Tech Today w/ Ken May

Featured entries

No, Your SSD Won’t Quickly Lose Data While Powered Down

Posted by kenmay on May - 25 - 2015

An anonymous reader writes: A few weeks ago, we discussed reports that enterprise SSDs would lose data in a surprisingly short amount of time if left powered off. The reports were based on a presentation from Alvin Cox, a Seagate engineer, about enterprise storage practices. PCWorld spoke to him and another engineer for Seagate, and they say the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Alan Cox said, “I wouldn’t worry about (losing data). This all pertains to end of life. As a consumer, an SSD product or even a flash product is never going to get to the point where it’s temperature-dependent on retaining the data.” The intent of the original presentation was to set expectations for a worst case scenario — a data center writing huge amounts of data to old SSDs and then storing them long-term at unusual temperatures. It’s not a very realistic situation for businesses with responsible IT departments, and almost impossible for personal drives. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Scientists have long talked about black silicon (that is, silicon with nano-sized structures) having the potential to trump conventional solar power , and there’s now some proof that this is happening. Aalto University researchers have developed black silicon solar cells that achieve a record 22.1 percent efficiency when turning the Sun’s rays into usable energy. That’s a 4 percent absolute boost over the previous best, and good enough that the technology could finally be ready to reach the market and replace existing solar panels. Black silicon is far better suited to collecting sunlight at low angles, which is common in northern regions — you wouldn’t have to live in a sunny, forgiving part of the world to get the most out of clean energy. It should be cheaper, too. So long as these black cells translate well to mass production, you may have an easier time ditching the conventional power grid. Filed under: Science Comments Source: Aalto University , Nature

An anonymous reader writes: Former Mozilla software engineer Monica Chew and Computer Science researcher Georgios Kontaxis recently released a paper (PDF) that examines Firefox’s optional Tracking Protection feature. The duo found that with Tracking Protection enabled, the Alexa top 200 news sites saw a 67.5 percent reduction in the number of HTTP cookies set. Furthermore, performance benefits included a 44 percent median reduction in page load time and 39 percent reduction in data usage. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Five Best 3D Printing Services

Posted by kenmay on May - 25 - 2015

Getting something 3D printed is easier now than it’s ever been , and there are plenty of reasons why you might want to. From just making something special and unique to replacing broken parts, 3D printing services make it easy. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations. Read more…

Another great thing you can do with drones—take stunning footage of ancient royal burial chambers. This National Geographic video offers an entirely new perspective on the Nubian pyramids that have stood the test of time in the Sudanese desert for over 3, 000 years. Read more…

Firefox browser for iOS is almost ready for testing

Posted by kenmay on May - 24 - 2015

It’s been a long time coming, but Firefox for iOS is nearly here… in a manner of speaking. Mozilla has revealed that it’s about to conduct a “limited” beta test of the web browser, and has already posted source code for early testers. The organization would like to have an open beta that gives everyone an early peek ( à la Android ), but that’s not really possible with Apple’s current testing mechanism. Still, a public release is likely close behind — if you’re not a fan of your iPhone’s existing web surfing options, you’ll have another major alternative before long. Filed under: Cellphones , Internet , Mobile Comments Source: Mozilla

 Plenty of people have compared the Apple Watch to the classic Casio calculator watch; these guys went ahead and made the inevitable app. Meet GeekWatch — the app that turns your Apple Watch into an old-school calculator watch. Read More

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has announced plans to launch a feature called “Suggested Tiles, ” which will provide sponsored recommendations to visit certain websites when other websites show up in the user’s new tab page. The tiles will begin to show up for beta channel users next week, and the company is asking for feedback. For testing purposes, users will only see Suggested Tiles “promoting Firefox for Android, Firefox Marketplace, and other Mozilla causes.” It’s not yet known what websites will show up on the tiles when the feature launches later this summer. The company says, “With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The California Seafloor Mapping Program is the most extensive of its kind, initiated in 2008 and bearing fruit in a series of beautiful maps. Read the rest

The Guinness World Records says that Catalina Alexandru Duru just pulled off the farthest flight ever traveled on a real life hoverboard: 905 feet and 2 inches. You can see him rise up 16 feet in the air on the hoverboard and then start cruising through the air over a lake with nothing but invisible underneath him in the video below. Read more…