Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for March 21st, 2017

Fill In Those Wi-Fi Dead Spots With a $20 Range Extender

Posted by kenmay on March - 21 - 2017

Wi-Fi range extenders can’t work miracles, but if there’s one spot in your house with spotty coverage, they can be a much cheaper solution than buying a new router. So for $20, why not give this one a try? Most complaints about this model seem to stem from its setup process, but if you can get through that, people… Read more…

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A Texas grand jury has charged a Maryland man with “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon” after authorities say he tweeted an animated flashing GIF designed to trigger Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald’s epilepsy last year, “immediately” causing him to have a seizure. Read more…

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Zack Whittaker, writing for ZDNet: Cisco is warning that the software used in hundreds of its products are vulnerable to a “critical”-rated security flaw, which can be easily and remotely exploited with a simple command. The vulnerability can allow an attacker to remotely gain access and take over an affected device. More than 300 switches are affected by the vulnerability, Cisco said in an advisory. According to the advisory, the bug is found in the cluster management protocol code in Cisco’s IOS and IOS XE software, which the company installs on the routers and switches it sells. An attacker can exploit the vulnerability by sending a malformed protocol-specific Telnet command while establishing a connection to the affected device, because of a flaw in how the protocol fails to properly process some commands. Cisco said that there are “no workarounds” to address the vulnerability, but it said that disabling Telnet would “eliminate” some risks. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Enlarge / A customer in Apple’s store in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2010. A report by a major New Zealand newspaper found Apple hasn’t paid any taxes in New Zealand. (credit: Brendon O’Hagan / AFP / Getty Images ) The big technology story in New Zealand this weekend is about Apple’s tax bill. Or rather, the lack thereof. The electronics giant sold $4.2 billion (NZD) worth of products in New Zealand, but it didn’t pay any local tax at all. That’s according to a Saturday report from the New Zealand Herald . Apple did pay $37 million in income tax based on its New Zealand sales, but it paid that money to the Australian government, since that’s where the New Zealand operation is run from. The arrangement to send the tax on New Zealand profits to Australia has been in place since at least 2007. Experts confirmed the arrangement is legal under New Zealand law. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Norway Plans to Build the World’s First Ship Tunnel

Posted by kenmay on March - 21 - 2017

Norway is planning to build the world’s first ship tunnel through the country’s Stad peninsula, which is home to harsh weather conditions that often delay shipments and cause dangerous conditions for ship crews. The proposed tunnel would enable ships to travel through the peninsula in safety. New Atlas recently interviewed Stad Ship Tunnel Project Manager Terje Andreassen about the project: NA: We’d usually expect a canal to be built for this kind of purpose, so why a tunnel? Because in this case we are crossing a hill which is more than 300 meters (384 ft) high. The only alternative is a tunnel. From a maritime point of view this is still a canal, but with a “roof.” NA: How would you go about making such a large tunnel — would you use a boring machine, for example, or explosives? First we will drill horizontally and use explosives to take out the roof part of the tunnel. Then all bolts and anchors to secure the roof rock before applying shotcrete. The rest of the tunnel will be done in the same way as in open mining. Vertical drilling and blasting with explosives down to the level of 12 m (42 ft) below the sea level. NA: How much rock will be removed, and how will you go about removing it? There will be 3 billion cubic meters (over 105 billion cubic ft) of solid rock removed. All transportation from the tunnel area will be done by large barges. NA: What, if any, are the unique challenges to building a ship tunnel when compared with a road tunnel? The challenge is the height of this tunnel. There is 50 m (164 ft) from bottom to the roof, so all secure works and shotcrete must be done in several levels. The tunnel will be made dry down to the bottom. We solve this by leaving some rock unblasted in each end of the tunnel to prevent water flowing in. Assuming it does indeed go ahead — and with the Norwegian government having already set aside the money, this seems relatively likely — the Stad Ship Tunnel will reach a length of 1.7 km (1.05 miles), and measure 37 m (121 ft) tall and 26.5 m (87 ft) wide. It’s expected to cost NOK 2.3 billion (over US$272 million) to build and won’t actually speed up travel times, but instead focuses on making the journey safer. Top-tier architecture and design firm Snohetta has designed the entrances, and the company’s early plans include sculpted tunnel openings and adding LED lighting on the tunnel ceiling. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Whether you’re just learning how to code or you’re a seasoned vet, experimentation is a key part of the learning process. Glitch is a free new coding site that makes that a little easier by implementing a remix and collaboration system that’s also easy to deploy as an actual app. Read more…

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Prankster sends a 419 scammer into a NSFW rage

Posted by kenmay on March - 21 - 2017

Kvatch of The Hoax Hotel is masterful at playing rubes who fall for online scams. In this gem, he keeps an “FBI agent” named “Josh” on the line for nearly 22 minutes, riling him up until he’s ” the angriest scammer I’ve ever called .” (more…)

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Experiments with thermochromic hair dye

Posted by kenmay on March - 21 - 2017

Lauren Bowker’s UK-based firm The Unseen is currently working on a bunch of cool thermochromic textile and dye applications, like this hair color that responds to heat . (more…)

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Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad is its cheapest yet

Posted by kenmay on March - 21 - 2017

Apple just simplified its tablet lineup in a big way. The company has introduced a new 9.7-inch iPad — not the Air 3, just… iPad. The new model will seem extremely familiar on the outside, but there are a bunch of notable under-the-hood upgrades. You’ll find a slightly older but still speedy A9 processor inside instead of the Air 2’s aging A8X, and Apple has doubled the capacities to give you either 32GB or 128GB (sorry, no 256GB option here). This new mid-size model also touts a brighter display, although it’s still sitting at a 2, 048 x 1, 536 resolution. The cameras remain the same, for or better or worse, with an 8MP shooter on the back and a 1.2MP FaceTime cam at the front. For most, the biggest deal may simply be the price. The upgraded iPad is available now at $329 for the 32GB version, and $459 for its 128GB model. That’s the lowest starting price yet for a mid-size iPad, and it’s clear that this is the new budget option. In fact, Apple has gone so far as to make the iPad mini 4 more expensive – it’s now available solely in a 128GB edition for $399, and there’s no iPad mini 2 to pick up the slack. Apple clearly feels that 9.7 inches represents its mainstream size going forward. Source: Apple , BusinessWire

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