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26
Jun

Watch inside Soyuz as it blasts astronauts and furry toys to the space station


Astronauts sit in seats worse than coach on journeys to the International Space Station (ISS). A video released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on Monday proves it.

It shows the launch earlier this month of Soyuz MS-09 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Interior cameras offer a view of NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev, and ESA astronaut and flight engineer Alexander Gerst cooped up inside the Soyuz spacecraft as it heads toward the space-based outpost.

The video also includes the first-ever shots from cameras fixed to the exterior of the 50-meter-tall Soyuz rocket.

“The intense launch lasts less than 10 minutes whereby the Soyuz spacecraft is propelled 1,640 km (1020 miles) and gains 210 km (130 miles) altitude,” ESA said in notes accompanying the video. “Every second for nine minutes, the spacecraft accelerates 50 km/h (31 mph) on average as the rocket’s boosters burn their fuel and are discarded.”

As the astronauts experience forces of up to 4g (four times Earth’s pull), the Soyuz commander uses a stick to press buttons on the control panel as it’s too far to reach with his hand. The bags above their heads are full of supplies for the ISS, with ESA noting that “every bit of space is used” aboard the tiny spacecraft.

Oh, and you may be wondering what those little furry toys are doing there, dangling in front of the astronauts. Besides acting as mascots and good luck charms, they also offer an easy way for the crew to see when the spacecraft is in orbit, as they’ll start floating about in the weightless conditions. You can see it happen toward the end of the video.

Textbook launch

It was a textbook launch, with the Soyuz rocket propelling the astronauts to their cruising speed of around 28,800 km/h (17,895 mph).

But it was a challenging trip for the trio as they had to spend two days stuck inside the spacecraft as it orbited Earth a total of 34 times before arriving at the space station on Friday, June 8.

A faster 4-orbit/6-hour or a 2-orbit/3-hour journey is usually possible, but space station positioning requirements to ensure a daytime landing for the departing Soyuz MS-07 crew earlier in the launch week prevented the possibility of a speedier trip for the new crew, SpaceFlight.com reported.

Below are the key moments of the launch, with timings shown according to the timestamp at the bottom right of the video:

-00:12 Launch command issued
-00:10 Engine turbopumps at flight speed
-00:05 Engines at maximum thrust
00:00 Launch
+1:54 Separation of emergency rescue system
+1:57 First stage separation
+2:38 Fairing separation
+4:48 Second stage separation
+4:58 Tail adapter separation
+8:45 Third stage engine cut off having arrived in orbit
+8:49 Soyuz separation, deploy solar arrays and antennae

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26
Jun

How close are we to living in ‘The Jetsons’? Checking in on our smart-home future


In the fall of 1962, The Jetsons debuted in primetime on ABC-TV as the network’s first show to be broadcasted in color. It was the height of the Space Race, and Americans eagerly tuned in for a tantalizing view of the future.

This particular future was Orbit City in the year 2062. The Jetsons were a nuclear family that lived, worked, and went to school in buildings high above the clouds. They commuted in flying cars, benefitted from abundant technology, and Rosie the robot did much of their housekeeping.

Despite an original run that lasted just one season and 24 episodes, The Jetsons became synonymous with ‘the future’. Now, nearly 56 years later, some of the technology dreamed up in the cartoon is more present than future.

Although we probably won’t see flying cars anytime soon, some technologies have become part of our daily lives, and others are in development and on their way to being commonplace by 2062.

Let’s look at some of the most iconic smart home technology from the world of the Jetson family and see how it compares to what we have today.

Video Phones

Video calling is one of the most easily recognizable technologies from The Jetsons because it’s already here. Some of us use Facetime, Skype, and other video calling platforms daily; in fact, we often use the technology in place of attending work meetings. We use it to check in with family and friends. And as more and more people ditch traditional landline phones, this trend will only continue.

