Tech Today w/ Ken May

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Tim Redpath Delaware has become the first state in the US to enact a law that ensures families’ rights to access the digital assets of loved ones during incapacitation or after death. Last week, Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill (HB) 345,  “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act,” which gives heirs and executors the same authority to take legal control of a digital account or device, just as they would take control of a physical asset or document. Earlier this year, the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit group that lobbies to enact model legislations across all jurisdictions in the United States, adopted its Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) . Delaware is the first state to take the UFADAA and turn it into a bona fide law. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

While it may not be a full suit of high-tech gadgetry like Iron Man dons , the US Navy is set to test exoskeletons from Lockheed Martin . In the first contract to employs the company’s strength-boosting garb for industrial use, two FORTIS exoskeletons will help carry heavy loads for the trial period. The lightweight unpowered option lends endurance by using the ground to help bear the mass. During the testing phase, the company hopes to further develop the tech for use at Navy shipyards where a smattering of heavy tools are needed for maintenance. “By wearing the FORTIS exoskeleton, operators can hold the weight of those heavy tools for extended periods of time with reduced fatigue, ” said Adam Mill, director of new initiatives at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. Filed under: Misc Comments Via: The Washington Post Source: Lockheed Martin

Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft board

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he’s stepping down from the company’s board, effective immediately. With his ownership of the LA Clippers , teaching, and “civic contribution” taking his time, Ballmer wrote  that he’s now “very busy,” and with both a new NBA season and new class of students, it would be “impractical” for him to remain on the board. In announcing his departure, Ballmer expressed confidence in new CEO Satya Nadella’s leadership, noting that although there are challenges ahead, there are also great opportunities, and he said that Microsoft’s mix of software, hardware, and cloud skills is unmatched in the industry. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Which 4K TVs are worth buying?

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

Both Netflix and Amazon stream in 4K. Cameras like the Sony a7S and the Panasonic Lumix GH4 can shoot in 4K. Even smartphones have been getting in on the act, with handsets like the LG G Pro 2 and Sony Xperia Z2 capable of recording 4K video. So with the amount of 4K content available increasing every day, you may have been thinking about buying a 4K set so you too can bask in the glow of 3, 840 x 2, 160 resolution. But 4K sets don’t come cheap, and you’re going to want to do a bit of research before dropping that much cash. While we don’t really review televisions here at Engadget, we’ve done the next best thing, compiling the opinions of trusted critics from across the web. Which set offers you the most bang for your buck? Do bells and whistles like a curved screen make a difference? Check out a few members of the 4K Class of 2014 below. Panasonic Life+Screen AX800 At first blush, the Panasonic AX800 series has a lot going for it. It’s a nice-looking set that PC Mag says is “minimalist and unique, ” suited for both TV stands and entertainment centers. Turn it on, and the picture is equally impressive, delivering what AVForums calls “rich textures and nuanced lighting, ” while thinks this LCD could stand toe to toe with a good plasma set, due to its “good black levels, accurate colors and reliable screen uniformity.” But if you’re looking to sit down and enjoy some House of Cards in beautiful 4K, you’ll be disappointed — Netflix on the AX800 is limited to 1080p (and lower). Given the relative scarcity of commercial 4K content, the inability to watch a major provider like Netflix is a big ding on an otherwise stellar UHD set. Price: $2, 300 and up Samsung U9000 Walk into a room and the first thing you’ll notice about the Samsung U9000 is its curved screen, which CNET says adds a “unique, futuristic look” to a set that is overall “drop-dead gorgeous.” It says the picture is equally stunning, offering “deep black levels, accurate color and great bright-room viewing qualities.” But what about that curve? Though it’s meant to create a feeling of depth and immersion, CNET found it “didn’t have any major effect on the picture aside from reducing reflections somewhat, ” and found it actually made some reflections worse, such that “lamps and lights are occasionally stretched across the entire arc of the screen.” It’s worth noting that the U9000 also includes an improved Smart Hub experience, but you can also find other Samsung sets that are a lot cheaper (and less curvy). Price: $3, 297 and up Samsung U8550 The Samsung U8550 is a set that eschews the curved screen of its high-end sibling U9000 in favor of “trim bezels and a very narrow panel” that says “lend this television a modern air.” The picture also does it credit, with LCD TV Buying Guide complimenting its “brilliant images in 4K, ” while Sound+Vision was impressed with the “crisp detail and the clean, smooth clarity” of its upconversions. As on the U9000, the Smart Hub has been upgraded with “subtle improvements” that “hit the mark” according to LCD TV Buying Guide , and says it provides “all of the streaming content and web-browsing functions you’d expect for the price.” And that’s a price that undercuts the competition by $1, 000, leaving you some extra cash for an awesome sound or gaming system on the side. Price: $1, 597 and up Sony X900B At first glance, it’s clear that the Sony X900B is very different from other UHD sets, and even many regular ol’ HDTVs, due to its huge set of front-facing speakers. The sacrifice of a slim bezel is well worth it, though, as What Hi-Fi compliments its “rich, open and detailed sound quality, ” while CNET calls it the “best sound of any TV we’ve heard, bar none.” The picture is also up to the challenge, offering quality that HDTVTest calls “spectacular” and CNET says is the “best picture quality of any 4K TV we’ve tested so far.” Sure, the X900B isn’t as cheap as some other sets, but unlike the AX800, it supports Netflix and, with those massive speakers flanking the screen, you won’t need to fork out the extra dough for a quality sound system. Price: $2, 998 and up Filed under: Home Entertainment , HD , Samsung , Sony Comments

