deal with the proliferation of unmanned aircraft now filling the skies.

  • Regulation

    There are many drone no-fly zones around the world, and most operators respect them—but not always. After a drone strayed into White House airspace recently, its maker modified its flight software to ground its products in and around Washington. Experts concede that a determined intruder can get around such precautions.
    Illustration By Jameson Simpson For TIME

    There are many drone no-fly zones around the world, and most operators respect them—but not always. After a drone strayed into White House airspace recently, its maker modified its flight software to ground its products in and around Washington. Experts concede that a determined intruder can get around such precautions.

  • Detection

    To stop a drone, you have to know it's there. A growing number of companies are installing acoustic sensors that listen for the sound of a drone. They are found at sensitive government locations and the estates of celebrities who are leery of airborne paparazzi, but the sensors are confused by other contraptions, like Weedwackers. And they can't do anything to stop intrusions.
    Illustration By Jameson Simpson For TIME

    To stop a drone, you have to know it’s there. A growing number of companies are installing acoustic sensors that listen for the sound of a drone. They are found at sensitive government locations and the estates of celebrities who are leery of airborne paparazzi, but the sensors can be confused by other contraptions, like Weedwackers. And they can’t do anything to stop intrusions.

  • Jamming

    A drone on a nefarious mission needs to be guided, either by GPS signlas or radioed commands from its operator. Electronic jamming can serve those links and doom the mission or even give authorieis control of the drone. But such jamming is usually illegal because it ingerferes with communications ranging from cell phones to airlines.
    Illustration By Jameson Simpson For TIME

    A drone on a nefarious mission needs to be guided, either by GPS signals or radioed commands from its operator. Electronic jamming can serve those links and doom the mission or even give authorities control of the drone. But such jamming is usually illegal because it interferes with communications ranging from cell phones to airlines.

  • Destruction

    Drones tend to be slow-flying and unarmed, which makes them relatively easy to shoot down. But experts fear that future unmanned aircraft could be armed and nimble, like the military's fast, low-flying cruise missiles, making them much harder to detect and destroy.
    Illustration By Jameson Simpson For TIME

    Drones tend to be slow-flying and unarmed, which makes them relatively easy to shoot down. But experts fear that future unmanned aircraft could be armed and nimble, like the military’s fast, low-flying cruise missiles, making them much harder to detect and destroy.

TIME Gadgets

Apple’s Most Neglected Device Is About to Get a Major Update

Apple Launches Upgraded iPod
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The new smaller version of Apple TV is displayed at an Apple Special Event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts September 1, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

A little black box in need of some love

Apple TV, a set-top box that turns your television into a smart display, is one of the company’s longest-neglected products — it’s been nearly three years since it got a hardware refresh—eons in the gadget world.

It makes sense, then, that some Apple-watchers are predicting an Apple TV refresh is imminent. Among them is Gene Munster, an Apple analyst with Piper Jaffray. Munster has long argued that Apple is working on a complete television of its own, but for now, Munster says, an updated Apple TV set-top box is the clear next step for the company.

Here’s Munster via Business Insider:

“Despite our belief in an actual television being unrealized so far, we continue to believe that TV is an area of focus for Apple and the most likely area for innovation now that the Apple Watch has been announced. We believe the most likely path to a TV would be an update to the Apple TV hardware and software that potentially integrates content, gaming, and HomeKit in the fall of 2015 and a television at least a year later.”

Munster’s point about HomeKit, Apple’s smart home platform, makes his Apple TV update argument especially convincing. HomeKit needs a centralized hub device that can control all the other connected gadgets in your house.

The current Apple TV is already filling that role to a limited extent, but it makes sense for a new version of the Apple TV to be designed and marketed as the brain of an Apple-powered smart home. That would give it a huge advantage over other set-top boxes on the market, like the various Roku models and the Amazon Fire TV.