If anything, The Jetsons underestimated the potential in this market. Most of their video phone equipment is a lot bulkier than the compact, hand-held devices we use today. And with all the advances in virtual and augmented reality, it’s possible that we could someday soon experience our phone calls in 3D.

Robot Vacuum

The Jetson family enjoyed many time and labor-saving technologies — especially on the home front. Jane, the mother, merely touched a few buttons to deploy long robotic arms that washed and folded laundry to save hours of washing and cleaning. (Yet somehow, she still complained about doing housework). And while most domestic chores are still very hands-on in 2018, there’s at least one obvious device we have in common with the Jetsons: the robot vacuum.

Many have heard of robovacs like the Roomba, perhaps because of its high-profile cameos on the TV shows Breaking Bad and Parks and Recreation. Now there are many different brands on the market, and just like in The Jetsons, this battery powered vacuum can clean the floors and use its sensors to avoid furniture as well as steep drops.

Automatic Food Prep

In the cartoon, we oohed and awed at Jane Jetson’s ability to press a couple of buttons that automatically prepared a multi-course meal in a matter of seconds. In one episode, we see Jane push three or four buttons on a large square machine that shoots out cereal, milk, eggs, and toast for her son Elroy. What we don’t see is where the food is stored and how it gets prepared. We’d probably be pretty horrified by the preservatives and additives in the Jetson’s diet.

Of all Orbit City’s technologies, this one still feels the farthest away. In 2018 we certainly have some devices that eliminate time and labor in the kitchen, like smart coffee makers.

There are appliances out there that could soon replicate this technology, though not without preparation and planning. A product called Suvie promises to make an entire meal for a family. It resembles a toaster oven and has different trays for different cooking settings. You put food in in the morning, set it to cook, and come home at the end of the day with a three or four course meal. But the device hasn’t been released yet, and likely won’t become a standard product in the kitchen anytime soon.

Robots as Assistants

In the cartoon, Rosie, the Jetson’s walking, er, rolling, talking robot maid, handles all the chores that are too advanced for their push-button appliances. You know, like sweeping.

You can’t buy a Rosie in 2018, yet. But we do have voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, that use machine learning and voice recognition to help users accomplish tasks through their smartphones and other applications.

There are robots out there as well that might become part of the smart home experience someday. LG debuted several concept robots at the Consumer Electronic Show this year that serve food and carry baggages. Other companies are developing robotic technology for a whole host of different things.

If you combine this artificial intelligence with emerging mobile robotics technology and extrapolate 45 years of progress, you’ll see how the average home could have a Rosie-like robot assistant by 2062. Maybe.

Personal Care and Hygiene

Those of us who are slow movers in the morning appreciated the episode of The Jetsons where George is launched from his bed onto a conveyor belt, where robotic arms help him with dressing and grooming. This includes getting a vigorous tooth brushing from a faceless robotic arm protruding from the wall.

In some regards we are thankfully a long ways away from this lazy automation. However, today we have outsourced some of these tasks to technology. For example, electric toothbrushes are set for optimal brushing time and technique. There are even smart toilets available. Yep, smart toilets.

Orbit City wasn’t all it was cracked up to be

Despite the technology the creators dreamed up in The Jetsons, the future still had some of the same human experience themes we see in our lives today. George’s boss was a jerk, Elroy hated doing his homework, and the Jetson family often grew annoyed that the technology they had in place sometimes malfunctioned.

Whether or not we’ll actually see flying cars in our lifetime, one thing’s for certain: George, Jane, daughter Judy, Elroy, Astro the dog, and Rosie the Robot never knew how great they had it living in Orbit City.

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26
Jun

Techy sports we will all be watching in the (not-too-distant) future


Science fiction has kind of gotten our hopes up about the future of sport. Okay, so a lot of them look pretty dangerous, or downright dystopian, but who wouldn’t fancy tuning into the deadly transcontinental car race from Death Race 2000, Futuresport’s combination of rollerblading and hoverboards, or Star Trek: Voyager “Tsunkatse” combat sport?

