Don't Miss A Thing

Follow Engadget

VTech's data breach includes children's photos and chat logs

News of VTech's data breach affecting nearly 5 million customers first broke last week, and now it appears other kinds of info were easily accessible to hackers. Motherboard reports that the company kept photos of parents and children alongside "a year's worth" of chat logs on its servers where prying eyes could easily find them. The same hacker that alerted Motherboard to the initial vulnerability late last week found that VTech left the images and conversations from its Kids Connect service exposed as well. The company says that while images and sound clips are encrypted with AES128, the chat logs were not.

Researchers confirm Humpty Dumpty really can't be put together again

Researchers at the Federal University of ABC, in Brazil, have made a major breakthrough: they've confirmed that thermodynamic processes cannot be reversed, even in a quantum system. This revelation not only explains a fundamental aspect of our universe but could also influence how quantum computing systems are designed.

Instababies: People are naming kids after Instagram filters

When it comes to deciding on a baby name, you could go with a family name. Or, like several couples did in 2015, you could look to your cellphone photography habit for inspiration. According to BabyCenter, some of the hottest trends in baby names shared monikers with Instagram filters. Yes, really. The site says that names of the photo-sharing apps presets were extremely popular this year for newborns, with Lux being the top choice. Additionally, Ludwig, Amaro, Reyes, Hudson and Kelvin all rose up the popularity rankings for boys while Juno, Valencia and Willow were routinely picked for girls. The site says it gathered its name popularity and trend data from 340,000 parents from around the world to compile the stats. Here's to hoping the trend continues in 2016 with babies named Lo-Fi, Inkwell and Nashville, because the internet.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

Must Reads

  • DARPA wants to protect critical infrastructures from cyber attacks

    Hackers have been breaking through a lot of government agency's defenses these past years, and DARPA thinks it's high time to do something about it. Pentagon's mad science division has launched a new program called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization (RADICS), which aims to develop...

  • FCC hires a privacy guru to help lead its telecom investigations

    If you want proof that the Federal Communications Commission is getting serious about privacy, you only need to look at its latest recruit. The agency has hired Jonathan Mayer, one of the masterminds behind Do Not Track browsing, as the chief technologist for its Enforcement Bureau. He'll help lead investigations...

Lenovo's ThinkPad P40 Yoga is a hybrid PC with pro-level power

Lenovo's existing ThinkPad Yoga hybrids have some power, but they're probably not your first choice for heavy-duty graphics work when they're saddled with integrated video. Thankfully, you now have a beefier option: Lenovo is introducing the ThinkPad P40 Yoga, its first 2-in-1 laptop with workstation-level 3D hardware. It still folds back into a tablet (or tent, or presentation mode), but its Quadro M500M chipset should be speedy enough to handle 3D modelling and other GPU-heavy tasks. You'll have greater control over those images, too, thanks to an included pen that promises both 2,048 levels of pressure and specially-tuned software that reportedly gets closer to the "pen to paper" feel.

DirecTV will begin live 4K broadcasts early next year

4K is the way of the future, but until now, the selection of ultra-high-def content has been limited. Enter DirecTV. In an announcement made at New York's TranSPORT conference, the company noted that it will start broadcasting live 4K content in early 2016. The firm stated that it already has the technology in place and wants to start streaming UHD shows before its competitors. However, DirecTV wants to make sure that it has an impressive arsenal of broadcasts ready before launch, as "content is king," (that's a direct quote). Services like Roku and TiVo have both released 4K-capable set-top boxes but don't have a lot of UHD content to offer, which makes the technology somewhat moot.

Details of FBI's National Security Letter revealed for the first time

The FBI has been secretly tracking user information without judicial oversight since 2001. Ever since the Patriot Act's controversial expansion of the Bureau's authority, tens of thousands of National Security Letters (NSLs) have been issued every year without warrants or evidence of probable cause. The content of these letters, accompanied by a gag order that prevents the recipient from ever talking about the information demanded, have stayed under wraps until now. In a recent landmark ruling from the federal district court, a gag order imposed on Nicholas Merrill, owner of an Internet service provider, has been lifted in full for the first time. Even though the court's ruling invalidated the FBI's gag order in September, following procedures the contents of the NSL only became public this week.

Facebook's Instant Articles come to Latin America

Facebook's Instant Articles haven't been available in many parts of the world so far, but that's improving today. The social network's speedier, simpler reading feature has launched on iOS devices in Latin America, initially pulling in content from 40 sites across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. You'll have to wait until sometime in the "coming weeks" to catch up on news from your Android phone, but there's now at least one way to keep up with Interactive Sport and Telemundo while you're scanning your Facebook feed.

Sony tempts gamers with two $300 PlayStation 4 bundles

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be behind us now, but Sony wants to keep people's shopping momentum going. The tech company today announced two PlayStation 4 bundles at a new low price: $300 each, albeit for a limited time. First up, there's the The Nathan Drake Collection version, which includes a 500GB console and three remastered titles from the Uncharted franchise. Your other option is the Star Wars: Battlefront bundle, and this comes with the Standard Edition of EA's newly released game, a code to download four classic Star Wars titles, as well as a 500GB PS4 model. If you missed out on deal these past few days, this could be your chance to save cash on Sony's console. Both bundles will be available starting on Sunday, December 6th, through the 19th.

The Moto 360 Sport goes on sale in the US in January

The new Moto 360 was a definite step up over the original model, but we found it wasn't particularly well-suited to workouts. Motorola appeared to know that right off the bat, as the company announced it was working on a "sport" model specifically for the athletically-minded. Now, the company's finally telling us when it'll be available. The Moto 360 Sport will go on sale in the UK and France on December 18th and will follow in the US on January 7th. The $299 watch will also be available in Best Buy stores all around the US on January 10th.

