Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for August 18th, 2017

Porn site offers to revive ‘Sense 8’ for a third season

Posted by kenmay on August - 18 - 2017

Sense8 is one of the more creatively interesting shows available on just about any streaming service. The Wachowski-made Netflix show, now in its second and final season, tells the story of eight people with special powers using very human themes: love, belonging, gender, and (of course) sex. It’s that last bit there that interests internet porn site xHamster. The company sent an open letter to Lilly and Lana Wachowski offering to pick up the tab for an “actual revival of the series.” xHamster vice president Alex Hawkins writes that his company gets “more visitors daily than the New York Times , ESPN or the Daily Mail .” Hawkins also notes that xHamster has “the eyeballs, and the revenue” to produce the series, promising that xHamster would allow the team a full production budget free of competition from other shows. Further, he says, “we know that a series about polymorphous perversity is a hard sell for a mainstream network like Netflix.” Now there’s an understatement. While Sense8 isn’t only about non-normative, multi-partnered sexuality, the series does spend an equal amount of time on human beings who have sexual desires, something many other televisions shows that purport to tell our stories could learn from. Even xHamster knows it is “an unlikely home, ” but Hawkins is undeterred. “…five years ago, people laughed at the idea of Netflix producing original series, ” he writes. “We think that our time, like yours, has come.” Via: TV Guide Source: xHamster

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Bing is bigger than you think! #SEM #PPC #bingadswebcast pic.twitter.com/fFtEDvM634 — Bing Ads (@BingAds) August 17, 2017 We’ve known from Microsoft’s financial reports that Bing has been growing. The search engine became profitable in the third calendar quarter of 2015, and Microsoft says it has continued to grow both the market share and revenue-per-search since then. But how big is Bing? Via OnMSFT , Microsoft tweeted yesterday that it’s “bigger than you think” and provided some numbers that will probably be a surprise to many. The company claims that fully one-third of searches in the US are powered by Bing, either directly or through Yahoo or AOL (both of which provide results generated by Microsoft). Other strong markets include Taiwan, at 24 or 26 percent, and the UK, at either 23 or 25 percent (depending on which tweet you read). Globally, the company is claiming a 9-percent market share. Google is still the runaway winner, of course, but Microsoft’s numbers (using data from comScore) suggest that in at least some parts of the world, Bing is big enough to take note of. The real target for this kind of data is, of course, advertisers; by showing that Bing is actually being used by large numbers of people, Microsoft hopes that it will become more appealing to those wanting to advertise alongside search results. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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I learned to drive on a five-speed Datsun 280ZX that had 195/70 R14 tires. (If you don’t understand what those numbers mean, read this breakdown of tire codes .) Yes, 14-inch wheels sporting tires with high sidewalls. This was normal in the ’80s, but nowadays the rage is to have beefier rims with low-profile tires, a trend that I suspect was advanced by car renderings. Every automotive renderer seems to draw rims that threaten to bottom out inside the wheel wells, with only the faintest sliver of black to indicate there’s any rubber on them. Nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find 14″ wheels on any car claiming to offer sporty performance. Volkswagen’s GTI, as one example, comes standard with 15″ wheels, but I’m guessing most buyers ponying up for a GTI over the Golf upgrade to the 16″, 17″ or 18″ wheel options. Which wheel size is faster? Which size is preferred if you live in rainy Oregon versus dry Arizona? Which size offers more comfort, makes more noise, or handles better? To find out, Tyre Reviews tried out three different rim and tire sizes—225/45 R17, 225/40 R18, and 225/35 R19—on Goodyear’s test track in the south of France. Some of the results are surprising. By the bye, how brilliant are Goodyear’s executives for decreeing that their test track be located in the south of France?

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Daniela Forti’s stunning glass jellyfish tables

Posted by kenmay on August - 18 - 2017

Italian sculptor Daniela Forti makes gorgeous jellyfish tables from colored glass. Here’s a photo of how she creates the dramatic pieces, drawing out individual globs of glass into long tendrils: (more…)

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Crowdfunded reMarkable e-paper tablet ships on August 29

Posted by kenmay on August - 18 - 2017

 The idea of using technology to replicate the simplicity and versatility of paper is an enduring one, but no device has nailed it just yet. That may change with the reMarkable, a unique and ambitious tablet that aims to do what paper does, but better. And four years after the concept was first proposed, the team is finally shipping its first devices on August 29. Read More

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Map of local embroidery techniques in Pakistan

Posted by kenmay on August - 18 - 2017

As posted to twitter by Saima Mir , and likely sourced from Generation ; but who’s the artist?

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Bitcoin Is Forking. Again.

