Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for March 10th, 2017

Chrome 57 Arrives With CSS Grid Layout and API Improvements

Posted by kenmay on March - 10 - 2017

Google has launched Chrome 57 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. From a report on VentureBeat: Among the additions is CSS Grid Layout, API improvements, and other new features for developers. You can update to the latest version now using the browser’s built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome. Chrome is arguably more than a browser: With over 1 billion users, it’s a major platform that web developers have to consider. In fact, with Chrome’s regular additions and changes, developers have to keep up to ensure they are taking advantage of everything available. Chrome 57 implements CSS Grid Layout, a two-dimensional grid-based layout system for responsive user interface design. Elements within the grid can be specified to span multiple columns or rows, plus they can also be named so that layout code is easier to understand. The goal is to give developers more granular control, especially as websites are increasingly accessed on various screen sizes, so they can slowly move away from complex code that is difficult to maintain. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Verizon FiOS streaming no longer counts toward your data cap

Posted by kenmay on March - 10 - 2017

Since chairman and net neutrality skeptic Ajit Pal dropped an FCC investigation into data-free ” zero-rating , ” it’s full speed ahead for carriers on unlimited video streaming. Verizon is piling on with its FiOS Mobile App, which now lets you to stream some 140+ channels, recorded DVR shows and movies on the go without impacting your wireless data cap. The new deal applies to FiOS internet and TV subscribers on Verizon’s 5GB, Small, Medium and Large plans. The app is likely a response to AT&T’s recent wireless plans that let you stream DirecTV Now with no data hit as long as you have both a qualifying mobile and DirecTV Now plan. T-Mobile offers DirecTV and Hulu with no data hit, too, though it has also used the offer to slam rival AT&T. Verizon recently resurrected its Unlimited plan as well, again following the lead of AT&T and T-Mobile. Interestingly, zero-rated FiOS streaming is not included with the Unlimited plan, according to fine print on the company’s FiOS Mobile App page on iTunes, as spotted by The Verge . Instead, it counts toward the 22GB cap — so if you stream lots of TV and exceed it, your speeds could be throttled. Verizon already zero-rated its Go90 video streaming app last year, something that perked up the ears of net neutrality advocates. While free video data sounds like a great thing, organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU believe that by prioritizing their own content over rivals like Netflix, carriers are creating an uneven playing field. As such, they and other groups wrote the FCC urging it to not eliminate net neutrality rules created in 2015 . “In order to promote continued economic, social, and political growth and innovation, it is imperative that the Internet remain open and accessible to all people in the future, ” the petition says. Source: Verizon

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETtFvFDSLys Futuracha is a successfully crowdfunded typeface that makes use of Open Type’s wizardry to switch its ligatures as you type, producing beautiful effects — before the crowdfunding campaign, Futuracha users had to hand-set those ligatures, but now it’s just type and go. $50 for a commercial license, $15 for a personal license. Ships in May. ( via Red Ferret )

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Retinal implant could add years to your eyesight

Posted by kenmay on March - 10 - 2017

Scientists have been struggling to fight retinal degeneration in an elegant way. The most practical solution so far involves external devices that send wires to the back of your eyes. There might be a much more graceful approach before long, however. Researchers have developed an implant whose light-sensitive material could at least partially restore retinas and preserve your eyesight. Their invention combines a biocompatible substance (in this case, silk) with a conductive polymer and an organic semiconductor to send electricity to nerve cells whenever the implant is subjected to typical environmental light. Previous attempts at photovoltaic devices like this have required either exceptionally bright light or unusual light wavelengths to work, so this would be far more practical in the real world. Early experiments are promising, although they do reveal some limits. Rats with the implants don’t show any improvement over their afflicted peers in low light (since the light-sensitive material isn’t kicking in), but their response to brighter light is nearly as good as that of a healthy animal. And since the materials are organic-friendly, the rats kept the implants in place for 6 months with no inflamed tissue. Don’t get too excited by the discovery. The scientists aren’t entirely clear how the electrical charges turn into nerve responses, for one thing. And as Ars Technica explains , there’s also the question of how much vision the implants are actually restoring. The rats may be responsive to light, but that doesn’t mean that they have the eyesight they did before retinal degeneration kicked in. Look at it this way, though: even if a future human implant only offered a partial fix, it could give basic visual cues to people who might otherwise go blind. Via: Ars Technica Source: Nature

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T-Mobile Raises Deprioritization Threshold To 30GB

Posted by kenmay on March - 10 - 2017

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TmoNews: T-Mobile’s new deprioritization threshold is 30GB of usage in a single billing cycle. While T-Mo didn’t make an official announcement about the change, you can see in this cached page that the network management policy says 28GB: “Based on network statistics for the most recent quarter, customers who use more than 28GB of data during a billing cycle will have their data usage prioritized below other customers’ data usage for the remainder of the billing cycle in times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources.” Navigating to the webpage today now says 30GB. What this change means is that if you use more than 30GB of data in one billing cycle, your data usage will be prioritized below others for the remainder of that billing cycle. The only time that you’re likely to see the effects of that, though, is when you’re at a location on the network that is congested, during which time you may see slower speeds. Once you move to a different location or the congestion goes down, your speeds will likely go back up. And once the new billing cycle rolls around, your usage will be reset. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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