Pause Your Tunes When It Is Time To Listen Up!

“Sorry. I had music playing. Would you say that again?” If we had a money-unit every time someone tried talking to us while we were wearing headphones, we could afford a super-nice pair. For an Embedded C class, [extremerockets] built Listen Up!, a cutoff switch that pauses your music when someone wants your attention.

The idea was born while sheltering in place with his daughter, who likes loud music, but he does not want to holler to get her attention. Rather than deny her some auditory privacy, Listen Up! samples the ambient noise level, listens for a sustained rise in amplitude, like speech, and sends a pause signal to the phone. Someday, there may be an option to route the microphone’s audio into the headphones, but for now there is a text-to-speech module for verbalizing character strings. It might be a bit jarring to hear a call to dinner in the middle of a guitar riff, but we don’t like missing dinner either, so we’re with [extremerockets] on this one.

We don’t really need lots of money to get fun headphones, and we are not afraid of making our own.

Location Tracking? ‘Droid Does


Last week, the Internet was alight with stories of iPhone location tracking. While this wasn’t exactly breaking news in security circles, it was new information to many people out there. Lots of blogs were full of commentary on the situation, including ours, with many Android users chiming in saying, “Android doesn’t do that”.

Well, that’s not entirely true – the playing field is far more level than most people would like to admit.

Android does have the same tracking capability, as do Windows Mobile phones for that matter. Both companies also monitor the cell towers you have connected to, as well as which Wi-Fi hotspots you have passed by. All three companies anonymize the data, though they do assign a unique ID to your location details in order to tell you apart from other users.

Where things really differ is in regards to how much information is stored. Microsoft claims that they only store the most recent location entry, while Andriod systems store the 200 most recent Wi-Fi hotspot locations as well as the most recent 50 cell towers.

At the end of the day each vendor does allow you to opt out of the tracking services, and if you are seriously concerned about the data they are tracking, you can always periodically wipe the information from your handset, should you desire.

[Image via TheTelecomBlog]

Mozilla Fennec Alpha 3 For Windows Mobile Released


Mozilla released the latest alpha version of their new mobile browser Fennec for Windows Mobile. It brings many new features and fixes, such as improved startup time and a caching system to help scrolling on a page. They have also added support for a wider range of screen resolutions, and for those of us running an HTC Touch Pro support for zoom via the directional pad has been included in this release. Being an alpha release, it’s still a bit on the buggy side, but is very a promising browser for mobile phones. The final release should give other browsers a run for their money.

LED Serial Debugging For Cell Phone Hacking

[Barry] needed some way to get serial output to help debug his efforts to port Linux to the HTC TytnII (Windows mobile Pocket PC phone). He wrote some code to send serial output via one of the LEDs on the phone and rigged up an AVR to pic up the output and provide a USB interface to the computer. It runs at about 200bps – perfect for the quick debug session.