Sadly, real life has yet to deliver any of these to our screens — but that’s not to say that tech isn’t changing sport as we know it. Move over FIFA World Cup; here are our picks for the future sports we totally think are going to be everywhere in a few years.

eSports

Aurelien Meunier/FIFA/Getty Images

Watching other people playing video games used to be something you only did when you had a group of friends over, and everyone was taking turns playing. Today, it’s a major, honest-to-goodness sport with some serious money — and viewership — behind it.

According to a recent report from marketing research company Newzoo, 2018 revenue for eSports is likely to hit $905 million, and to top $1 billion next year. Packed audiences will turn up to watch their favorite gamers compete live, while the rise of platforms like Twitch have helped take eSports to the next level. Heck, eSport superstars like Tyler “Ninja” Blevin can earn around $500,000 per month playing Fortnite. That’s more than some NBA players!

Particularly since the viewership of eSports is in the always-attractive-to-advertisers sub-35-years-old category, we only expect this field to go from strength-to-strength.

Bionic Olympics

Erik Tham/Getty Images

When it comes to sports, we have a complex relationship with performance enhancers. Most of us agree that things like steroids are bad, but we still love to see records broken on a regular basis in superhuman fashion. We admire the Rocky IV montage of Rocky Balboa sculpting his body to physical perfection with only the most basic tools, and yet those of us who love tech also lust after the high tech super-gym where Ivan Drago trains.

The truth is that, more and more, we’re all becoming cyborg creatures, blending man or woman and machine — and so are our athletes. With that in mind, we expect to see more events like the Cybathalon, a bionic Olympics which allows augmented humans (in this case, those with disabilities) to compete using the latest exosuit assistive tech. These assistive suits will allow athletes to be faster, stronger, and more agile — promising some exciting competition in the process.

Drone racing

“Roads?” asks Doc Brown at the end of Back to the Future. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” It’s a pertinent point here in 2018, when we’re on the verge of amazing technologies like autonomous flying taxis and self-driving cars — both of which could mean that kids born today never have to get their driver’s license.

That may well indicate the decline of sports like Formula 1 and NASCAR, the appeal of which is based on mastering what will increasingly look like yesterday’s technology. What will replace it? Quite possibly drone racing, which promises viewers all the high speed aerial thrills they can wrap their heads around. For the current iteration of this, look no further than the Drone Racing League.

Self-driving car racing

Think we’re getting ahead of ourselves by predicting the end of car racing? You could be correct. In which case, we can totally imagine self-driving car racing becoming a thing.

With no human drivers in harm’s way, autonomous vehicle racing could be faster-paced and more risk-oriented than its predecessor — while allowing all kinds of futuristic concept cars which don’t have to be limited by, well, housing an actual person in the driver’s seat.

If this all sounds super far-fetched to you, it shouldn’t. We’ve already got autonomous racing concepts like Roborace, and autonomous vehicle tech is progressing at a blistering pace. Once everyone is used to self-driving cars on the roads, this will be a surefire crowd pleaser.

Robot fighting

Megabots

Monster trucks were all kinds of kickass when we were kids. You know what’s more kickass than a monster truck? That’s right: a freakin’ 15-foot-tall robot that can crush a hapless Prius to death just as a warmup.

If the idea of drones whizzing around a course at high speed sounds too cerebral for you, we can totally imagine an audience for watching two or more giant robots — preferably from different countries — beating six shades of hell out of one another. Add in a storyline about how one of them stole the other’s Roomba, and you’ve practically got tomorrow’s WWE killer right there!

Humans vs. machines

In 1997, IBM supercomputer Deep Blue made international headlines when it competed against chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in a battle nicknamed “The Brain’s Last Stand.” In 2011, Jeopardy ratings soared to a six year high when IBM’s Watson A.I. took on all-time (human) champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter for a man vs. machine clash. A few years later, in 2016, more than 100 people watched the epic clash between Go champion Lee Sedol and Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo.