TIME apps

These 5 Apps Will Help You Survive a Long Distance Relationship

With today's technology, your sweetie is just a click away

Distance got you down? Stay connected with your loved one no matter how far apart you are on Valentine’s Day. While you’ll have to wait to send someone your heartbeat via the Apple Watch, these five apps should hold you over until April.

 

  • Couple

    Couple
    Couple

    The gimmick: Couple creates shared experiences that are as playful as they are sweet. The feature ThumbKiss allows partners to touch the same spot on the screen, which emits a vibration on both phones.

    The bonus: Other features include a shared timeline and LiveSketch so you can draw with your loved one.

    The price: Free for iPhone and Android

  • SimplyUs

    SimplyUs
    SimplyUs

    The gimmick: SimplyUs helps couples organize their lives together. The shared calendar automatically updates when your significant other marks down an event.

    The bonus: If you want to surprise your partner with a visit, you’ll know how to plan accordingly.

    The price: Free for iPhone (not available on Android)

  • Avocado

    Avocado
    Avocado

    The gimmick: Avocado is meant to be a secure space for couples. Like Snapchat, the app auto-cleans messages once they have been read.

    The bonus: Productivity features include syncing events with your Google calendar, so that everyone’s on the same page.

    The price: Free for iPhone and Android

  • Klikaklu

    klikaklu_screenshot_04
    Klikaklu

    The gimmick: Klikaklu sends your significant other on a treasure hunt by using GPS and camera functions.

    The bonus: Keep track of your partner’s progress within the app while miles away. Think Gone Girl but less conniving.

    The price: Free for iPhone (not available on Android)

     

  • Between

    Between
    Between

    The gimmick: Between is a passcode-protected place for couples to store their memories. Scroll through private photo albums and other mementos stored in the app.

    The bonus: The Event Box feature helps you find great deals for future date nights.

    The price: Free for iPhone and Android

    Read next: 10 Apps for Planning the Perfect Date

    Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Gadgets

Everybody’s Favorite Toy From Childhood Just Got an Unbelievable Update

View-Master
Mattel Mattel View-Master

Mattel and Google partner on a radically new and different View Master

Remember taking the bright red Mattel View-Master you had as a kid, popping in one of those reels of film and looking at 3D pictures of far-away places or exotic animals?

The View-Master is back, and with a big upgrade: Mattel has partnered with Google to bring the search giant’s Google Cardboard virtual reality software to the View-Master, letting kids explore environments like a space shuttle or a new city in 360 degrees.

Mattel’s new View-Master works by combining what Mattel calls an “experience reel” with a specialized app on an Android smartphone. It can also run any of the 200 or so Google Cardboard virtual reality apps currently in the Google Play store, serving as an affordable gateway into the world of virtual reality.

“Combining technology and innovation with this classic toy gives kids an enhanced experience allowing for play opportunities not yet imagined through new, digitally curated content,” said Mattel SVP and Global Brand General Manager, Toy Box Doug Wadleigh in a statement.

Announced Friday, the View-Master will be available early this year for $29.99 along with a sample reel. Customers can buy packs of new experience reels with fresh content for $14.99 each. Mattel told USA Today that it’s experimenting with bringing back some of its classic View-Master content for the new platform as well.

TIME Apple

Apple Just Made This Huge Change to the App Store

Apple Productivity Apps
Sean Gallup—Getty Images A shopper tries out the new Apple iPhone 6 at the Apple Store on the first day of sales of the new phone on Sept. 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.

It will change the way you preview apps

Apparently the App Store isn’t open carry.

Apple is making some developers of violent video games censor screenshots of their titles for the App Store, Pocket Gamer reports. Several iPhone game developers told Pocket Gamer they had to blur or remove images of guns before Apple would approve their apps to go online.

Here’s what the result looks like for developer Warchest Limited’s Tempo:

screen520x924

Apple has long had a written policy of keeping violent images out of the App Store so it can maintain its 4+ age rating. However, the company hasn’t always enforced that rule as strictly as it appears to be doing now. It’s unclear why Apple is now suddenly asking developers to adhere to its guidelines.

