Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for May 11th, 2017

One of the more intriguing features Microsoft will include in this fall’s Windows 10 Creators Update is Timeline. As the name suggests, it’s a way for you to move backwards in time and see things you were working on in the past and resume what you were doing. Microsoft described it as a visual timeline of everything you were doing on your computer, and you can jump back into files, applications and websites where you left off. Introducing Timeline. Easily jump back in time to continue where you left off. #Windows10 #MSBuild pic.twitter.com/e3gxhXnp6W — Windows (@Windows) May 11, 2017 Timeline lives in the Windows app switcher. When you click it, you’ll see your active apps, but below that you’ll see what you were running earlier in the day. Clicking down on one of those things that you were using earlier will pop it open just as you were using it before. This works across multiple devices, as well — when you open up another Windows device where you’re signed in, you can resume the tasks you were using before. This will even work across other devices like an iPhone using the Cortana app. If you’re somewhere where you have Cortana, it’ll prompt you to continue working on whatever you were doing before. If you don’t have the specific app installed on your phone, it’ll help point you to the right app as well. At first glance, it sounds a little bit like the Time Machine backup feature that Apple has included in macOS for years now. But Time Machine is more of a file backup system that lets you go back and see earlier versions of files that you might want to restore. Microsoft’s Timeline covers applications and websites as well as just files, and it doesn’t require an external hard drive, as it’s not really a true backup system in the way Time Machine is. Indeed, Timeline appears more like Microsoft’s answer to Continuity, a feature Apple build into macOS and iOS that lets you pick up and resume work across whatever Apple device you’re using. Timeline is just one feature in the forthcoming Creators Update, which features a host of tools for using Microsoft’s software and services across devices. The “Microsoft Graph” set of APIs will let you pick up and continue work across multiple devices and will iOS and Android as well as Windows. It’ll also let you have a “universal clipboard” across your devices. Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft Build 2017.

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Reddit Users Lose Real Money After Meme Currency Bot Dies

Posted by kenmay on May - 11 - 2017

Another day, another cryptocurrency clusterfuck. This week, the creator of the tipping bot “dogetipbot”—a service that let Reddit users “tip” each other in Dogecoin— announced that his company is broke, he’s broke, and the bot is broke because he spent all the coins, after he himself ran out of money. Read more…

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An anonymous reader writes: A confidential computer project designed to break military codes was accidentally made public by New York University engineers. An anonymous digital security researcher identified files related to the project while hunting for things on the internet that shouldn’t be, The Intercept reported. He used a program called Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices, to locate the project. It is the product of a joint initiative by NYU’s Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing, headed by the world-renowned Chudnovsky brothers, David and Gregory, the Department of Defense, and IBM. Information on an exposed backup drive described the supercomputer, called — WindsorGreen — as a system capable of cracking passwords. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bikers interested in going green have reason to rejoice today. Harley-Davidson has already shown off its prototype Livewire electric bike, and it’s promised to offer you a real one in the next five years . Today, the motorcycle manufacturer said it has plans to make 100 new motorcycles over the next 10 years, including an entire range of electric vehicles. Vice president Bill Davidson confirmed that electric bikes are Harley-Davidson’s future to Drive magazine while in Sydney to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary in Australia. While an electric Harley won’t have the signature engine boom that its combustion-powered bikes have, Davidson said that the company is working on a sound that he likens to a jet engine. “It is an amazing motorcycle, ” he told Drive . “While it doesn’t have a 45-degree, pushrod twin-cylinder engine it has the performance expected from a Harley Davidson even if it won’t sound the same, ” he said. So far, we’ve only seen the one Livewire concept model with a limited top speed and range, it’s likely thHarleyely-Davidson will create both sport and cruiser-style bikes to appeal to both the speed freaks and the touring bikers. Davidson noted that as automated cars become more ubiquitous, driving enthusiasts may turn to motorcycles to get their manual fix, telling Drive , “I think the more automatic cars [happen], motorcycling will become more appealing. I see it as a huge opportunity.” Via: Autoblog Source: Drive

