Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for August 23rd, 2017

Elon Musk Reveals SpaceX’s New, Functioning Spacesuit

Posted by kenmay on August - 23 - 2017

When you think of spacesuits, you probably picture the Michelin-man-style bulky numbers that astronauts wear on spacewalks. But both Boeing and now SpaceX have designed slimmer spacesuits meant to be worn inside of spacecraft. These don’t have the ballistic protection (required for meteorite particles) that spacewalk-capable suits possess, but they are pressurized and will protect the wearer in case the vessel depressurizes. Early this morning/late last night, Elon Musk Instagrammed this image of SpaceX ‘s newly-designed suit: Here’s Boeing’s suit , meant to be worn by astronauts in their CST-100 Starliner : The SpaceX suit is more stylish, but the Boeing suit’s helmet clearly offers better peripheral vision. I also have to laud Boeing’s designers for having the supreme self-restraint to not place the pressurization ports directly where the wearer’s nipples are. I wouldn’t have been able to help myself.

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Daddy longlegs drop their limbs to escape predators

Posted by kenmay on August - 23 - 2017

In elementary school, I knew a boy who would impress us by pulling the legs off a daddy longlegs and popping the body in his mouth. I think he would appreciate this Deep Look video about how daddy longlegs can drop up to three of its limbs when threatened by a predator and still survive.

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Apple could announce the next iPhone on September 12

Posted by kenmay on August - 23 - 2017

 Mark down September 12 in your calendar as Apple could be unveiling the next iPhone at 9 AM on that day. Mac4Ever wrote a report saying that it confirmed with telecom companies that Apple should hold a press event on September 12. This wouldn’t be a big surprise as Apple has been announcing new iPhones every September since 2012. Apple also always holds press conferences on Tuesday for… Read More

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Enlarge (credit: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images News ) Six Southern Californians have been arrested for being involved in one of the largest drug rings on the now-shuttered Silk Road and AlphaBay . Prosecutors accuse them of selling over $7 million worth of narcotics on the two notorious underground websites. According to a newly-issued criminal complaint , which was filed in federal court in Fresno, California, last Thursday, five men and one woman were connected to the AlphaBay account operating under the name “HumboldtFarms.” Previously, one of the alleged male conspirators had apparently operated under “PureFireMeds” account on Silk Road before that site was seized and closed down by law enforcement in October 2013. On AlphaBay, which was taken down by federal investigators in July 2017, HumboldtFarms became “one of the largest vendors,” authorities said in a statement . Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: portal gda ) At least 500 apps collectively downloaded more than 100 million times from Google’s official Play Market contained a secret backdoor that allowed developers to install a range of spyware at any time, researchers said Monday. The apps contained a software development kit called Igexin, which makes it easier for apps to connect to ad networks and deliver ads that are targeted to the specific interests of end users. Once an app using a malicious version of Igexin was installed on a phone, the developer kit could update the app to include spyware at any time, with no warning. The most serious spyware installed on phones were packages that stole call histories, including the time a call was made, the number that placed the call, and whether the call went through. Other stolen data included GPS locations, lists of nearby Wi-Fi networks, and lists of installed apps. In a blog post published Monday , researchers from mobile security company Lookout wrote: Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Verizon’s new unlimited plans throttle video all the time

Posted by kenmay on August - 23 - 2017

Verizon’s revival of the unlimited data plan was supposed to be a good thing: it was bringing back worry-free service that let you use your smartphone as much as you like. Unfortunately, the carrier is making things complicated again. In the wake of tests that capped streaming video speeds , Verizon is splitting its unlimited access into multiple plans that face new restrictions. As of August 23rd, the standard Go Unlimited plan costs $5 less than before at $75 per month (if you use AutoPay), but you’re limited to streaming video at 480p on phones and 720p on tablets — shades of T-Mobile , anyone? The $80 prepaid plan and the Business plan cap you at 480p, too. The bigger issue is with the $85 Beyond Unlimited plan. Despite paying a premium, you’re limited to 720p streaming on phones and 1080p on tablets. Yes, that means that 1080p phone streaming (and any streaming higher than 1080p) is off the table regardless of how much you’re willing to pay. The carrier says there’s “no visible difference” in quality at those resolutions, but, well, that’s just not true. It might not be a night-and-day quality change, but you’re bound to notice if you have a large device like a Galaxy S8 Plus or a newer iPad Pro . The basic plan gives you unlimited hotspot access, but only at a pokey 600Kbps. You can spring for the business or Beyond plans to get LTE speeds, but only for the first 10GB or 15GB, respectively. And if you regularly visit Canada or Mexico, you’ll need to go to Beyond to use your service in those countries as you would at home. You’re grandfathered into a previous unlimited plan if you have one, and you’ll actually get 5GB more data at LTE speeds (15GB total) than you did before. However, even those older plans will be subject to the same throttling as new customers, so the only reason to hold on is to save money over the Beyond Unlimited plan. The carrier explains its move to Ars Technica as “managing our network” in a way that lets bring unlimited data “to more people.” That’s not completely unwarranted: OpenSignal found that average LTE speeds on Verizon dropped after the move to unlimited, so it’s clear that some people are using data so often that they’re bogging down the network. It’s still a step backwards for many customers, though, and the throttling at all tiers means you’ll still have to hunt for WiFi to get the best possible quality. It’s technically unlimited service, but it sure won’t feel like that in practice. Via: TechCrunch , The Verge Source: Ars Technica

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