Communications posts on CNET - Page 3


GPGTools offers quick encryption options for OS X Mail

If you regularly send confidential information via e-mail and wish to make it as secure as possible, one option for OS X users is GPGTools, which provides encryption and decryption services for any of your e-mail accounts.

GPGTools is a free and open-source encryption project for OS X, based on OpenPGP, which gives OS X users quick access to options for signing and encrypting e-mail messages, as well as offering file-level services for encrypting documents and folders. The project has been around since 2011, but was recently updated to version 2, and supports a number of new features. The suite … Read more

Apple envisions way to adjust your car via an iPhone

Those of you who rent or drive different cars might appreciate a new patent filing from the folks at Apple.

Published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a patent application called "Automatic configuration of self-configurable environments" describes a way to adjust key controls in different cars via your iPhone.

Some cars can automatically "remember" how you adjust the seat, move the mirrors, and raise or lower the steering wheel. In these cases, a press of a button restores those controls to your desired position. But when you plop into the driver's seat … Read more

AT&T teams up with SiriusXM to bring mobile services to Nissan

If the future car is a smartphone on wheels, Nissans are signing up with AT&T.

AT&T has agreed to provide mobile connectivity to SiriusXM Radio for a suite of in-vehicle support services in Nissan automobiles in North America.

The telematics -- or informational telecommunications systems in road vehicles -- from SiriusXM provide such things as emergency support after an accident, stolen vehicle tracking, and roadside assistance, with additional services on the way.

It's part of a plan for SiriusXM to use the combination of satellite and cellular networks to expand features for customers.

Glenn Lurie, … Read more

Flexsmart FM transmitter takes two steps forward, one back

FM transmission is pretty old tech. Feed the transmitter an audio source and set it to broadcast on an open FM frequency. Then tune into that frequency on a nearby radio and enjoy your wireless music.

It's simple, old radio tech, but the FCC imposes limits on how strong these transmitters can broadcast their wireless signals. That doesn't leave much room for improvement. Perhaps that's why, despite a fresh coat of paint and tweaks in tuning sensitivity, the new GoGroove FlexSmart X3 doesn't feel head-and-shoulders better than the FlexSmart X2 that I reviewed over two years … Read more

Apple envisions touch screen to control your car's key features

Apple is trying to integrate itself even further into your car with a freshly patented dashboard touch screen.

Granted Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a patent dubbed "Programmable tactile touch screen displays and man-machine interfaces for improved vehicle instrumentation and telematics" (patent number 8,482,535) describes a tactile-feel touch screen that would let you adjust several of the key features and functions in your car.

See also: "App store in the driver's seat: Here comes your next car"

The patent discusses such options as controlling the temperature, the wipers, and … Read more

iOS 7 beta hints at AirPlay for your car

Apple's upcoming iOS in the Car feature apparently will work via AirPlay, so you won't have to physically hook up your device.

Scouring through the "Accessory Developer" settings menu in the iOS 7 beta version, developer Hamza Sood uncovered two options -- one called "iOS in the Car over USB" and another called "iOS in the Car over WiFi." Revealing his findings in a tweet, Sood's conclusion was that iOS in the Car will tap into Apple's AirPlay.

Unveiled in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS in the … Read more

Delphi keeps track of your car

GM brands such as Chevrolet and Buick, along with most luxury automakers, offer their customers telematics services enabling connected features such as maintenance alerts, vehicle tracking, and even remote door unlocking. If you want these features, you don't have to buy a whole new car -- Delphi and Verizon have partnered to offer Vehicle Diagnostics, a plug-in module for adding advanced telematics to existing cars.

The Vehicle Diagnostics module, a little black box about 4 inches long, plugs into a car's OBD-II port, and comes packed with a GPS chip, a wireless data connection, and the ability to … Read more

SMSAlarm locates your muted Android phone

One of the great things about "smartphones" is that they are awfully hard to lose. In fact, there are countless apps that will help locate your phone from Timbuktu to Tippecanoe County. (And oh, how many times have I wished I could call my keys or wallet to find them?) However, if your ringer is on mute, finding it when it's wedged down in the couch cushions requires a keen ear for the buzz of vibrate mode.

Or, if you are a rational Android user, you will download and install the free Android app SMSAlarm, which offers … Read more

Apple promises iOS maps, messaging integration in cars

Confirming an earlier rumor, Apple announced heavy integration between iOS and cars during its WWDC 2013 keynote.

Details were sketchy at the keynote, but Apple Vice President Eddy Cue said that Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, Hyundai, Kia, and Infiniti, among others, were integrating more features from iOS into their cars, making maps and iMessages available on a car's LCD.

Currently, many cars include integration with iOS music functions, letting drivers plug their iOS devices into a car's USB, then see and select music from the car's LCD.

A presentation photo at the keynote showed a mock-up of … Read more

BMW updates online services, supports Android

Almost every new BMW model will come with an integrated SIM card, enabling a dedicated data connection into the car. BMW also announced this week that it would release an Android version of its Connected app, currently only available on iOS, this summer.

This week's announcement comes as part of a larger reorganization of the connected components of BMW's iDrive cabin electronics.

As we saw in BMW 750Li, recently reviewed by CNET, the automaker currently includes music coming in through satellite radio, traffic data delivered as an FM radio signal, the BMW Online service, and the BMW Connected … Read more