TIME apps

10 Apps for Planning the Perfect Date

Smartphone dating
Geber86—Getty Images/Vetta Happy couple looking at mobile phone

For an unforgettable evening, it’s love at first swipe

In an increasingly smartphone-driven world, your handheld can give you the romantic powers of a young Don Juan — or if you’re not into the classics, Don Draper. But to sweep him, her, or whomever off their feet, you’ll need to know how to push the right buttons. Or, more appropriately for the touchscreen age, how to tap those apps.

From planning your evening to hitching a ride home, these ten apps can help you look like a smooth smartphone operator on your next date.

Pre-date planning

Start your date right by getting flowers. Whether it’s sending them in advance to build anticipation or hand-delivering them yourself, Bouqs (Android and iOS) has an app that keeps it simple with flat-rate pricing and free shipping. But one thing to keep in mind is the company’s convenience comes at a cost — it ships via FedEx. So, make sure your love has a box cutter and vase at the ready.

Next up, choose some entertainment for the evening. Sosh (iOS only) is a personalized city guide that uses curated suggestions, with an easy-on-the-eyes user interface. Whether you’re into art or the outdoors, this app can recommend something for you and your special someone — so long as you’re in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, or Washington, D.C., where the service is currently running. Eventbrite (Android and iOS), on the other hand, is everywhere from Argentina to the United Kingdom, connecting attendees to events as varied as music festivals and non-profit fundraisers.

Dinner for two

A longtime favorite of smartphone owners, OpenTable (Android and iOS) can help you book a restaurant at more than 20,000 North American eateries, without having to slip the host a $20. And if you’re signed up for Apple Pay, you can even go cashless with your tab, slickly paying with your iPhone instead. Meanwhile, Chefs Feed (Android and iOS) serves up excellent recommendations, featuring local chefs’ reviews of their favorite dishes around town. Either crib from their expert takes, or act like your good friend, Mario Batali, gave you a hot tip. Either way, it’s going to taste great and make you look even better.

Cocktails

Mixing it up with a cocktail after dinner is a great way to cap off the evening. And if you’ve got a favorite bartender, onthebar (Android and iOS) will let you know if and where he or she is slinging drinks. Mixologists love it because they can show off their best concoctions and favorite spirits, and drinkers dig it because they can consistently get service that leaves them stirred, not shaken.

But if you’d rather put your feet up with a refreshment at home, tap Lush (iOS only). This $1.99 app is worth every penny for its color-coded drink recipes. And if you’re missing out on any ingredients, Thirstie (Android and iOS) can get you restocked in a jiffy. Lucky tipplers in select cities can use the app to get booze from whiskey to wine delivered on-demand within an hour.

Getting home safely

Most smartphone owners already know their devices make it much easier to get around, with Uber (Android and iOS) holding the crown as king of the road in most places. The popular ride-sharing app connects passengers with drivers, shuttling them about with seamless payments being exchanged in the background.

If Uber’s not for you, Lyft (Android and iOS) is an equally great alternative to taking the wheel yourself. And keep in mind each service’s distinct vibe — Uber drivers tend act more like professional chauffeurs, while Lyft drivers are a little looser, and can keep the tone of your date light. Either way, you won’t be drinking and driving, which is a turnoff for everyone.

TIME streaming

These Are the Songs People Have Sex To, According to Spotify

Streaming music service Spotify has sifted through 2.5 million playlists made for that explicit purpose. Here's what it found

According to streaming music service Spotify, indie rockers The XX rule the bedroom. The band’s song “Intro,” the first on their debut album, is the most likely track to appear on user-made “sex” playlists on the service. The Guardian reports there are some 2.5 million such playlists on Spotify.

On average, men are more likely to have created sex playlists than women—56% to 44%. Top artists include Chet Faker, Zella Day and LP. The full collection of top songs are available here:

There are more than ten times as many playlists devoted to “love,” surely a sign of hope for humanity. There are about 28 million of those, according to Spotify. Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake are among the most popular songs in that playlist category.

