Tech Today w/ Ken May

Featured entries

Reversible, tiny, faster: Hands on with the USB Type-C plug

Posted by kenmay on September - 21 - 2014

Megan Geuss SAN FRANCISCO—Last week, Ars met up with several representatives of the non-profit USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) to check out some of the first USB Type-C connectors off the assembly lines. The Type-C specification was announced in December and finalized in August , and it’s set to bring a number of improvements to its predecessors, in addition to being smaller than the Type-A USB plugs we’re familiar with today. Considering how many USB Type-A devices are still being actively built out there (over 4 billion USB-compatible products are made each year), this smaller, reversible connector represents a significant jump. Jeff Ravencraft, President and COO of USB-IF, told Ars that USB-IF wanted a connector that worked equally well for large and small devices. “We also understand that yeah the consumer maybe has some trouble with putting in that cable connector,” he added of the Type-C’s new-found ability to be plugged in right-side up or upside down, like Apple’s Lightning connector. The new Type-C connector is also slightly bigger than its proprietary cousin, with Type-C sized at approximately 8.4mm by 2.6mm and Lightning coming in at 7.7 mm by 1.7 mm. Unlike the reversible Lightning, but similar to USB connectors before it, the USB Type-C connector has a mid-plate inside the receptacle that the plug surrounds when it’s inserted. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft has been rather generous with free OneDrive storage lately, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Now Redmond is bumping the previous gratis 15GB up by 100 percent, to 30GB. What’s the catch? There isn’t much of one, really. All Redmond says you have to do (regardless of if you’re a new user or seasoned veteran) is activate auto-upload on your device of choice’s camera roll between now and the end of the month — even on a Windows PC. Seems simple enough. The announcement focuses on the storage woes that’ve been associated with upgrading to iOS 8 , and given the iPhone 6 Plus ‘ fancy video tricks like HD time-lapse capture we’d imagine the off-device storage should come in pretty handy. Filed under: Cellphones , Desktops , Storage , Internet , Mobile , Microsoft Comments Source: The OneDrive Blog

An anonymous reader writes with this report from The Verge linking to and excerpting from a newly released report created for a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, including portions of eight “damning emails” that offer an unflattering look at the rollout of the Obamacare website. The Government Office of Accountability released a report earlier this week detailing the security flaws in the site, but a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released yesterday is even more damning. Titled, “Behind the Curtain of the HealthCare.gov Rollout, ” the report fingers the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversaw the development of the site, and its parent Department of Health and Human Services. “Officials at CMS and HHS refused to admit to the public that the website was not on track to launch without significant functionality problems and substantial security risks, ” the report says. “There is also evidence that the Administration, to this day, is continuing its efforts to shield ongoing problems with the website from public view.” Writes the submitter: “The evidence includes emails that show Obamacare officials more interested in keeping their problems from leaking to the press than working to fix them. This is both both a coverup and incompetence.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

I Tried The New Oculus Rift, And It Blew Me Away All Over Again

Posted by kenmay on September - 20 - 2014

I’ve tried practically every version of the Oculus Rift VR headset, from some of the original duct-taped prototypes through to the latest DK2 developer kit and the Samsung Gear VR. Nothing I’ve seen prepared me for the new Crescent Bay demo. I just tried one of the best games I’ve never played . I want more. Read more…

The Reality of the iPhone Line Is a Black Market Nightmare

Posted by kenmay on September - 20 - 2014

This week, people camped outside Apple stores for days anticipating the iPhone 6. But those line-waiters weren’t all frenzied Apple fans high on the joy of a new smartphone: As filmmaker Casey Neistat portrays it , many of the line-sitters were buying the new iPhone to immediately resell it on the black market. Read more…

San Francisco’s current tech-led boom has seen slick new housing high-rises pop up all across the grid, but Bay Area urban renewal in the 1970s had a very different look. Photographer Dave Glass is a native of the city’s Western Addition, and snapped these images of Victorians being driven around town like massive domestic trailers almost 30 years ago. Read more…

Charles Chan When Alibaba stopped trading its shares on Friday, the Chinese e-commerce company had officially logged the biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in US history, raising $21.8 billion in its first day on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s earnings give it a market capitalization of over $200 billion, “putting it among the 20 biggest companies by market cap in the US,” the Wall Street Journal notes. Alibaba’s IPO beat out  record IPOs like Visa’s $17.9 billion IPO in 2008 and General Motors’ $15.8 billion sale in 2010. And Alibaba beat out its peers in the tech sector too, like Facebook (whose first-day earnings were $16 billion) and Google (whose 2004 IPO raised only $1.67 billion—paltry in today’s terms). Earlier this month , the company announced that it would price shares at $66 per share. This morning around 12pm ET, the NYSE gave the go-ahead for the company, whose ticker symbol is BABA, to start trading. Shares started at $92.70, a third larger than what the company was aiming for, and ended the day at $93.89 after reaching a high of $99.70. In after hours trading, Alibaba is just down slightly at $93.60 per share , as of this writing. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A federal judge in Texas has convicted a local man of conducting a massive Bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme, and ordered him to pay $40.4 million. The court found on Friday that Tendon Shavers had created a virtual bitcoin-based hedge fund that many suspected of being a scam—and it turned out they were right. The Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) shut down in August 2012, and by June 2013 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against its founder . In a statement at the time, the SEC said Shavers “raised at least 700,000 Bitcoin in BTCST investments, which amounted to more than $4.5 million based on the average price of Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012 when the investments were offered and sold.” Judge Amos Mazzant wrote: Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

wabrandsma (2551008) writes with this excerpt from The Verge: Last night, researchers at Malwarebytes noticed strange behavior on sites like Last.fm, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post. Ads on the sites were being unusually aggressive, setting off anti-virus warnings and raising flags in a number of Malwarebytes systems. After some digging, researcher Jerome Segura realized the problem was coming from Google’s DoubleClick ad servers and the popular Zedo ad agency. Together, they were serving up malicious ads designed to spread the recently identified Zemot malware. A Google representative has confirmed the breach, saying “our team is aware of this and has taken steps to shut this down.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UK Engineers 3D Print Their Own Raspberry Pi Laptop

Posted by kenmay on September - 19 - 2014

 Is there anything a robotic system for the extrusion of plastic in to solid forms over time can’t do? We present to you today the Pi-Top, a Raspberry Pi-based laptop that is completely 3D printed and lasts for hours on a single charge. The kit, which will launch as a Kickstarter soon, offers a 13.3-inch screen and a little keyboard and trackpad combo for data entry. Viola! A little… Read More