Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why you should turn off your Bluetooth right now


In case you needed another reason to fear for your phone's security: Your phone, computer, smartwatch, and smart home devices are at risk of being hacked whenever bluetooth is on. 

The vulnerability, known as BlueBorne, was discovered by security research firm Armis. The researchers were able to infiltrate a Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy phones, an LG Sports Watch, and a car audio system by attacking Bluetooth, according to the report. The researchers were able to remotely steal data from the devices and take control of their cameras. 

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

The iPhone 8 and iPhone X will support fast charging, but only over USB-C

Tucked in among the details for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X is the fact that the new devices will support fast charging. Apple claims its new phones can recharge up to 50 percent of their battery life in a 30-minute charge. But there's a catch: you have to use USB-C, as spotted by 9to5Mac.

That's because Apple is using USB Power Delivery — one of the various USB-C charging specifications — to provide fast charging on the new phones. It's a feature the company has also offered on its newest iPads as well; both the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the updated 12.9-inch model supported the option when they were released earlier this year. And it's hard to fault Apple for actually adhering to an industry standard here, instead of coming up with its own...

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How the Tesla Model 3 Works without a Key or a Fob

2018 Tesla Model 3


While much of the hype around the Tesla Model 3 centers around its all-electric powertrain, long driving range, and (relative) affordability, it’s possible that the biggest innovation in the Model 3 is the way you get in and go.


Tesla has wrapped a new-tech feature into the Model 3 that should make things a bit more convenient for owners. Instead of having a regular key fob like current Tesla vehicles (and basically every other luxury car), Tesla owners will be able to unlock and start their cars simply by having their smartphones with them.


2018 Tesla Model 3


It’s unlikely that most Model 3 owners will go anywhere without their phones, so it makes sense to build the vehicle’s key into that device. The Model 3 uses a technology called Bluetooth Low Energy (or LE) that is built into most smartphones made in the past few years (and every iPhone since the iPhone 4S). It allows for a low-power, always-on connection between the phone and the car. When you walk toward the Model 3 with your phone, the car and the phone talk to each other and authenticate, and the car unlocks the doors.


Of course “smart” keys aren’t new. Mercedes began using electronic keyless systems 20 years ago, but it still required the driver to haul around a key fob or a credit-card-size card.


2018 Tesla Model 3


Tesla has you covered if the phone dies. The Model 3 comes with a credit-card-size backup key—handy for valet parking—that uses a relatively new technology called near-field communication or NFC; it’s the same tech that allows tap-to-pay iPhone and Android transactions at retailers. If the phone doesn’t work for any reason, the card can be tapped against a spot on the car’s B-pillar to unlock the car. Then, there’s a spot on the center console where the key can be stored, just behind the cupholders, allowing the car to be driven as normal.

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Tesla isn’t the only company experimenting with a digital key—Volvo plans to offer it in some markets beginning next year—but it is the first company to roll it out as standard on what’s intended to be a mass-produced, mass-market car.



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A11 Bionic Chip in iPhone 8 and iPhone X on Par With 13-Inch MacBook Pro, Outperforms iPad Pro

The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X are equipped with a six-core A11 chip, which Apple says brings some major improvements over the A10 chip in the iPhone 7. The chip features two performance cores and four efficiency cores.

Early Geekbench scores for iPhone X and iPhone 8 devices suggest that not only does the new A11 significantly outperform the A10, it beats the A10X Fusion in the iPad Pro and it is on par with the chips in Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Pro models.

In 12 Geekbench scans, the A11 chip saw an average single-core score of 4169, and an average multi-core score of 9836. Some individual scores were much higher, though, with single-core scores topping out at 4274 and multi-core scores at 10438.

A single A11 Geekbench score
Comparatively, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro with A10 Fusion chip has an average Geekbench single-core score of 3887 and a multi-core score of 9210. Apple's highest-end dual-core 3.5GHz 13-inch 2017 MacBook Pro has a single-core score of 4592 and a multi-core score of 9602, suggesting the A11 outperforms it on multi-core tasks and comes close on single-core tasks.

Geekbench average for 10.5-inch iPad Pro with A10X Fusion
Performance is even better stacked up against the lower-end 2017 MacBook Pro models. The 2.3GHz machine has scores of 4321/9183 and the 3.1GHz machine has scores of 4227/8955.