[The Guardian]

TIME Gadgets

5 Reasons Why Most People Don’t Want a Fitness Tracker

Toshiba President Hisao Tanaka News Conference On Health Care Business
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Docomo Healthcare Inc.'s Moveband, a wearable technology device for easy recording and tracking of health data, manufactured by Toshiba Corp., are displayed during a news conference in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

Staying fit just shouldn't be this complicated

Fitness trackers are the darling of the tech press, but the data say consumers don’t care. Sales are sluggish. A recent Robert W. Baird & Co. survey found that 85% of Americans have “no plans” to buy a fitness band. But if the technology is there, and the press loves the product, what’s the overriding problem?

Here are the five most likely issues:

1. Fitness isn’t this complicated

When it comes to staying fit, there are two basic approaches.

The first method: Buy a fitness tracker. Perform a week of workouts. Sync the data to your smartphone or computer. Review over two dozen categories of results, from steps taken to calories burned. Plot your performance in a scatterplot. Chart your progress over time. Set new fitness goals across seven metrics, then fiddle with your charts and analyze your exercise trajectory in search of firm conclusions. Recharge your device.

The second method: Eat healthy and do something active a few times a week.

It’s really that simple. Knowing that we took 1,017 steps on Monday isn’t going to undo two pizzas and a six-pack of beer.

2. Fitness isn’t fun

Basketball is fun. Snowboarding is fun. Fitness is not fun. To date, the fitness tracker is great for measuring everyone’s least favorite activities (running and stair-stepping), and worthless for measuring fun, meaningful things, like the quality of a jump shot or the fluidity of a golf swing.

A few people will still buy the things in a half-baked attempt to feel good about themselves. The rest of us will spend the money on a round of golf.

3. Fitness isn’t comfortable

Consider that most hit consumer tech products of the last 20 years have only made things more comfortable and convenient. The mp3 player let us listen to anything without getting up. Online streaming services (ex: Netflix) made the movie rental process easier and lazier. The smartphone allowed us to play games and YouTube videos from bed. Steve Jobs even spent the entire iPad announcement sitting on a couch and browsing the web.

As humans, we’re lazy by default, which presents a problem for the fitness tracker. The smartphone, mp3 player and tablet embraced this fact; the fitness tracker is trying to fight it.

4. Fitness isn’t fashion

Today’s fitness trackers range from “gaudy” to “understated,” but there’s nothing so far that qualifies as “fashionable.” (Nice try, Swarovski.) Logistically, this is terrible news for the fitness tracker, which wants to measure everything you do, but only works when you’ve got the thing strapped, stuck, or wrapped on your body. Until the fitness tracker can convince us to keep the thing on, we won’t be experiencing the product’s full potential.

5. Fitness shouldn’t be creepy

We already know that fitness trackers make things unnecessarily complicated. But isn’t all that data collection also a little bit…creepy? Simple goals (“I’d like to run three miles today”) are fine, but why do we need exact step counts, numerical ratings for sleep quality, and automated data transfers to the company’s servers?

Add in the new patch-style trackers (which will just sit on your abdomen and track you all day), and we’ve moved from “tracking” to “stalking.”

At a certain point, enough is enough. We don’t need a fitness tracker to tell us that.

TIME Social Media

How Facebook Is Trying to Make Death Less Complicated

It's now easier for your loved ones to access your profile after you've passed

Facebook’s latest announcement was big — and no, it wasn’t a “Dislike” button. Starting Thursday, you can designate a friend to manage your account after you die.

This “legacy contact” feature posits a question we rarely think about: What happens to your Facebook profile when you die?

It’s the kind of question that’s outwardly funny: “You don’t get as many likes,” one user tweeted in reply to me earlier in the day. “My ghost will check it after that to see who misses me,” said another. One user even extended a kind offer: “I’m designating Chris Rock. But happy to be the man for any of you out there.”

