Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for March, 2017

Enlarge (credit: materod on flickr ) You may have just upgraded your computer to use DDR4 recently or you may still be using DDR3, but in either case, nothing stays new forever. JEDEC, the organization in charge of defining new standards for computer memory, says that it will be demoing the next-generation DDR5 standard in June of this year and finalizing the standard sometime in 2018. DDR5 promises double the memory bandwidth and density of DDR4, and JEDEC says it will also be more power-efficient, though the organization didn’t release any specific numbers or targets. Like DDR4 back when it was announced, it will still be several years before any of us have DDR5 RAM in our systems. That’s partly because the memory controllers in processors and SoCs need to be updated to support DDR5, and these chips normally take two or three years to design from start to finish. DDR4 RAM was finalized in 2012 , but it didn’t begin to go mainstream until 2015 when consumer processors from Intel and others added support for it. DDR5 has no relation to GDDR5 , a separate decade-old memory standard used for graphics cards and game consoles. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Netflix is making its animated feature film debut with the grandly titled America: The Motion Picture . According to Deadline , the original movie is an R-rated, comedic take on the founding of our country. The production team is stellar and will be led by Archer ‘s Matt Thompson (who will direct) and Adam Reed. The Expendable s’ Dave Callaham will write the script, and the team behind The LEGO Movie , (including Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Will Allegra) will also contribute . Channing Tatum gets a producer credit as well, and is on tap to voice George Washington in the film. Deadline calls the project an “R-rated revisionist history tale about the founding of the country, ” which makes a ton of sense considering the Thompson and Reed previous work, which includes the hilarious shows SeaLab 2021 and Frisky Dingo . This will also be the first feature-length animated project for Netflix, which has previously only made a foray into kid-friendly episodic shows like The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show as well as the much more melancholy and adult animated series, Bojack Horseman . Source: Deadline

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Incredible giant chocolate geodes

Posted by kenmay on March - 31 - 2017

Alex Yeatts, a student at the Culinary Institute of America, worked for six months to cook up amazing chocolate geode cakes. Crack one open to reveal the dazzling sugar crystals. Stunning work. A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 11, 2017 at 10:18am PST A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:59am PDT

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Oh My God, Look at Saturn’s North Pole

Posted by kenmay on March - 31 - 2017

Recently, Gizmodo space writer Rae Paoletta called Saturn “ the golden retriever of the solar system , ” and I’m not here to dispute that characterization. But it was a lot easier to think of Saturn as a golden retriever when the planet’s defining hue was, y’know, gold. Not blue. Not electric, alien protomolecule -blue. Read more…

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Remember the, insane record-shattering flight of a jet-powered hoverboard ? UK inventor Richard Browning thought that riding on top of a jet pack wasn’t crazy enough, so he strapped six kerosene-powered microjets to his arms. That transformed him into a bargain store Iron Man, helping him get off the ground in what looks like the most dangerous way ever. Each motor produces about 22kg (46 pounds) of force, so six are more than enough to heft Browning aloft. The device cost him £40, 000 ($50, 000) to build, but some of that cost was offset thanks to investors and partners like Red Bull. “I can just strap this on and go flying at a moment’s notice, ” Browning told Techcrunch , adding that a mountain bike was more dangerous. Judging by the footage of his early trials, however, his rig “Daedelus” looks insane on multiple levels. Powered by kerosene jet fuel, it looks like the fiery explosion would kill you if the crash or fall didn’t, judging by the videos detailing his training (below). However, Browning downplayed the danger, saying it’s designed to go low and slow (walking speed and no more than 6-10 feet above ground), and uses a dead-man’s switch that stops everything when not pressed. As for the kerosene, he says it’s really not explosive or flammable in the relatively small quantities he uses. “If I fell in some unimaginably bad way and somehow burst my robust fuel system, I would just leak it very slowly on the floor, ” he says. There are also at least two people on hand with fire extinguishers during each test flight, and he wears a fire-proof suit. After trying the suit with the rockets on both his legs and arms, he switched to an arms-only approach. That works well for him as an ex-Royal Marine and fitness enthusiast, but it would probably tire the average person’s arms rather quickly. In comparison with Franky Zapata’s Guiness World Record -setting mile-and-a-half flight, the video flights (below) are pretty disappointing. Browning does eventually fly near the ground in a warehouse, as shown in the Red Bull video below. He controls the flight just by pointing his arms, in a process he equates to riding a bike. “If you let go, your brain does the rest.” Browning recently added a Sony-built heads-up display that can show fuel levels. Prior to that, he had to ask family members to feel the back-mounted tank “and judge by their facial expression” how much was left, he told Wired . The aim is to eventually build a device that could be used by rescue or military personnel, but for now Browning is just doing exhibitions, perfecting the device and hopefully staying in one piece while doing so. Browning’s even building a miniature, drone-powered model for his kids, too. As such, he really should rethink the name of his jet-powered craft — Daedelus is the mythic Greek father of the original flying man and famous crash-and-burn victim, Icarus. Via: Techcrunch Source: Gravity.co

