Tech Today w/ Ken May

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Future phones could house a terabyte of memory

Posted by kenmay on July - 24 - 2014

You may think that the 3GB of memory in your new smartphone is hot stuff, but that pales in comparison with what Rice University has in store. Its scientists have detailed a form of resistive RAM (RRAM) that can be made using regular equipment at room temperatures, making it practical for everyday gadgets. The trick is the use of porous silicon oxide where metals (such as gold or platinum) fill the gaps. Using the silicon material doesn’t just give manufacturers something familiar to work with; it requires much less power than previous techniques, can last through 100 times as many uses and isn’t fazed by heat. It’s also far denser than earlier RRAM, storing nine bits per cell where even conventional flash storage stops at three. The result should be an easy-to-make RAM chip with the kind of capacity that you’d normally expect from much larger permanent storage, like an SSD — as the company Crossbar hinted when it first discussed this approach, you could stuff 1TB into a component the size of a postage stamp. That’s just about ideal for mobile devices, and could mean that future phones and tablets won’t have to worry about low memory errors for a long, long time. Crossbar’s technology is due in later this year in chips destined for embedded uses like appliances and cars, so the breakthrough won’t be noticeable at first. Research lead James Tour tells MIT that he expects a deal with an unnamed manufacturer in the next couple of weeks, though, so it’s entirely possible that this super-capacious memory will become commonplace. Filed under: Storage , Science , Mobile Comments Via: MIT Technology Review Source: Rice University

We’re not sure how many of the new Oculus Rift VR kits have shipped out to developers already , but it looks like a healthy amount are in San Diego right now. That’s where Comic-Con is happening this week and, following the X-Men VR demo we already heard about, Legendary Pictures and Oculus have teamed up for Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot . It lets attendees take control of the 250-foot tall Jaeger “Gipsy Danger” (no drift connection necessary) and do battle in a virtual reality combat simulator against the kaiju Knifehead (the first one you see in the movie). The whole experience is built in Unreal Engine 4 using the same assets Industrial Light & Magic worked with for the movie. Sure, you’ve seen the movie, and maybe even in IMAX 3D, but we’re pretty sure even Guillermo del Toro’s directing tricks can’t add up to feeling like you’re there, fighting an 8, 700 ton monster off the coast of Alaska. It’s all in Legendary’s booth #3920 for all four days the show is open, from Thursday through Sunday. Don’t have a ticket? There’s a video preview embedded after the break, but it can’t compare to diving into a VR world with Oculus — maybe we’ll be able to enjoy it at home by April 2017 when Pacific Rim 2 arrives. Join the fight! ‘Drift with the Rift’ exclusively at the @Legendary booth (#3920) & prepare to pilot a 250ft Jaeger. http://t.co/C6CeXE7ldp – Legendary (@Legendary) July 24, 2014 Filed under: Displays , Gaming , Home Entertainment , HD Comments Source: Legendary Pictures (YouTube) , Legendary.com

 Qblinks wants to be the Swiss Army knife of iPhone remote controllers. The Bluetooth LE device, which is currently seeking $35, 000 on Kickstarter, can be used to alert you to notifications from different apps on your smartphone; as a camera remote shutter; to activate Siri; play music; and help you find missing phones by prompting it to ring even when it is in silent mode. Qblinks even has… Read More

When it came to life on Mars , NASA might have struck out, but it’s got a good feeling about Europa . The agency is working on a probe designed to scan its vast oceans for signs of alien life, but there’s a problem, namely the 30 feet of ice that covers the moon’s surface.That’s where VALKYRIE comes in, a torpedo-shaped robot that’ll suck up water, warm it and fire it back into the ice to quickly and easily drill through the layer. Once the hardware reaches its destination, it’ll release a swarm of smaller ‘bots that’ll map the geography and hunt for alien microbes. There’s still a few issues to work out with the gear, like the fact that it can’t properly change course while tunneling, which would be pretty essential if it were to come across a rock or other blockage. Then again, given that we won’t be ready to launch a mission to Jupiter’s moon until the early 2020′s, NASA’s got some time to fix the problems. Filed under: Robots , Transportation , Science , Alt Comments Via: Gizmodo Source: New Scientist

Pirate Bay traffic doubles over three years

Posted by kenmay on July - 24 - 2014

It’s probably the most censored site on the Internet, blocked by national firewalls all over the world, but more people use it every day. Read the rest

Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

Posted by kenmay on July - 24 - 2014

First time accepted submitter Carly Page writes When asked for its response to Edward Snowden’s claims that “Dropbox is hostile to privacy”, Dropbox told The INQUIRER that users concerned about privacy should add their own encryption. The firm warned however that if users do, not all of the service’s features will work. Head of Product at Dropbox for Business Ilya Fushman says: “We have data encrypted on our servers. We think of encryption beyond that as a users choice. If you look at our third-party developer ecosystem you’ll find many client-side encryption apps….It’s hard to do things like rich document rendering if they’re client-side encrypted. Search is also difficult, we can’t index the content of files. Finally, we need users to understand that if they use client-side encryption and lose the password, we can’t then help them recover those files.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jonathan Zdziarski’s HOPE X talk, Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices , suggests that hundreds of millions of Iphone and Ipad devices ship from Apple with intentional back-doors that can be exploited by law enforcement, identity thieves, spies, and employers. Read the rest

Amazon’s recently announced music service for Prime members just got a bit better. Today, the giant online retailer revealed that its Prime Music library is welcoming a bunch of new songs into the mix, from artists such as Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Kendrick Lamar, Shakira, Skrillex, Ella Fitzgerald, DJ Snake & Lil Jon ( #TD4W, anyone? ) and many, many more. To make use of these newly added tunes, Amazon said it has curated “hundreds” of fresh Prime Playlists , citing this feature as one users have come to love since the service’s launch last month. Amazon will need to keep making similar moves if Prime Music is to be a threat to the likes of Spotify , so this is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction. The next natural step would be expanding outside of the US, but record labels might make that a lot more complicated than it sounds. Filed under: Misc , Portable Audio/Video , Internet , Mobile , Amazon Comments Source: Amazon

The top 12 tablets you can buy right now

Posted by kenmay on July - 23 - 2014

Whether you’re looking to replace your laptop or just find something to keep you entertained, there’s a tablet out there to suit you. But with an ever-increasing array of slates crowding the market, narrowing down the list can be a chore. So we’ve sorted through the pile and picked out some of our favorites for both power users and media consumers. Our complete buyer’s guide is always just a few clicks away, but feel free to cruise through the gallery below for a quick rundown of the best tablets you can buy today. Filed under: Tablets , Mobile , Apple , Samsung , Sony , Microsoft , ASUS , Google , Amazon , Acer Comments

Spineless creatures flee forest fires

Posted by kenmay on July - 23 - 2014

In a story at National Geographic, bush firefighter Gabriel d’Eustachio describes multiple fires where the leading edge of flame was preceded by an invertebrate “wave of creepy-crawlies” . Read the rest