And then there was one joke that wasn’t so funny if you kept thinking about it: “Who cares, you’re dead?”

It’s a morbid thought, but after your death, your Facebook profile suddenly becomes more valuable to those you leave behind. Your friends or family might want to archive your photos, wall posts, friends list—your virtual ashes. They might want to change your photos to turn your profile into a kind of digital memorial. Or they could use your account to post funeral details. These are requests that, before the legacy contact feature, would have required lengthy, taxing court orders due to privacy laws in many jurisdictions.

While the legacy contact feature provides a solution to some of these problems, death in the Facebook era remains complicated. There are some painful instances that Facebook’s new policy can’t prevent—like your friends finding out about your demise in the least intimate of ways. As one writer described that experience in the Chicago Tribune: “[You] stare in disbelief as heartbreaking news is disseminated to an iPhone or laptop, usually when one is on the bus, in an inane meeting at the office or in some other prosaic and inapt setting.”

For some, such an event permanently attaches a sense of tragedy to Facebook: The mother who learned via Facebook of her son’s death at a football game; the friends who read a suicide note posted by their classmate; a man whose auto-generated Year-in-Review photos featured his deceased daughter; a woman who rediscovered her chats with a friend who’d died and was overcome by guilt upon seeing each message she hadn’t answered.

But then there are ways Facebook can help us grieve, too. Just look at the classmates that started posting notes on the Facebook wall of a Rhode Island student who’d been killed in a car crash. And then there’s the story of Kimmy Kirkwood and her boyfriend, Sgt. Will Stacey, who left an “In Case I Die” letter on Facebook before his deployment. Months after Stacey was killed while serving in Afghanistan, Kirkwood visited his Facebook profile, rediscovered the letters and other forgotten love notes.“I sometimes go back and see if he wrote me something on this particular day or for holidays like Valentine’s Day or our birthdays,” she said.

And sometimes, there are moments when death in the age of Facebook is just as weird and funny as it sounds. Take, for example, that time when comedian Joan Rivers, two weeks after her death last September, “posted” on a rave review of the iPhone 6. The post was speculated to be a scheduled marketing deal that her publicist had forgotten to deactivate.

As one writer said of the blunder: “Something tells us Joan Rivers would laugh about this.”

TIME apps

This Is the First-Ever #ThrowbackThursday Posted on Instagram

It's the four-year anniversary of the hashtag

Since Instagram’s launch in October 2010, users have posted a combined 357,442,820 #tbt and #ThrowbackThursday hashtags.

And while the popular hashtag is a staple in the Kardashian family’s social media diet, the trend has humble beginnings. Almost exactly four years ago, on the second Thursday in February 2011, a then 21-year-old Bobby Sanders posted the very first #ThrowbackThursday on Instagram, according to the company. And it looked like this:

#Hotwheels #ThrowbackThursday

A photo posted by Bobby Sanders (@bobbysanders22) on

“I honestly don’t recall even taking it or it being a good photo,” Sanders, now 25, said to TIME. “There was no real inspiration.”

Although viral encyclopedia Know Your Meme traces the first “Throwback Thursday,” often now shortened to tbt, sighting to 2003, the site says that the phrase didn’t gain popularity in the blogosphere until 2011.

Sanders, who currently works as a sales representative in Georgia, says he hadn’t seen the phrase prior to using it on his Instagram.

“I had never seen it done or said prior to that, but I didn’t think anything of it, or that it was that original honestly,” he says. “My favorite sunglasses company (Knockaround) had a sunglasses line called Throwbacks, so I had that name in my head… I guess with the filter, older cars as the subject, and it being Thursday it was just something I thought would be a funny hashtag, not something that would eventually catch on to the phenomenon it’s become.”

Sanders didn’t gain Internet fame and rarely Instagrams throwback posts.

“But if I do, I’m that snob who will post #ThrowbackThursday and not #tbt,” he says.

You’ve got to love consistency.

Read Next: This Was Instagram’s Most Liked #tbt of 2014

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