Workhorse isn’t as high profile as Amazon or Google, but it demonstrated an eight-rotor delivery drone designed to work with its electric trucks and use some of the same battery technology.
“Our concept is, you have a package-delivery drone that rides on top of a truck as the driver goes about his day, and helps to pick off outliers on his route to help cut down on the cost of delivery per package,” said Elliot Bokeno, a mechanical engineer with Workhorse, who demonstrated the drone at a conference at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.
If a driver had four deliveries in one part of town but only one in another, the drone might be able to handle that single, less convenient delivery.
The technology combines autonomous and manual control.
GPS is used to determine the delivery location, and the drone flies there without any human input, Bokeno said. But when it gets to the address, a downward-pointing camera switches on and an operator at a remote center takes over.
The operator guides the drone down, making sure to avoid people and obstacles, and releases the package. The drone then resumes autonomous flight and makes its way back to the truck.
In tests, the drone has flown as fast at 55 mph and has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes. The company is working with Panasonic, which provides batteries for Workhorse’s electric vehicles, on more advanced battery technology that will increase flight times to 45 minutes.
Bokeno said his company has already talked to several package delivery companies about using its technology.
For now, tests of the technology over relatively short distances continue. Workhorse is collaborating with the University of Cincinnati and hopes to begin multi-mile delivery tests soon.
“This is unacceptable and we’re not happy about it,” Jack Dorsey, who stepped in as interim chief executive on July 1, said on a call with analysts.
Twitter said it had 304 million core users in the second quarter, up from 302 million in the prior quarter.
Twitter’s struggles to increase its audience worries investors, who are focused on the company’s growth potential, and the latest figures did little to reassure them.
The data on users overshadowed the company’s second-quarter earnings and revenue, which exceeded expectations, and its bullish projections for future revenue.
Executives also made clear it would be a long process, and were candid about problems with the service.
“We do not expect to see sustained meaningful growth (in monthly active users) until we start to reach the mass market,” Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said on the call.
“We have not clearly communicated Twitter’s unique value. And as a result non-users continue to ask, ‘Why should I use Twitter?’ “Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use.”
Twitter recognizes “there is an issue that needs to be worked on,” Evercore ISI analyst Ken Sena said. “They were giving investors a sense of the challenge and I think the stock sell-off that you saw just reflected that.”
Intel is trying to boost promotion of its desktop CPU platforms by dividing the market into six pieces.
According to Digitimes which has its paws on the cunning plan said that Intel is talking about something called an Enthusiast Tower.
An Enthusiast Tower, is not a ride at Disneyland, it is the gaming, video/audio content and high performance sector. What Intel defines as “mainstream” has high performance-price ratios. “All-in-one (AIO) PCs”, “Mini PCs (NUC)”, “Portable AIO PCs” and “Compute Sticks” make up the remaining pieces of Intel’s marketing pie.
The Enthusiast Tower part of Intel’s business is doing well. It is seeing growing sales, while demand for NUC products and Compute Sticks is also gradually picking up.
Intel said that its MiniPCs will support both Windows and Chrome OS, and the other five only Windows 8.1/10.
In early August, Intel will announce several K-series processors including Core i7-6700K, and Z170 chipsets and will unveil Skylake-S and Skylake-U series processors and H170/B150 chipsets in early September.
Intel will start mass shipping Skylake processors in October and November. Its top-end six-core and eight-core Broadwell-E processors will be in the shops in the first quarter of 2016. They will use LGA 2011-3 and supporting the X99 chipsets and DDR4 memory.
The National Security Agency has said that it will end its access to most bulk data collected under a controversial surveillance program in November, but keep records for litigation purposes.
The office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement that the bulk telephony data — the subject of leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden which shocked many in the US and abroad — would be destroyed “as soon as possible” to comply with a law passed by Congress in early June.
The statement said that during the 180-day transition period required under the USA Freedom Act, “analytic access to that historical metadata… will cease on November 29, 2015.”
But it added that “for data integrity purposes,” NSA will allow technical personnel to continue to have access to the metadata for an additional three months.
The NSA must preserve bulk telephony metadata collection “until civil litigation about the program is resolved, or the relevant courts relieve NSA of such duties.”
The data kept for litigation “will not be used or accessed for any other purpose, and, as soon as possible, NSA will destroy the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata on expiration of its litigation preservation duties.”
This week, famed physicist Stephen Hawking helped launch a major new effort to search for signs of intelligent alien life in the cosmos, even though he thinks it’s likely that such creatures would try to destroy humanity.
Since at least 2010, Hawking has spoken publicly about his fears that an advanced alien civilization would have no problem wiping out the human race the way a human might wipe out a colony of ants. At the media event announcing the new project, he noted that human beings have a terrible history of mistreating, and even massacring, other human cultures that are less technologically advanced — why would an alien civilization be any different?