Kinect sensors could lead to safer X-rays

You don't want to stand in front of an X-ray machine for any longer than necessary, and scientists have found a clever way to make that happen: the Kinect sensor you might have picked up with your Xbox. Their technique has the depth-sensing camera measuring both motion and the thickness of your body to make sure that doctors get a high-quality shot using as little radiation as possible. That's particularly important for kids, who can be sensitive to strong X-ray blasts.

Step aside Gershwin: Computer-generated musical to premiere in London

Computers might be ideal productivity companions, but sometimes they need to express their creative side too. They produce music, design knitwear, create art and delicious recipes; even write news stories (*gulp*). But their next creative achievement is on an altogether grander scale. Commissioned by UK TV channel Sky Arts for an upcoming series, and debuting in the Arts Theatre in London's West End early next year, Beyond the Fence isn't your typical musical. In fact, the full-length stage production features a plot and score conceived principally by machines.

The best immersion blender

By Christine Cyr Clisset

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

After putting in more than 20 hours researching immersion blenders, considering 54 models, interviewing two soup-making pros, and then testing nine blenders over nearly three years, we're confident that you can't buy a better immersion blender than the Breville Control Grip. In our tests it produced smoother textures than almost any other model we tried. Smart design features, such as a grippy handle, a no-suction gasket, and a wider range of speeds, make it far easier to use than the competition.

Scientists solve the urinal pee splash-back conundrum

What a urinal gives in size, convenience and quantity, it takes away in bouncing droplets of hot piss back onto your trousers and shoes. Researchers at Utah State University are hoping to remedy the problem that makes everyone think that you have a bladder control issue by redesigning the urinal cake to end splash back. The university's famous Splash Lab, led by Dr. Tadd Truscott, has developed a new device that's being called a "black hole for urine," an idea that's 100 percent better than The League's pee bib. After looking at all of the various existing urinal insert technology that's floating around, the team looked to nature for inspiration.

Snap makes your Android widgets reachable from any app

Android's widgets are certainly helpful, but you have to duck out to your home screen (where they also consume valuable real estate) to see them. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just take a quick glance? You can, with the right tools. Francisco Barroso's Snap lets you stuff widgets into a notification bar drawer, where they're accessible from any app. It's a bit like iOS' Today view, only more customizable -- if you want a giant, always-available Flipboard widget, you can make it happen. Snap is free if you only need quick access to three widgets, and it'll cost you a modest $2 to remove that cap.

Engadget giveaway: Win a W Studio Micro courtesy of Definitive Technology!

While it can't help you with your holiday waistline, this week's giveaway could help slim down your home theater system. Definitive Technology's W Studio Micro offers an ultra-slim sound bar measuring less than two-inches high and coated in brushed anodized aluminum. It's paired with an eight-inch subwoofer to provide a 5.1 surround sound experience from its compact 3.1 setup when watching flicks. You can also wirelessly stream audio from your own collection or through services like Pandora, Spotify and a host of internet radio stations. It also has DTS Play-Fi on board, so you can add these and other compatible speakers to the Definitive Technology app (iOS, Android) to host a multi-room dance party or control each speaker individually. We have a W Studio Micro wireless sound system ready to ship out to one lucky Engadget reader this week. All you need to do is head to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning.

Spotify confirms this is Drake's world, we just live in it

Drake's unique dance moves may have grabbed the internet's attention as of late, but the rapper's popularity on Spotify spans all of 2015. The streaming service revealed its end of the year numbers today, and Champagne Papi is the most popular artist this year worldwide. However, Drake's If You're Reading This, It's Too Late wasn't the most popular album of year around the globe (it was in the US) as that accolade went to The Weeknd's Beauty Behind the Madness.

The OnePlus iPhone case comes with a OnePlus X invite

OnePlus has launched the "Sandstone" case for Apple's iPhone 6 and 6s, and guess what's inside? An invitation to purchase the OnePlus X. You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of that, though it's hard to imagine many folks turfing their $649-plus iPhone 6s for a $249 OnePlus X. Random buyers of the case will get an invite for the rare ceramic version of the OnePlus X, while a select few will actually get the new model for free. The One X has often been compared to older iPhones, so the case does make a strange kind of sense -- and it also makes the iPhone much less slippery. Making Apple owners aware of the product might pose more of a challenge, but the company is nothing if not savvy at marketing.

Adobe bows to HTML5 and renames its Flash Professional app

Given that Flash is widely considered an internet blight, it's hard to imagine a time when it was actually cool. But in the day, the app was the only way to make interesting animated pages, so it attracted top designers to its content creation tool, Flash Professional. Adobe has now officially ended that era by renaming Flash Professional to Adobe Animate CC. The company said that "over a third of all content created in Flash Professional today uses HTML5," so it is symbolically acknowledging the shift with the new name. The app will still support Flash output, of course, along with other video and animation formats, including 4K, HTML5 canvas and WebGL output.

LG dresses up a mid-range smartphone in an all-metal suit

LG has announced that it'll begin selling the LG Zero, its first smartphone to come with an all metal body, to customers in Taiwan from this week. Shortly afterward, the Korean conglomerate will begin hawking the mid-range device to users in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Unless, of course, you live in Germany, Korea, Russia or Singapore, where the phone will be known as the LG Class for reasons. Aside from the body, there's not much that distinguishes this phone from many of the others that'll occupy that chunk of the shelf in your local retailer.