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CES 2016: Connected shower tracks water use

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European start-up Smart & Blue, which builds awareness of water conservation, demonstrated the first water-powered and Bluetooth connected showerhead at CES 2016 in las Vegas last week.

Hydrao is an environmentally friendly connected device that tracks water usage in the shower.

As water conservation continues to be a high priority, Hydrao will track, measure and educate users on the importance of self-restrictions. The smart showerhead is easy to assemble and can be installed into any standard tub. Hydrao is designed to help reduce excessive water usage in the home through positive reinforcement and cool technology.

Hydrao comes equipped with LED lights, a sleek design and is easy to handle. The showerhead can fit into a small child’s hands. Hydrao can also

be transformed into a standard detachable showerhead by removing it from its mount. Once the water is turned on, the connected showerhead begins tracking the water flow instantly. A green light comes on and remains the same color as long as the

shower water used does not exceed a set limit.

When the limit is passed, the Hydrao communicates with a mobile app and changes colour to alert the user of the next threshold.

The Smart & Blue mobile app (available on iOS and Google Play) is designed for a family of four and allows the users to create thresholds, individual profiles and track savings per shower. Users can customise each threshold with their favourite colours. The 3-tier thresholds can be customised to reflect, yellow, red and green, once each level is reached.

Depending on the source of water heating, users will also see a difference in their overall household utility bills.

Not only does Hydrao make bath time more enjoyable for children, but parents will appreciate the fact that their kids are learning about water conservation in a fun way and  are developing great life habits.

“I created Hydrao to with the idea in mind that I could educate my little girls on the importance of saving water; I needed to make bath time fun and educational in order for them to develop good habits,” says Gabriel Della Monica, CEO and Co-Founder of Smart & Blue. “Shortly after seeing the positive effects it had on them both, I decided to bring the same knowledge and excitement to other families around the world.”

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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