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Janko Roettgers, reporting for Variety: Streaming music services were for the first time ever responsible for more than 50 percent of all U.S. music industry revenue in 2016, according to new numbers released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Thursday. Paid and ad-supported streaming together generated 51 percent of music revenue last year, to be precise, bringing in a total of $3.9 billion. In 2015, streaming music was responsible for 34 percent of the music industry’s annual revenue. Much of that increase can be attributed to a strong growth of paid subscriptions to services like Spotify and Apple Music. Revenue from paid subscription plans more than doubled in 2016, bringing in $2.5 billion, with an average of 22.6 million U.S. consumers subscribing to streaming services last year. The year before, subscription services had an average of 10.8 million paying subscribers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bass player/instructor Adam Neely explores the fastest “useful” music that humans can play. It’s a fascinating topic, really, especially how he, and scientists/musicologists, frame the question around what’s musically “useful.” And yes, speed metal is considered “useful.”

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Later this evening, SpaceX will attempt a historic feat when it launches a reused Falcon 9 rocket into orbital space. It’s an achievement Elon Musk and his team have been working toward since the company was founded in 2002, and tonight, it will hopefully— finally —come full circle. Literally. Read more…

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Now that shared rides represent a sizable portion of Uber and Lyft’s business, both companies have been looking for new ways to expand their offerings while making the whole system more efficient and affordable at the same time. According to TechCrunch , Lyft is currently testing a new version of its shared Line rides called “Lyft Shuttle” aimed directly at commuters and riders who regularly take busy routes. As it’s only a test for now, Lyft Shuttle is only available in Chicago and San Francisco. Riders in those cities will see the “Shuttle” option while searching for Line rides in the app — but only if their pickup and drop off locations are close enough to one of the test routes. The service is only available during the morning and evening commute hours (6:30-10AM, 4-8PM), but the fares are a fixed price so riders can avoid surge pricing during rush hour. Uber tried a similar feature for UberPool called “Smart Routes” back in 2015 , and it still highlights nearby pickup points for shared rides, but the bus-like highlighted routes seem to have fizzled out. And unlike other services intended to cover long-distance commutes like Waze Rider , Lyft’s offering is meant for shorter trips within the city limits. In San Francisco, at least, Lyft will be competing more directly with Chariot, which runs private shuttles along popular commuter bus routes and handles ticketing through its own app. Chariot was bought by Ford last year and the automaker intends to expand to eight more cities by the end of 2017, so there’s definitely a market for this type of in-between service. Source: TechCrunch

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An anonymous reader shares a report: For years, Apple’s App Store, the place where people download apps for games and social networking services on their iPhones, has generated far more revenue worldwide than its Android competitors. This year, things are changing: The App Store will fall second to the amount of revenue generated by Android app distributors, predicts analytics firm App Annie. In 2017, the App Store will generate $40 billion in revenue, while Android app stores run by Google and other parties will generate $41 billion, App Annie said. That gap is expected to widen in 2021, with Android app stores generating $78 billion in revenue and Apple’s App Store at $60 billion in revenue, according to App Annie’s report released on Wednesday. The surge in revenue for Android comes from a growing number of consumers in China who are buying Android phones and are willing to pay for apps. In 2021, App Annie expects there to be eight Android smartphone users to every single iPhone user in China. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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