Why Chinese Hackers Would Want US Hospital Patient Data

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

itwbennett (1594911) writes In a follow-up to yesterday’s story about the Chinese hackers who stole hospital data of 4.5 million patients, IDG News Service’s Martyn Williams set out to learn why the data, which didn’t include credit card information was so valuable. The answer is depressingly simple: people without health insurance can potentially get treatment by using medical data of one of the hacking victims. John Halamka, chief information officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network, said a medical record can be worth between $50 and $250 to the right customer — many times more than the amount typically paid for a credit card number, or the cents paid for a user name and password. ‘If I am one of the 50 million Americans who are uninsured … and I need a million-dollar heart transplant, for $250 I can get a complete medical record including insurance company details, ‘ he said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Your Phone Can Now Identify You Based On How You Type

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

No two humans type alike. Some of us jab our fingers precisely into the right spots on a screen, while others are slightly less accurate. Now, a Swedish security startup is using this behavior to add an extra layer of security to our cellphones. Read more…

Where do bags go after the TSA takes them?

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

They go to Alabama, writes intrepid and daring sock smuggler Dan Lewis . Read the rest

AMD Launches Radeon R7 Series Solid State Drives With OCZ

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

MojoKid (1002251) writes AMD is launching a new family of products today, but unless you follow the rumor mill closely, it’s probably not something you’d expect. It’s not a new CPU, APU, or GPU. Today, AMD is launching its first line of solid state drives (SSDs), targeted squarely at AMD enthusiasts. AMD is calling the new family of drives, the Radeon R7 Series SSD, similar to its popular mid-range line of graphics cards. The new Radeon R7 Series SSDs feature OCZ and Toshiba technology, but with a proprietary firmware geared towards write performance and high endurance. Open up one of AMD’s new SSDs and you’ll see OCZ’s Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller on board—the same controller used in the OCZ Vector 150, though it is clocked higher in these drives. That controller is paired to A19nm Toshiba MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND flash memory and a DDR3-1333MHz DRAM cache. The 120GB and 240GB drives sport 512MB of cache memory, while the 480GB model will be outfitted with 1GB. Interestingly enough, AMD Radeon R7 Series SSDs are some of the all-around, highest-performing SATA SSDs tested to date. IOPS performance is among the best seen in a consumer-class SSD, write throughput and access times are highly-competitive across the board, and the drive offered consistent performance regardless of the data type being transferred. Read performance is also strong, though not quite as stand-out as write performance. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A handful of the full set of screenshots obtained by Android Police. Android Police More details have leaked about Google’s upcoming subscription service for YouTube, these in the form of screenshots posted by Android Police on Monday. The service, called YouTube Music Key, will give subscribers ad-free and offline playback of YouTube videos, as well as audio-only material. Per the screenshots, users will be able to play music on their mobile phones “with or without video, in the background, or with your screen off”—all things that the single-tasking YouTube apps could not previously do. Subscribers will also be able to play music via “YouTube Mix,” a recently-added feature that works similarly to radio stations on other streaming services. A YouTube Music Key subscription provides access to a 20-million-song catalog, roughly the same size as that of Spotify and Rdio , as well as a collection of material the app refers to as “concerts, covers, and remixes.” While YouTube is rife with content beyond artists’ official discographies, a lot of it of legally questionable provenance, it’s not clear from the screenshots how Google will decide what goes into YouTube Music Key. Subscribers to the service will also be subscribed to “Google Play Music Key” for free, which is likely a rebranded Google Play Music All Access . Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Great mistakes in English medieval architecture

Posted by kenmay on August - 19 - 2014

The great cathedrals and palaces of medieval England were designed by people who made it up as they went along, and often discovered midway through a multigenerational project that they’d run out of space for an arch, or designed a building that couldn’t hold up its own ceiling. Read the rest