Tech Review: Be winter-ready with these apps


The Corliss Technology Review Group - Last week's snow, freezing rain and frigid temperatures were just a warm-up for winter, which doesn't start officially until Saturday. These apps will get you ready for the season by helping you track a dangerous storm or record a delightful day on the slopes.

Winter Survival Kit

(iOS, Android, free)

In the frightening scenario where you're stranded in your car because of severe weather or a breakdown, Winter Survival Kit goes into action. It tells you how long you can keep your engine running to stay warm before you run out of gas and sends an intermittent alarm to keep you alert. It stores contact numbers and insurance company policy numbers, making it easier when you call roadside assistance service. Just make sure you input the information during the calm before the storm.

NOAA Snow Forecast

(iOS, Android, $1.99)

This app uses information from the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to tailor a neighborhood snow forecast by ZIP codes. The app updates NOAA information hourly and displays projected snowfall amounts over the next 48 hours on an animated map. If NOAA issues a winter-weather alert, the app shows it in a warning box.

mPing

(iOS, Android, free)

Stuck at home with cabin fever? Become a "citizen scientist." mPing, an abbreviation of the Precipitation Identification near the Ground project by the University of Oklahoma and National Severe Storms Laboratory, wants you to report on the conditions outside your window. Upload the type of precipitation -- snow, ice pellets, freezing rain or other winter weather -- and the data will be compiled by researchers. You can see the results on interactive map.

Ski Track

(iOS, Android; $0.99)

There are two groups of people who love an impending snowstorm: kids and skiers. If you're in the latter category, this app is for you. Ski Tracks won't tell you where to ski, but it will tell you how well you are skiing. Using GPS, it tracks your progress down the slopes and produces graphs and statistics. It doesn't use data or need a phone signal to work. The app makes it easy to share your day of schussing and half-piping with Facebook friends.

The Corliss Technology Review Group, Bitcoin price tumbles after warning from Chinese central bank

The People's Bank of China has issued a warning that the currency is not legally protected and has no 'real meaning'.


The Chinese central bank has warned the country's financial institutions not to trade in bitcoin, saying that the digital currency doesn't have "real meaning" and lacks legal protections.

However, no explicit risk to China's financial system was identified by the bank, and it reiterated that individual citizens were free to use bitcoin provided they were aware that they were taking the risk on themselves.

The bank also identified money laundering and other illegal uses of the currency as areas of concern.

Bitcoin has recently achieved a measure of popularity in China, with FiatLeak and other

bitcoin trading information sites showing large inflows of the currency through Chinese exchanges.

China Telecom, the largest mobile phone provider in the country, launched a promotion allowing a Samsung phone to be bought with bitcoins, and Baidu, the Chinese Google, is accepting payments for its firewall service in the currency.

But there's also suspicion that a large measure of the bitcoin's Chinese popularity is the result of fringe-legal uses. The currency is perfect for getting around the country's tight capital controls, which prevent rich Chinese citizens from moving too much money overseas.

While bitcoin remains unregulated, it is easy for users to buy a large sum in Chinese yuan and sell it in US dollars, evading those regulations.

The potential of bitcoin in China is seen as a large part of the reason for the currency's seven-fold increase in price over November, and the news that the Chinese central bank is taking a less-than-welcoming stance to it has sent markets tumbling.

The value of one bitcoin fell by 28% over two hours on Thursday morning, before settling into its more normal pattern of rapid large price swings in both directions.

The warning follows a similar cautionary tone from the Dutch central bank, which noted that there is no central issuer which can held liable for bitcoin, and no deposit guarantee scheme in the event of bitcoin banks failing.

The former head of the Dutch bank even compared the bitcoin bubble to the Netherlands' tulip mania in the 17th century - but pointed out that at least when that bubble burst, investors were left with tulips at the end.

Corliss Tech Review Group: Nokia lanserar första Windows tablet, nya Windows-telefoner

(CNN Ireport) - Nokia är att införa ett större sortiment av Windows-telefoner och avtäcka dess första Tablet PC: n, alla idrottsliga kraftfull kamera tekniken finns i dess flaggskepp Lumia 1020 smartphone.

Den under tryck cellphone maker att förlita sig till kameran för att göra en skillnad för andra telefon rivaler. Fyrtio one-megapixel kamera för Lumia 1020 med teknik som utformats för att ha bättre svagt ljus skott och erbjuda större manuella kontroller än de flesta smartphones.

Microsoft Windows system kommer att använda i den senaste enheter och den kommer att lanseras som Microsoft syftar till att slutföra sin 5.44 miljarder euro (7,4 miljarder dollar) affär för att köpa Nokias telefon företag och patenträttigheter. Affären väntas stänga tidigt nästa år.

Nokia är ett finskt företag. Man har sett sin mobiltelefon verksamhet fick i allvarlig nedgång i marknaden sedan Apple helt förändrat hur människor använder telefoner med 2007 införandet av iPhone, vilket gör Microsoft kamp snabb nedgång i försäljningen av traditionella persondatorer för smartphones och tabletter.

Dragen av Nokias nya Lumia 1520 blir en större skärm med 6 inches diagonalt jämfört med 4,5 inches på 1020. Nokia sa nya telefonens kamera kommer att ha endast 20 megapixlar för att hålla kameran sensor mindre och telefonen tunnare. Men det är fortfarande mer upplösning än de flesta andra telefoner.

Vad är mer intressant är 1520 kommer även med nya apps för att ordna foton baserat på var du tar skott och ger dig mer flexibilitet vid fastställandet av i vilka där bilden bör inriktas. Mobiloperatörer förväntas erbjuda det billigare med två-år tjänstekontrakt men telefonen kommer att kosta $740.

Det blir också en billigare version, Nokia Lumia 1320, för ett kontrakt-fri pris på $339. Dess funktioner är 5-megapixel kamera och en långsammare processor än 1520. Men både köra den senaste versionen av Windows Phone 8, som har nya funktioner för att rymma större skärmstorlekar.

Nokias första tabletten kommer att köra Windows 8.1 RT, det kommer Lumia 2520. Detta innebär att den delar kakel-baserade gränssnittet av telefonens programvara, ändå det kan köra olika apps för Windows tabletter. Och det finns även RT, den en lätt version av Windows, så det kommer att köras endast apps särskilt utformad för det. Vanliga versioner av Windows 8.1 kan köra apps för äldre versioner av Windows.

Varje version av 2520 måste funktionen av en inbyggd 4G LTE mobil åtkomst. Tvärtom, gör iPads och de flesta andra tabletter cellulära tillgång bas från vad du önskar, med deras billigaste modeller kan använda Wi-Fi endast för Internet-åtkomst.

Alla tre enheter förväntas vara tillgängliga på marknaden i slutet av året. Alla telefoner kommer i flera färger med en hård, plast tillbaka gjuten till enheten.
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