Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for April 18th, 2017

Recreations of Paleolithic people at the museum usually look like the typical Geico commercial caveman. Famed Otzi the Iceman , for example, has the face of someone who’d be fun to disembowel a moose with, but whose conversation might be just a little gauche. A new facial reconstruction of a Stone Age woman who lived… Read more…

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Enlarge (credit: Getty | Scott Olson ) Banishing trans fats from foods is linked to reductions in the number of heart attacks and cardiovascular deaths in the years after the bans are implemented, according to data from cities and counties in New York that have made the cut. After three years, the areas banning trans fats from eateries seemed to have an extra  6.2 percent reduction in heart attacks and strokes compared with those that didn’t, researchers report in JAMA Cardiology . Last year, other researchers reported in the Journal of Health Economics that the New York bans appeared to cut deaths from cardiovascular disease by 4.5 percent —that is, they spared about 13 lives from cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 people each year. While the decade of bans that have gone into effect in the state offer “natural experiments” on how cutting out trans fat may affect health, the results back up a slew of older studies—animal, controlled trial, and observational studies—that found harms of trans fats, plus benefits of ousting them from people’s diets. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Apple is prepping up to three iPhones for a possible fall launch, including a flagship stainless steel and curved glass tenth anniversary model, according to Bloomberg ‘s Apple guru Mark Gurman. That jibes very closely with past rumors from Fast Company and others that believe Apple will release two iPhone 7s models along with a pricey high-end version. Unlike others, however, Gurman thinks the new model will not have a curved OLED display, but merely curved glass on the back and front. Recent supply leaks hinted that the next iPhone design would use a curved OLED display, but apparently Apple abandoned that idea, possibly over supply concerns. Even if it’s not curved, it’ll still have an OLED screen that takes up most of the front of the device, though. It would thus have a screen around the same size as the current iPhone 7 Plus, but crammed into a body the size of the iPhone 7. That said, Apple is apparently testing multiple devices and hasn’t quite settled on a final design. For instance, it developed one prototype that uses a dramatically curved glass back like the original 2007 iPhone, which would be appropriate for a tenth anniversary device. However, suppliers reportedly struggled to build the highly curved glass, so it has also tested a slightly larger version with an aluminum back. The one most likely to ship, however, is a device that uses subtly curved glass on both the back and front, Gurman’s sources believe. Whichever way it goes for the screen, it’s likely that Apple will use stainless steel rather than more expensive aluminum for the frame. Apple has reportedly tapped Samsung for the OLED screens and ordered up to 100 million of them, as other suppliers don’t have enough capacity to meet expected demand. The screen is said to look dramatically better than those on the current iPhone 7 models, according to Fast Co ‘s sources. As for the rest of the device, Apple is supposedly testing a vertical rather than horizontal dual-lens camera for the overhauled iPhone. It’s also trying a dual-lens front camera with a Sony sensor similar to those used on the back of the iPhone 7 Plus (above), along with the previously-reported depth sensor . Apple has been experimenting with a screen-based Touch ID fingerprint reader, but it’s not clear whether that feature will make it into the next-gen iPhone. It has also been testing a 10-nanometer processor that would be more powerful and efficient, giving the device decent battery life without expanding its battery size over past models. Much of this information isn’t new, but Gurman has one of the best track records for predicting new Apple devices, so the report helps further clarify its plans. It seems that Apple still hasn’t settled on an exact design for the iPhone 8 or X, or whatever the next-gen device will be called. Even if the company does unveil it this fall (which seems a stretch if all this is accurate), don’t count on buying one immediately afterwards — it could take several months for Apple to get all the parts it needs, Bloomberg says. Source: Bloomberg

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Google pushed out a big update to Google Earth for Chrome and Android today. Alongside a snazzy new look, the new version adds guided tours, 3D maps, a random button, and lots more. Read more…