In all three of these contests pitting humans against machines, machines won — as the world looked on, gripped. As robots show greater and greater breakthroughs in terms of their speed and dexterity, tomorrow’s contests won’t simply be limited to intellectual battles. The organizers of Japan’s RoboCup soccer challenge claim that, by 2050, it’ll be possible for a team of autonomous robot players to beat a team of the world’s best flesh-and-blood footballers.

Imagine pitting the Dallas Cowboys against a team of gridiron-conquering machines, or Real Madrid meeting the Uncanny Valleys in a man vs. machine soccer epic. Not only will these contests prove to be massive ratings draws, we also reckon they’ll perfectly capture viewers’ imaginations at a time when robots are threatening our livelihoods in the workplace.

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26
Jun

Mi Laser Projector review: Xiaomi’s costliest product is also its best


Xiaomi’s laser projector trounces every other product in this category.

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Xiaomi sells over 2,000 items in China, and one of the more interesting products it launched last year was the Mi Laser Projector. The ultra-short throw projector can cast up to a 150-inch image, and it comes with an array of features that differentiates it from the rest of the options in this segment.

Above all else, Xiaomi as a brand is associated with offering incredible value for money from its portfolio of products, and the Mi Laser Projector is no different. Even though it costs vastly more than most Xiaomi products at $1,825, it is well worth the asking price.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector



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Price: $1,825

Bottom line: The Mi Laser Projector combines outstanding image quality with an elegant design and great built-in speakers. If you’re in the market for an ultra-short throw laser projector for under $2,000, look no further.

The Good

  • Excellent picture quality
  • Room-filling sound
  • Great design
  • High degree of customizability

The Bad

  • Availability
  • Interface limited to Mandarin

See at GearBest

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Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector What you’ll love

Xiaomi has done a masterful job when it comes to the design of its ecosystem products. Everything from its air purifier to robot vacuum cleaner, smart humidifier, and even the rice cooker share a similar design aesthetic, and that’s the case with the Mi Laser Projector as well. It is made out of plastic and finished in white, and has a grille up front that houses the speaker.

The Mi Laser Projector has a rectangular design — unlike most other projectors — and it manages to stand out. As this is an ultra-short throw projector, you’ll be able to place it right next to the wall, with the image size going all the way up to 150 inches. There are vents on either side — the one on the left lets air in, and the right side is the exhaust.

There are IR sensors on either side of the laser that cut off the image anytime they detect motion in the vicinity, with the feature designed to prevent you from looking into the laser. You’ll also be able to adjust the height of the projector through the knobs located on either side. Round the back, the Mi Laser Projector has three HDMI ports (including an ARC port), a solitary USB 3.0 port, audio in/out, S/PDIF, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. You also get Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity.

The Mi Laser Projector uses Appotronics’ ALPD 3.0 in conjunction with TI’s DLP projection tech, and the image quality on offer is excellent.

Colors are vibrant, and the projector manages to do a great job with HDR content. While it doesn’t have 4K playback, it downsamples 4K content when played over something like a Chromecast Ultra. The projector gravitates to cooler colors out of the box, but you’ll be able to adjust color balance, brightness, saturation, and other parameters to get a better-calibrated image.

For the price, nothing comes close to the Mi Laser Projector.

I went with the settings outlined on AVForums, and having used the projector for just over five months now, I can say that I haven’t faced any issues with reliability or image quality.

Another area where it excels is in brightness — the Mi Laser Projector is one of the brightest options in this category, and it actually manages to outdo projectors that cost three times as much. Even if you’re installing the projector in a room that gets a lot of ambient light, you should have no problem viewing content.

The picture quality is just one aspect, and the Mi Laser Projector also has a great built-in speaker. It comes with two 30W woofers and two high-frequency tweeters, and the sound that comes out of the projector is amazing. I have the projector set up in my bedroom, and the built-in soundbar is more than adequate to fill the room.