Posted by kenmay on August - 18 - 2017

Merely weeks after it was announced that Bitcoin was splitting into two separate entities, the initial version of bitcoin and it’s new “bitcoin cash, ” the network is adding a third version, according to a report. From the article: On Wednesday, a group of bitcoiners scheduled yet another split for the network in November, which would create a third version of bitcoin. So, what makes this version different from the others? Right now, the bitcoin network can sometimes take a long time to process transactions due to so many people using it. This is because the “blocks” of transaction data that get added to bitcoin’s public ledger, the blockchain, are getting full. In the weeks preceding the fork, bitcoin coalesced around a solution called “segregated witness, ” which will change how data is stored in blocks to free up some space when it kicks in later in August. But the size of the blocks themselves will stay at one megabyte on the original bitcoin blockchain. Still, some bitcoiners maintained that the only way to speed bitcoin up for the foreseeable future was to increase the size of blocks themselves. So, a group of bitcoin companies and developers got together and launched a fork called bitcoin cash, which does not include segregated witness. It bumped the size of blocks up to a maximum of eight megabytes. That fork was widely anticipated to be a failure before it happened, but at the time of writing, bitcoin cash is trading above $300 USD per coin, which is comparable to cryptocurrencies like ethereum. Sounds like everyone got what they wanted, right? Oh, no. There’s a third group of bitcoin developers, companies, and users who advocate for a “best of both worlds approach.” This group includes Bitmain, the largest bitcoin infrastructure company in the world, and legendary bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik. They got together back in May and signed what is known as the “New York Agreement, ” which bound them to implement a two megabyte block size increase alongside segregated witness via a hard fork within six months of the time of signing. They call the fork Segwit2x. Now, that’s exactly what’s happening. According to an announcement posted to the Segwit2x GitHub repository, a bitcoin block between one and two megabytes will be created at block 494, 784. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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According to iClarified, a hacker by name of “xerub” has posted the decryption key for Apple’s Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) firmware. “The security coprocessor was introduced alongside the iPhone 5s and Touch ID, ” reports iClarified. “It performs secure services for the rest of the SOC and prevents the main processor from getting direct access to sensitive data. It runs its own operating system (SEPOS) which includes a kernel, drivers, services, and applications.” From the report: The Secure Enclave is responsible for processing fingerprint data from the Touch ID sensor, determining if there is a match against registered fingerprints, and then enabling access or purchases on behalf of the user. Communication between the processor and the Touch ID sensor takes place over a serial peripheral interface bus. The processor forwards the data to the Secure Enclave but can’t read it. It’s encrypted and authenticated with a session key that is negotiated using the device’s shared key that is provisioned for the Touch ID sensor and the Secure Enclave. The session key exchange uses AES key wrapping with both sides providing a random key that establishes the session key and uses AES-CCM transport encryption. Today, xerub announced the decryption key “is fully grown.” You can use img4lib to decrypt the firmware and xerub’s SEP firmware split tool to process. Decryption of the SEP Firmware will make it easier for hackers and security researchers to comb through the SEP for vulnerabilities. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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PlayStation 4 Update 5.0 Officially Revealed

Posted by kenmay on August - 18 - 2017

After the PlayStation 4’s 5.0 update was leaked last week, Sony decided to officially reveal what’s coming in the update. GameSpot highlights the new features in their report: Some of the enhancements center around streaming using the PS4’s built-in broadcasting capabilities. PS4 Pro users will be able to stream in 1080p and 60 FPS, provided their connection is strong enough, and PSVR users will be able to see new messages and comments coming through while broadcasting. PSVR is also adding 5.1ch and 7.1ch virtual surround sound support. Next up, the PS4’s Friends List is being updated with greater management tools, such as the ability to set up separate lists of friends. You’ll be able to create a list of all the people you play Destiny with and send them all an invite, for example. This feature replaces the old Favorite Groups tab. In another move to help reduce the amount of time spent in menus, the Quick Menu is being updated to have more options. For example, you’ll be able to check on download progress and see new party invites. You can also leave a party from within that menu and see your current Spotify playlist. Notifications are also being improved when watching films and TV, as you can now disable message and other notification pop-ups while watching media. You can also change how much of a message is displayed, as well as its color, when playing or watching any form of content. Finally, Parental Control features are being overhauled in favor of what Sony calls “Family on PSN.” This replaces the old Master/Sub account system; instead, one user is deemed the Family Manager, and they can set up other accounts and appoint them as a Parent/Guardian, Adult, or Child. Parents or Guardians can restrict Child accounts in their “use of online features and communication with other players, set restrictions for games, restrict the use of the internet browser, and set spending limits for PlayStation Store.” Note that Sony says the first time any North American user tries to set up an Adult account, they will be charged $0.50 “to verify that you are an adult.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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