Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for September 1st, 2017

schwit1 shares a report from Seeker: An ice-free corridor between the Americas and Asia opened up about 12, 500 years ago, allowing humans to cross over the Bering land bridge to settle what is now the United States and places beyond to the south. History books have conveyed that information for years to explain how the Americas were supposedly first settled by people, such as those from the Clovis culture. At least one part of the Americas was already occupied by humans before that time, however, says new research on the skeleton of a male youth found in Chan Hol cave near Tulum, Mexico. Dubbed the Young Man of Chan Hol, the remains date to 13, 000 years ago, according to a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE. How he arrived at the location remains a great mystery given the timing and the fact that Mexico is well over 4, 000 miles away from the Bering land crossing. For the new study, Gonzalez, Stinnesbeck, and their colleagues dated the Young Man of Chan Hol’s remains by analyzing the bones’ uranium, carbon, and oxygen isotopes, which were also found in stalagmite that had grown through the pelvic bone. The scientists believe that the resulting age of 13, 000 years could apply to at least two other skeletons found in caves around Tulum: a teenage female named Naia and a 25-30-year-old female named Eve of Naharon. Gonzalez said that the shape of the skulls suggests that Eve and the others “have more of an affinity with people from Southeast Asia.” He and his team further speculated that the individuals could have originated in Indonesia. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Linux Desktop Market Share Crosses 3%

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

Data for the month of August 2017 from reliable market analytics firm Net Applications is here, and it suggests that Linux has finally surpassed the three percent mark, quite possibly for the first time in recent years. According to Net Applications, the desktop market share of Linux jumped from 2.53 percent in July to 3.37 percent in August. There’s no explanation for what amounted for this growth. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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XYZPrinting announces a $3,000 full-color 3D printer

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

 Full-color 3D printing at home has long been a wild-eyed dream of consumers and hobbyists alike. Thus far it’s been fun to print out little trinkets in a single color, but to create something more akin to a painted action figure would be a game-changer. And, thanks to inkject technology, we just might have reached that milestone. XYZprinting, the maker of the popular Da Vinci line of… Read More

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A Canadian University Gave $11 Million To a Scammer

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

A Canadian university transferred more than $11 million CAD (around $9 million USD) to a scammer that university staff believed to be a vendor in a phishing attack, a university statement published on Thursday states. From a report: Staff at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta became aware of the fraud on Wednesday, August 23, the statement says. According to the university, the attacker sent a series of emails that convinced staff to change payment details for a vendor, and that these changes resulted in the transfer of $11.8 million CAD into bank accounts that the school has traced to Canada and Hong Kong. The school is working with authorities in Edmonton, Montreal, London, and Hong Kong, the statement reads. According to the university, its IT systems were not compromised and no personal or financial information was stolen. A phishing scam is not technically a “hack, ” it should be noted, and only requires the attacker to convince the victim to send money. The school’s preliminary investigation found that “controls around the process of changing vendor banking information were inadequate, and that a number of opportunities to identify the fraud were missed.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Looks like that leak was right , after all. Microsoft announced today at IFA that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will officially launch on October 17th. It’s the fourth major addition to the OS, and it follows the Creators Update from earlier this year. The biggest change? It’ll give us our first taste of Windows Mixed Reality, the company’s VR platform that’s powered by inexpensive headsets from the likes of Dell, HP , Lenovo and ASUS . And if you don’t have a headset, you’ll also be able to check out some experiences in 2D with the Mixed Reality Viewer. According to executive vice president of Windows and devices Terry Myerson, the Fall Creators Update will also support eye-tracking, which makes it easier for those who can’t use their limbs to navigate the OS. This is particularly useful for those suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, Myerson said at an IFA keynote today. Unfortunately, the Timeline feature Microsoft showed off at Build won’t be ready in time for the Fall Creators Update . Similar to Apple’s Handoff, it lets you continue your work across a wide variety of devices. Notably, that doesn’t just mean Windows 10 computers — it’ll also bring over some of what you’re doing to iOS and Android, as well. The update will also mark the debut of the new Windows Fluent Design System, which aims to upgrade the look and feel of the OS and apps. It won’t be a huge visual change, but it should be the start of a slightly slicker-looking Windows. Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here! Cherlynn Low contributed reporting.