Xiaomi is also offering a brand-new remote with the projector, and it has a click wheel design similar to that of what you’d find on an Apple TV remote. There’s also a digital assistant feature that lets you play content using your voice, but it doesn’t work with English.

An interesting design trait with the Mi Laser Projector is that it is modular, with Xiaomi stating that you’ll be able to switch out the motherboard or even the laser after a few years, making for easy upgrades. The laser itself is touted to last 25,000 hours, so you don’t need to worry about switching it out anytime soon.

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Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector What needs work

Right now, the main issue with the Mi Projector is that the interface is exclusively in Mandarin. Xiaomi rolled out an update a month ago that lets you select English as the language for the menu options, but aside from that, the content recommendations and the banners are all laid out in Mandarin.

Another downside is that as this product is limited to China, there’s no Play Store installed out of the box. You can try sideloading APKs, but know that services like Netflix won’t work as the streaming service requires DRM to work. Prime Video also did not work with a sideloaded APK, but I was able to get Spotify working.

The best alternative is to hook up an Android TV box to the device and use that as the interface for your streaming content. I went that route with the Mi Box, and while Xiaomi’s Android TV box is very affordable at just $69, it isn’t all that great. Netflix constantly glitches out, and I’ve had numerous issues with Wi-Fi connectivity. So you’re better off buying something along the likes of the NVIDIA Shield TV or a Roku Ultra if you’re picking this up in the U.S.

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Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector review

While the $1,800 price tag may seem like an awful lot for a Xiaomi product, there’s plenty to like in the Mi Laser Projector. It goes toe-to-toe with projectors that cost thrice as much, and the image quality as well as brightness are fantastic.

Xiaomi has stated its intent to launch the Mi Laser Projector in the U.S. at some point this year, so you’re better off waiting for the official release. A formal launch would mean Play Services out of the box, negating the need for a standalone Android TV box. Xiaomi is increasingly veering toward services as it looks to grow revenue, so it’s possible that the Chinese manufacturer will roll out content initiatives aimed at an American audience at the time of launch.

At this point, there’s no indication on when the Mi Laser Projector will make its debut in the U.S. or what it will retail for, but it will just be the second Android-based product the manufacturer launches in the country. The first product was the Mi Box, and thankfully the Mi Laser Projector is a much better showcase of Xiaomi’s prowess in the hardware arena.

If you’re looking to buy the Mi Laser Projector right now, you’ll have to shell out over $1,900 and pick it up from the likes of GearBest. A formal launch in the U.S. would make the product available in the vicinity of around $1,600, or $100 more than what it retails for in China.

4.5
out of 5


The Mi Laser Projector is Xiaomi’s most ambitious hardware product yet, and like its phones, it offers incredible value. The picture quality is outstanding, the built-in speakers sound great, and the portable nature of the projector means you don’t have to worry about drilling holes or mounting it on the ceiling. For under $2,000, this is one of the best projectors you can buy today.

See at GearBest

26
Jun

Treat yourself to a six-quart Instant Pot DUO Plus for $90 today only


Replace 9 kitchen gadgets with just one!

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The six-quart Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 is down to $89.99 on Amazon, a savings of $40. We haven’t seen this model drop near this low since Black Friday. It normally sells for $130, and doesn’t move from that price very often, so you won’t want to miss out on this one-day deal.

This is an Instant Pot for families. It can cook enough food to serve four to six people. Or just one me on a really hungry day. It can be used in seven different ways as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, yogurt maker, steamer, and warmer. It has plenty of preset programs on a large, easy-to-use control panel. It can automatically keep food warm after it’s finished and has three temperatures for saute and slow cook.

You can delay the cooking time up to 24 hours so it will be ready to go as soon as you walk in the door. It has UL-certified safety mechanisms and is energy efficient. The Duo Plus series has 4.5 stars based on more than 3,100 user reviews. You’ll probably want to grab a cookbook for some extra ideas, and maybe even a spare lid, some yogurt cups, and even a cake pan.