And yet, it seems Hawking’s desire to know if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe trumps his fears. Today (July 20), he was part of a public announcement for a new initiative called Breakthrough Listen, which organizers said will be the most powerful search ever initiated for signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
“I am here today because I believe the Breakthrough initiatives are incredibly important,” Hawking said during a media event at the Royal Society in London. “It’s time […] to search for life beyond Earth. The Breakthrough initiatives are making that commitment. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”
The new Breakthrough Listen initiative would only search for signs of intelligent life, not broadcast signals from Earth, and scientists other than Hawking have expressed concerns about hailing the attention of alien civilizations. However, a second initiative, Breakthrough Message, will host a competition open to anyone in the world, to make suggestions for the content of messages to be sent from humans to other intelligent beings.
Scientists currently have no idea what alien life-forms might look like, or how they might respond to contact from human civilization.
“Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach,” Hawking said in 2010 on an episode of “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking,” a TV show that aired on the Discovery Channel. “If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?”
Hawking voiced his fears at the Breakthrough event, saying, “We don’t know much about aliens, but we know about humans. If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced. A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”
Astrophysicist Martin Rees countered Hawking’s fears, noting that an advanced civilization “may know we’re here already.”
Ann Druyan, co-founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios, who was part of the announcement panel and will work on the Breakthrough Message initiative, seemed much more hopeful about the nature of an advanced alien civilization and the future of humanity.
“We may get to a period in our future where we outgrow our evolutionary baggage and evolve to become less violent and shortsighted,” Druyan said at the media event. “My hope is that extraterrestrial civilizations are not only more technologically proficient than we are but more aware of the rarity and preciousness of life in the cosmos.”
Jill Tarter, former director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) also has expressed opinions about alien civilizations that are in stark contrast to Hawking’s.
“While Sir Stephen Hawking warned that alien life might try to conquer or colonize Earth, I respectfully disagree,” Tarter said in a statement in 2012. “If aliens were to come here, it would be simply to explore. Considering the age of the universe, we probably wouldn’t be their first extraterrestrial encounter, either.
“If aliens were able to visit Earth, that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food or other planets,” she added.
The new Breakthrough Listen initiative is scheduled to operate for 10 years and will search for signs of non-naturally occurring communications in both radio frequencies and laser transmissions. The initiative will scan the 1 million stars closest to Earth in the Milky Way, as well as the 100 closest galaxies.
Internet.org turns one year old this week, and Facebook says it’s ready to scale the project to reach more people.
The company is making it easier for more mobile operators to join the project by launching an online portal where they’ll find technical tools and best practices to help them get started.
So far, Facebook has been working with about a dozen operators in 17 countries to provide an app that gives people free access to a set of basic Internet services.
According to Facebook, people who use the app quickly become paying subscribers — something that will no doubt appeal to the mobile operators it’s trying to partner with.
“Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50 percent faster after launching free basic services, and more than half of the people who come online through Internet.org are paying for data and accessing the Internet within the first 30 days,” Facebook said.
The Internet.org mobile app is perhaps the most tangible element in Facebook’s efforts to expand Internet access — and its own services — to more people throughout the world. It’s also using satellites, drones and lasers that can beam Internet signals through space to bring people online.
While the number of people with Internet access continues to grow, 4.2 billion of the world’s roughly 7.4 billion people will still be offline by the end of the year, according to data from the International Telecommunication Union.
The Internet.org app typically includes a stripped-down version of Facebook and access to other free services like weather reports, health information and services for finding jobs.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook could become the Internet on-ramp for the world.
Researchers from the University of Salerno and the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy have used three different techniques to obfuscate exploits like the ones usually used in drive-by download attacks.
Functionality provided by HTML5 can be efficient for malware obfuscation, the Italians have proved.
Modern security software can detect a big chunk of threats, but if they use some HTML5 features to hide the exploits served in drive-by download attacks, they could evade static and dynamic detection systems.
Experts say some of these APIs can be used to deliver and assemble the exploit in the web browser without being detected.
One method dubbed “delegated preparation” involves delegating the preparation of the malware to system APIs.
Another called “distributed preparation,” shares the code over concurrent and independent processes running within the browser.
A third involves triggering the code preparation based on the user’s actions on the malicious webpage or website.
VirusTotal detection rates for these sorts of obscured attacks remains low.
The paper published by researchers, with the catchy title of “Using HTML5 to Prevent Detection of Drive-by-Download Web Malware,” contains recommendations about some of the steps that can be taken to counter these obfuscation techniques.
Intel is expected to upgrade its Compute Stick and NUC solutions to Skylake processors starting October.
ECS, Gigabyte, Asustek and ASRock are expected to launch related products.
Sales for the Compute Stick and NUC have been rising and it appears that Intel sees gold in the mini PC segment’s potential. NUC s are seeing stable demand in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Intel is set to release solutions with its new Core m5/m3 processors codenamed Cedar City in the fourth quarter for the Compute Stick.