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An anonymous reader writes: A recently released draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s digital identity guidelines has met with approval by vendors. The draft guidelines revise password security recommendations and altering many of the standards and best practices security professionals use when forming policies for their companies. The new framework recommends, among other things: “Remove periodic password change requirements.” There have been multiple studies that have shown requiring frequent password changes to actually be counterproductive to good password security, said Mike Wilson, founder of PasswordPing. NIST said this guideline was suggested because passwords should be changed when a user wants to change it or if there is indication of breach. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Thanks to advances in medicine, bone marrow transplants are no longer the last resorts they one were. Every year, thousands of marrow transplants are performed, a common treatment for ailments from bone marrow disease to leukemia. But because they first require a patient undergo radiation to kill off any existing bone… Read more…

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Conventional wisdom: If you eat a lot of salt, you will get thirsty to dilute the sodium level in your blood. The excess salt will be excreted in your urine. But a new study of Russian cosmonauts is challenging this long-held belief. When the cosmonauts ate more salt, the became less thirsty. And their appetite increased – they had to eat 25 percent more to maintain their weight. From the New York Times : The crew members were increasing production of glucocorticoid hormones, which influence both metabolism and immune function. To get further insight, [Dr. Jens Titze, now a kidney specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research in Erlangen, Germany] began a study of mice in the laboratory. Sure enough, the more salt he added to the animals’ diet, the less water they drank. And he saw why. The animals were getting water — but not by drinking it. The increased levels of glucocorticoid hormones broke down fat and muscle in their own bodies. This freed up water for the body to use. But that process requires energy, Dr. Titze also found, which is why the mice ate 25 percent more food on a high-salt diet. The hormones also may be a cause of the strange long-term fluctuations in urine volume. Scientists knew that a starving body will burn its own fat and muscle for sustenance. But the realization that something similar happens on a salty diet has come as a revelation. https://youtu.be/aJEzl31zL-I

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Antarctica’s ‘Dragon Skin’ Ice Is Incredible

Posted by kenmay on May - 11 - 2017

Dragon skin ice sounds like something you’d encounter beyond The Wall in the Game of Thrones fantasy realm. But good news nerds, you can find this magical-sounding stuff right here on Earth—though you’ve gotta be lucky, and willing to travel to some of the most hostile environments on the planet. Like the team of… Read more…

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New submitter troublemaker_23 quotes a report from ITWire: Only 36% of software engineers in India can write compilable code based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world, the Indian skills assessment company Aspiring Minds says in a report. The report is based on a sample of 36, 800 from more than 500 colleges across India. Aspiring Minds said it used the automated tool Automata which is a 60-minute test taken in a compiler integrated environment and rates candidates on programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. “We find that out of the two problems given per candidate, only 14% engineers are able to write compilable codes for both and only 22% write compilable code for exactly one problem, ” the study said. It further found that of the test subjects only 14.67% were employable by an IT services company. When it came to writing fully functional code using the best practices for efficiency and writing, only 2.21% of the engineers studied made the grade. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Traffic. We all hate it, but what can honestly be done to significantly reduce it? Well, according to an experiment conducted by the university of Illinois, simply introducing a few self-driving cars to roads could be the answer. Conducting experiments in Tucson, Arizona the team discovered that even adding a single autonomous vehicle to the roads can massively reduce traffic. They programmed a self-driving car to loop a track continuously and then added 20 other human-driven cars to the mix. While humans somehow naturally create stop-and-go traffic even without lane changes or other disruptions, thanks to the robotic racer, both traffic and fuel consumption were reduced by 40 percent. This isn’t the first example of modern tech helping to reduce congestion. With fixed traffic sensors widely swapped for navigation systems using GPS data, Professor Daniel B. Work believes that automated cars could be the next step — replacing the traffic-reducing variable speed limits. The next stage of the experiment is to test autonomous cars in situations where both human and AI drivers have to change lanes. From our experience with freeways, we already feel bad for the robot cars. Still, this isn’t the only way that drivers can use automation to reduce traffic. With the margin of human error being so high, the same study suggests that even existing tech like adaptive cruise control has the power to greatly reduce the amount of traffic on our roads. With many people understandably wary at the prospect of roads completely ruled by automated cars, the idea of mixing a few with regular vehicles seems like a good way to pilot the risky tech. Via: Phys.org Source: Cornell University Library

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