Average Geekbench score for high-end 3.5GHz 13-inch MacBook Pro
On paper, the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus will offer significantly better performance than the iPhone 7. The iPhone 7 has an average single-core Geekbench score of 3327 and a multi-core score of 5542.

Average Geekbench score for iPhone 7 with A10 Fusion chip
According to Apple, the performance cores in the A11 chip are 25 percent faster than the A10 chip, while the efficiency cores are 70 percent faster than the A10 chip. The A11 chip is better at multi-threaded tasks because a second-generation performance controller is able to harness all six of the cores simultaneously.

MacRumors spoke to Geekbench's John Poole, who said he believes the A11 benchmarks are real. Poole believes the two high performance cores in the A11 are running at 2.5GHz, up from 2.34GHz in the A10. The 24MHz reading is an anomaly.

Though the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 offer impressive Geekbench scores, how that translates to real world performance remains to be seen. According to analyst Dan Matte, IPC (instructions per cycle) improvements are "relatively modest" and Geekbench scores should be ignored.
If you subtract out the efficiency gains from removing 32-bit support, you're left with maybe very roughly a 15% improvement in CPU IPC for the big cores, assuming equivalent clocks to the A10. Apple could have pushed performance and efficiency further, if not for 10FF being really bad. The era of the hyper Moore's Law curve in mobile is officially over, in my opinion, though maybe the A10 already signaled that. It's all rough sledding from here on out, based on the state of foundry challenges.
The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X all adopt the A11 chip, so with the iPhone 8 models set to launch next week, the improvements introduced in the A11 will become more clear.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X

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Here’s Elon Musk’s SpaceX blooper reel

“Technically it did land... but not in one piece.” Elon Musk has posted a long-awaited blooper reel of SpaceX’s failed orbital rocket booster which features plenty of explosions and fire. The tongue-in-cheek video is set to Sousa’s Liberty Bell (more popularly known as the Monty Python theme song) and shows a range of rockets falling over, crashing, and exploding throughout the past few years. One sequence shows a burnt out rocket with the caption, “it’s just a scratch.”

The video is captioned with reasons for each failed episode, which includes running out of hydraulic fluid, running out of liquid oxygen, a sticky throttle valve, and engine sensor failure among them. If you’re into explosions and space, it’s a really great video which...

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iPhone X vs. Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+

New Atlas compares the specs of Samsung's current flagships, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, with the ...

To celebrate 10 years of the iPhone, this week Apple announced the special anniversary edition, the iPhone X. Considering it comes with an eye-wateringly high price tag, let's see how it stacks up, specs-wise, with its main competitor, Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+.

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Apple’s iPhone X notch is an odd design choice

Apple’s new iPhone X has a spectacular edge-to-edge display that dominates the entire front of the device. Well, nearly the entire front. Unlike Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and LG’s V30, Apple hasn’t kept the iPhone X top bezel intact; and compared to the Essential Phone, its camera array is much, much more noticeable... and odd-looking.

While the iPhone X design was leaked several times before Apple was able to officially unveil it, the company revealed this week that it is fully embracing the notch and not hiding it away with software. It’s a move that has generated a lot of discussion online, both during the leaks and after Apple’s official announcement. Some say “Steve Jobs would have never let that happen,” while others...

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Broken wheels won't stop Curiosity from exploring Mars

pia19808-main_tight_crop-monday.jpgNASA's Curiosity Rover has been roaming around Mars for more than five years. In that time, it's sent back a ton of data about the red planet. Thanks to the robot, we know that the veins dotted around its craters were likely created by evaporating la...
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Facebook-backed Telecom Infra Project adds a new focus on millimeter wave tech for 5G

 The Telecom Infra Project (TIP), the Facebook-backed open-source hardware and software group of over 450 telecom stakeholders like Broadcom, Intel, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefonica, SK Telecom and Juniper Networks, today announced a new project group that will focus on millimeter wave networks. Read More
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Rolls-Royce planning autonomous naval ship for patrol, surveillance and mine detection

 Rolls-Royce is designing an autonomous naval ship capable of patrol, surveillance, mine detection and fleet screening. The latest version of the ship is 60m long and capable of traveling for 100 days. With a top speed above 25 knots, the ship maintains a range of 3,500 nautical miles. The company is banking on a future where large, human operated, ships operate in consonance with smaller… Read More
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