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FDA approves first gene therapy for certain leukemia patients

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

Enlarge / Scanning electron micrograph of a human T cell. (credit: NIAID/NIH ) For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a therapy that involves genetically engineering a patient’s own cells, the agency announced Wednesday . The therapy, called Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) by Novartis, will be used to reprogram the immune cells of pediatric and young adult patients with a certain type of leukemia, called B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. During a 22-day out-of-body retraining, patients’ immune cells—specifically T cells that patrol the body and destroy enemies—get a new gene that allows them to identify and attack the leukemia cells. Such therapies, called CAR-T therapies, have shown potential for effectively knocking back cancers in several trials, raising hopes of researchers and patients alike. But they come with severe safety concerns —plus potentially hefty price tags. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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China Plans 600 MPH Train To Rival Elon Musk’s Hyperloop

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

In addition to relaunching the world’s fastest bullet train, China is working on developing technology similar to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, which will allow passengers to travel at speeds up to 4, 000 km/h (~2, 500 mph). The first stage of the company’s plan, however, will be to create a network of these “flying trains” operating at 1, 000 km/h (~600 mph). Shanghaiist reports: Earlier today, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), one of the nation’s major space contractors, announced that it had begun research and development into a new, futuristic type of transport which would operate via supersonic “near ground flight.” The system would presumably be similar to that of the Hyperloop, proposed earlier this decade by Elon Musk, in which capsules would fly at ultrafast speeds down reduced-pressure tubes, dramatically reducing travel times. Of course, the CASIC isn’t looking to reach speeds of 4, 000 km/h right away. The first stage of the company’s plan will be to create an intercity network of these “flying trains” operating at 1, 000 km/h. In the second phase, this network would be extended and the max speed of the pods increased to 2, 000 km/h. Finally, in the third stage, the speed would be boosted all the way up to 4, 000 km/h — five times the speed of civil aviation aircraft today. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Cummins Unveils Electric Semi Truck Before Tesla

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

Cummins has beat Tesla to the punch by unveiling its own electric semi truck. According to Forbes, the fully electric, class 7 day-cab urban hauler, called Aeos, gets 100 miles of range from its 140-kWh battery pack and can haul a 22-ton trailer. While the company does offer the options of additional battery packs to triple the range or a range-extending engine generator, the Aeos is better suited for city use rather than long-haul trucking. Autoblog reports: While this electric truck is a concept, it’s a working demonstration of a product Cummins plans to start producing in 2019. At the unveiling in Columbus, Ind., Cummins also revealed its latest near-zero-emissions natural gas engines, as well as the X15 and lightweight X12 clean diesel engines. The company said it is embracing new technologies that allow its customers to contribute to a sustainable future. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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SanDisk crams 400GB into a microSD card

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2017

SanDisk just unveiled a 400GB microSD card, which it claims is the world’s biggest. Really, it was only a matter of time until something of this stature arrived. Especially, now that we’re capturing every aspect of our daily lives in glorious 4K , in 360-degrees , and from drones way up high. All those high-res images are taking up a lot of space on our devices. Therefore, storage providers had to step it up, which brings us to this miniature marvel. The 400GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card (yes, it’s a mouthful) comes two years after the release of its 200GB predecessor . The company claims it can rack up transfer speeds of 100MB, meaning you can expect to move up to 1, 200 photos per minute. It also meets the A1 App Performance Class specification, allowing it to load apps faster. Ultimately, it can hold up to 40 hours of full HD video. That all sounds enticing, but it comes at a hefty price: The microSD card will set you back $250. For that money, you get 144GB more storage than any other microSD card out there. There were rumblings of a 512GB microSD card hitting the market this year (courtesy of Microdia ), but we’ve not heard anything recently. Plus, that half-a-terabyte of storage was going to set you back $1, 000 — which makes SanDisk’s card look cheap in comparison. All you iPhone owners feeling left out right now, SanDisk has your back. Well, kinda. The company’s also dropping a new local storage dock for Apple’s handset. Just plug your iPhone into the SanDisk iXpand Base to backup your files, with up to 256GB of storage (for $200). Additional versions include 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB storage, with prices starting from $50. Source: Business Wire (press release) , Business Wire (press release)

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The folks over at Bloomberg got their hands on some images of the next iPhone as well as some information from people familiar with the new model. Some of the features confirmed in their report were already known or at least heavily suspected, but there are also some new details about how the phone will function without the home button. As has been reported before, the images viewed by Bloomberg show that the iPhone 8 will have thin bezels and a larger screen than the iPhone 7. It’s also going to have a facial recognition sensor that, along with the earpiece and front-facing camera, will be contained in a cutout at the top of the screen. Some other physical details include rounded edges for the screen, a longer power button, a glass front and back and stainless steel edges with antenna cuts on the corners. The app dock is also getting a redesign and looks a lot like the iPad iOS 11 dock, according to Bloomberg . But one of the bigger changes — the removal of the home button that’s been a part of the phone for a decade — comes with some tweaks to how users will access the features that the home button has brought them to in the past. Now, what was once the home button’s function is going the way of the iPad and Apple’s laptop trackpads. Gesture controls will now bring you to the main app grid and show you which apps are open. The bottom of the screen will host a software bar that can be dragged upwards to open the phone and also to get to the multitasking interface once the phone is unlocked. The new iPhone is expected to launch on September 12th alongside the 7s and 7s Plus models. Source: Bloomberg

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