See at Amazon

26
Jun

Best AT&T Deals and Promotions for June 2018


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If you’re on AT&T, these are the hottest deals to keep an eye out for.

AT&T is one of the largest and most well-known carries in the United States, and as a result of this, you can often find some pretty sweet deals being offered. Whether you’re in the market for new phones or television service, AT&T has something for just about everyone. Here are the top deals we recommend the most.

Buy one Galaxy S9, get another for free

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 is one of the hottest Android phones around, but its retail price can also set you back a pretty penny. To help offset this cost, AT&T is letting you get one for free when you buy two on AT&T Next.

Your savings are applied via monthly bill credits, and after 24 monthly payments, you’ll end up paying just $32.92/month to own both phones.

Along with new customers being eligible for this promotion, existing subscribers can also take advantage of it as long as they add the phones to their current plans.

See at AT&T

Get two LG V35 ThinQs for the price of one

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Aside from Project Fi, AT&T is the only other carrier in the U.S. where you can buy the LG V35 ThinQ. While the V35 shares the same design as last year’s V30, it has a much more powerful Snapdragon 845 processor and the same excellent cameras found on the LG G7.

The V35 usually retails for $899, but similar to the above Galaxy S9 offer, you can get one for free when buying two on AT&T Next.

To help make that deal even better, you can get $400 in trade-in credits when trading in an eligible phone to upgrade to the V35. Not bad at all.

See at AT&T

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Grab the ZTE Axon M for free with monthly bill credits

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The ZTE Axon M is still one of the most unique phones on the market, and if you’ve been eager to live the dual-screen life, AT&T’s now letting you get the phone for free!

After buying the Axon M on AT&T Next and pairing it with wireless service, you’ll receive monthly bill credits that allow you to essentially get it for free. Those credits are offered over the course of 30 months and a new line is required from either new or existing subscribers in order to be eligible.

See at AT&T

Buy three accessories and get 20% off

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Need a case for your phone? What about a new USB-C cable? Maybe you’ve been eyeing a Bluetooth speaker? Whatever you’re in the market for, AT&T is where you’ll want to go if you’re ready to pick up some new mobile accessories.

For a limited time, you can take 20% off your entire order when you buy three or more accessories (up to 10) from AT&T. Even better, you don’t have to be subscribed to an AT&T to take advantage of this offer!

See at AT&T

Updated June 26, 2018: Added all new deals for June 2018!

Carriers

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26
Jun

Firefox to Get New Security Tool With ‘Have I Been Pwned’ Email Database Integration


Mozilla has announced a new security tool for users of its Firefox web browser. Called Firefox Monitor, the website lets visitors check if their accounts have been included in known data breaches and the types of data exposed in each breach.

The security tool is the result of a partnership between Mozilla and HaveIBeenPwned.com (HIBP), a site set up by security researcher Troy Hunt that includes a database of email addresses that are known to have been compromised in data breaches.

Thanks to the partnership, Firefox is able to check email addresses against the HIBP database via a method of anonymized data sharing (full details can be found in Troy Hunt’s blog post). The new tool builds on Firefox’s existing HIBP integration, which tells users if a site they are visiting was previously exposed in a data breach.


In February, password management app 1Password announced its own partnership with HIBP, which lets users check that their passwords haven’t been leaked online. Since that time, developers AgileBits have built the Pwned Passwords database list into its 1Password desktop apps. As of today, users can also search HIBP from directly within 1Password via the Watchtower feature in the web version of the product.

Mozilla says it will begin trialling the new integration between HIBP and Firefox to make breach data searchable over the coming weeks.

Firefox Quantum is available for macOS as a free download directly from the Mozilla website.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox
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26
Jun

Wi-Fi Alliance Begins Certifying Next-Generation WPA3 Security Protocol


The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially started certifying WPA3, the next-generation security standard for wireless networking devices (via Engadget). The new protocol addresses a number of potential vulnerabilities that exist in WPA2 for both personal and enterprise networking environments.