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It’s been just about a month since Pandora unveiled its attempt at building full-fledged, on-demand streaming music service. Aside from a handful of bugs, the big problem with Pandora Premium was that it was invite only. That’s changing today: Pandora Premium is now available for anyone to try. Like just about every other streaming music service, it’ll run you $9.99 per month and the app is available for Android and iOS (a web version of Pandora’s on-demand service is coming soon). If you didn’t catch the news in March, Pandora Premium has a few notable features that set it apart from the competition. If you put a few songs into a playlist, the app will use Pandora’s Music Genome Project to automatically add sonically similar tunes. If you’ve been using Pandora for a long time, it’ll draw on your listening history and “thumbs-up” songs to build you custom playlists and recommend new releases that are tailored specifically to your music history. And from a design perspective, Pandora is one of the simplest and best-looking streaming music services I’ve tried. There are a number of kinks that need to be worked out, but there’s enough good stuff going on in Pandora Premium that I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see how the service improves over time. Pandora’s also putting some cash and big names behind its new service to make sure it doesn’t get lost amidst Spotify, Apple Music and all the rest. The company’s “Sounds Like You” campaign will feature 18 different artists including Big Sean, Gorillaz , Questlove, 2 Chainz, Halsey, Keith Urban, Maggie Rogers, Pitbull, Ziggy Marley and a bunch more. That’s a lot of star power to throw behind its new service — here’s hoping that all the artists involved don’t pull their music from other streaming services. While an ad campaign isn’t generally all that exciting, Pandora did confirm that they’ll be hosting exclusive “mixtapes” from each of the 18 artists involved in the campaign that feature the songs that have inspired them the most over the years. So if you want to know what drove Gorillaz to get as weird as they are, you’ll want to tune in to these mixes. If you’re ready to give Pandora Premium a try, the company is offering either 30 or 60 days for free, depending on where you sign up. Signing up on Pandora’s site will net you the longer free trial and lower monthly price, as the company charges more when you sign up inside the app itself — thank Apple and its 30 percent cut from subscriptions for that. And if you’ve been paying for the $5 Pandora Plus service, you’ll get a whopping six months of Premium at that same price point. Considering how much more you get with Premium, doing that is basically a no-brainer. Pandora hasn’t tweaked anything else over the last month, but we should see the app get some tweaks and improvements in the coming months, as well.

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This Alien Worm-Creature Will Haunt Your Nightmares

Posted by kenmay on April - 18 - 2017

New species are discovered frequently, but this creature is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Called the giant shipworm, it lives inside a long shell where it consumes noxious chemicals at the bottom of muddy lagoons. An international team of scientists are now the first to study this elusive animal in the flesh, but… Read more…

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New submitter nyman19 writes: Ars Technica reports how security vendor Cylance has been distributing non-functioning malware samples to prospective customers in order to “close the sale[s] by providing files that other products wouldn’t detect” According to the report: “A systems engineer at a large company was evaluating security software products when he discovered something suspicious. One of the vendors [Cylance] had provided a set of malware samples to test — 48 files in an archive stored in the vendor’s Box cloud storage account. The vendor providing those samples was Cylance, the information security company behind Protect, a ‘next generation’ endpoint protection system built on machine learning. In testing, Protect identified all 48 of the samples as malicious, while competing products flagged most but not all of them. Curious, the engineer took a closer look at the files in question — and found that seven weren’t malware at all.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Coachella is always full of surprises (like when Radiohead quit earlier this week after audio problems), but this year’s biggest surprise seems to have happened far away from the main stage. On Friday, a New York man was arrested after allegedly stealing more than 100 cell phones from concert attendees in one of the… Read more…

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CBS adds movies to its All Access streaming library

Posted by kenmay on April - 18 - 2017

While we patiently wait for the network to finally deliver Star Trek: Discovery , CBS has been slowly growing its in-house All Access streaming service. In the past few months, CBS has added live TV , NFL games and the Grammies to its event lineup, but now its on-demand selection is getting its own upgrade with the addition of full-length movies. As TechCrunch notes , CBS quietly rolled out the new section last week and only offers a small selection of 18 films licensed from Paramount Studios at the moment. Although the company plans to grow the lineup in the near future, current choices include Election , Rosemary’s Baby and Up in the Air . Anyone who needs a classic Star Trek fix will probably be delighted to learn a number of those films are included, even as they’ve suddenly disappeared from Netflix in the US. For now, CBS is hoping the latest entry to the Star Trek franchise, as well as its Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight , will be enough to start luring more users to the service. The president of CBS Interactive Marc DeBevoise recently told New York Magazine that the company plans to branch out into even more original content this year, but they’re still trying to find the sweet spot that will drive users to pay for “a premium version of CBS.” As for the release date for Discovery , DeBevoise says production is “going great, ” but wouldn’t commit to a fall premiere. Via: TechCrunch Source: Cord Cutters News

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Stealing phones at Coachella is nothing new. My daughter had hers stolen a few years ago, and when I mentioned it to someone I ran into at the supermarket, she said her son’s phone had been stolen that year as well. And then a stranger who overheard us piped in that her son had also lost his phone to an “Apple picker,” as she referred to the thief. But this year, when a gentleman from New York swept through the festival picking phones from oblivious Coachella goers, a few people turned to Find My iPhone for help. The app led them to 36-year-old Reinaldo De Jesus Henao with a backpack stuffed with phones. According to NBC San Diego : The crime spree was discovered when several people noticed their phones were missing and activated the “Find My Phone” feature, police said. Those signals led the victims to Henao. Security guards detained him and when Indio police arrived they found more than 100 phones in Henao’s backpack, according to police. Some of the phones were returned to the victims that day or the next. Image by iphonedigital

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