Amongst the enhancements, WPA3-Personal includes a more robust password-based authentication system that reduces the chances of a hacker guessing your password, individualized data encryption to protect against Wi-Fi eavesdropping, and the ability to protect data traffic even if a password is compromised after the data was transmitted.

On the enterprise side, WPA3 also offers an optional mode using 192-bit minimum-strength security protocols, as well as cryptographic tools to better protect sensitive data.

WPA3 also includes new quick-setup options for smart home devices through Easy Connect, a smartphone-based feature for users to set up wireless devices that lack displays.

Support for WP3A must be built into devices for the protocol to be enabled, so it won’t start coming into general use for a while yet. The good news is that WPA3 will retain interoperability with WPA2 devices, so there won’t be a need to update every device on the same network.

The Wi-Fi Alliance expects WPA3 certification to increase over the next year, and as adoption grows, the protocol should eventually become a market requirement for all Wi-Fi certified devices.
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26
Jun

Nikkei: AirPods Charging Case Will Be Able to Wirelessly Charge an iPhone


An upcoming version of the AirPods charging case will be able to wirelessly charge a compatible iPhone, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

The first paragraph from Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li:

Users of iPhones will soon be able to wirelessly charge their handsets using the charging case for Apple’s popular AirPods wireless earphones, according to an industry source familiar with the plan.

The report claims the charging case could be available as soon as the end of this year, although the timeframe is subject to change.

It’s not entirely clear if the report is referring to the same AirPods charging case that Apple previewed alongside the iPhone X. Apple said that optional accessory will be released in 2018 alongside its AirPower charging mat.

All in all, it’s a bit of a strange report. Would a user hold or lay their iPhone against the AirPods charging case? Would the AirPods still charge? Wouldn’t the charging case need more mAh to sufficiently charge an iPhone?

More thoughts and details to follow…

Related Roundups: 2018 iPhones, AirPodsTags: nikkei.com, AirPowerBuyer’s Guide: AirPods (Caution)
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26
Jun

Japan aims to power Tokyo Olympics with 100 percent renewable energy


With the Tokyo Olympics just two years away, the event’s organizing committee has announced it wants to power the games using renewable energy only.

That means building systems to supply the Games — both Olympic and Paralympic — with electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar as part of efforts to promote decarbonization, the Japan Times reported.

Described by an official as “unprecedented” for a major sporting event, the Games’ renewable energy target will also encompass the athletes’ village, the international broadcasting center, and the main press center.

Part of the strategy designed to help it reach its target will involve renting and leasing items that are used during the event. If any need to be bought, the committee will make arrangements to guarantee their use once the sporting extravaganza is over.

Organizers also plan to purchase renewable energy from power companies and to install solar panels where possible.

Speaking of solar panels, the committee is making plans to build a number of solar roads to generate some of the power used by the 2020 Games. Embedded directly in roads, the surface of the panels includes a special resin to ensure their durability, the Independent reported. As part of trial, a convenience store near Tokyo recently installed solar panels beneath its parking lot, with the setup now taking care of almost 10 percent of the store’s power needs. Similar technology has already been installed in several roads in France, as well as on cycle paths in the Netherlands.

Other efforts to make the Games greener include making the medals from precious metals collected from used mobile phones.

Organizers launched a campaign in Japan last year to encourage people to recycle their old mobile phones from which the metals can be extracted.

Partnering with Japanese cellular giant NTT Docomo and the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, the plan is to collect at least eight tons of metal from discarded mobile devices. Millions of phones are needed so that enough material can be gathered to make the 5,000 medals due to be presented at the event in 2020.

Recent Olympic Games have used recycled e-waste to create the medals, but Japan says Tokyo 2020 is aiming to be the first where all of the gold medals are made entirely with recovered metal.

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