The new Compute Stick will feature 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage space and support Ultra HD. It will be based around the Core m3-6Y30 processor, which is set to release in October. It will also have Windows 10.
The version with the Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor, will not come with a pre-installed operating system. In the first quarter of 2016, Intel is planning to launch inexpensive Atom x5 processors.
In November, Intel will launch two Skylake-based processors codenamed Swift Canyon, specifically for the NUC segment and will release high-end Core i7 processors at the end of the first quarter 2016 to improve the product line’s specifications and functions.
NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope continues to zero in on the first “alien Earth” despite being hobbled by a malfunction more than two years ago.
Last Thursday (July 23), mission scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, which they and NASA officials described as the most Earth-like exoplanet yet found. Kepler-452b circles a sunlike star at about the same distance Earth orbits the sun, but the alien world is about 60 percent wider than our home planet, so it’s not a true “Earth twin.”
Kepler-452b “is the closest thing that we have to another place that somebody else might call home,” Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said during a news conference Thursday. [Exoplanet Kepler 452b: Closest Earth Twin in Pictures]
While the discovery of Kepler-452b is new, the observations that led to it are several years old. The planet was dug out of data Kepler gathered during the first four years of its original planet hunt, which came to an end in 2013.
The main goal of the $600 million Kepler mission is to determine how common Earth-like planets are across the Milky Way galaxy.
During its original round of operations, the Kepler spacecraft stared at more than 150,000 stars continuously and simultaneously, watching for tiny brightness dips that could betray the presence of a planet crossing, or “transiting,” its host star’s face. This work required extremely precise pointing, an ability Kepler lost when the second of its four orientation-maintaining reaction wheels failed in May 2013.
Kepler generally needs to observe multiple transits to detect a planet, so it can take a while for the observatory to spot a potentially habitable world. (Earth, after all, would transit the sun from a hypothetical alien Kepler’s perspective just once a year.) Small, rocky planets also present a signal-to-noise issue that can be mitigated by observing multiple transits.
Kepler team members have therefore long maintained that the most interesting Kepler finds should come at relatively late stages in the mission. So, while Kepler observed beyond the 3.5 years prescribed by the prime mission plan, the failure of the second reaction wheel was initially “crushing,” Jenkins said.
But only initially, for Kepler scientists have gotten better and better at analyzing the observatory’s huge dataset and pulling out intriguing finds from the original planet hunt, team members said.
For example, the discovery of Kepler-452b was announced along with 521 newfound planet “candidates,” bringing Kepler’s total tally of potential planets to 4,696. Just 1,030 of these worlds have been confirmed by follow-up observations or analysis, but about 90 percent of them should end up being the real deal, mission scientists have said. [10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life]
Furthermore, 11 of the newly detected 521 candidates are similar to Kepler-452b: They’re less than twice Earth’s diameter and reside in their host stars’ “habitable zone,” that just-right range of distances in which liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface.
Such detections were made with the aid of new software that automated some parts of the data-analysis process that had previously been done manually, said Kepler research scientist Jeff Coughlin, of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, California.
Continued improvements in software and analysis techniques should result in more discoveries down the road, Coughlin added. Indeed, he said, the team plans to release another “catalog” of Kepler finds next year.
“We’re really optimistic that we’re going to continue to discover even more small, habitable-zone planets,” Coughlin said during Thursday’s news conference.
Kepler’s enormous dataset is publicly archived, so it should give academics and citizen scientists plenty to chew on far into the future, he added.
“I really expect that discoveries will be coming from Kepler for the next several decades,” Coughlin said.
Regardless of what happens in the future, Kepler’s discoveries have already revolutionized exoplanet research. The spacecraft’s finds suggest, among other things, that every Milky Way star hosts at least one planet on average; that rocky planets are extremely common throughout the galaxy; and that about 20 percent of all stars in the Milky Way host a roughly Earth-size planet in their habitable zones.
And while team members pore over data from the original mission, Kepler continues to gather data during a new mission called K2. The observatory’s handlers figured out a way to improve its pointing abilities using sunlight pressure as a sort of ersatz reaction wheel, and Kepler is now studying a variety of cosmic objects and phenomena, from distant supernova explosions to comets and asteroids in our own solar system.
The K2 plan also calls for continued exoplanet hunting, though on a much lesser scale than Kepler used to perform. (NASA announced the new mission’s first alien-planet discovery this past December.)
The failure of the second reaction wheel “is kind of the best worst thing that could’ve ever happened to Kepler,” Jenkins said. “It really broadens the field of exoplanets. It broadens the science that we can do with this phenomenal spacecraft.”
The technology involves smartphones broadcasting data over a short-range radio channel to nearby cars, so the cars can determine if a collision is likely. Unlike today’s radar-based systems, this has the ability to warn around blind corners and can alert both the driver and pedestrian.
It’s being developed by engineers at Honda and was demonstrated last week at the company’s new research and development center in Mountain View, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley.
In the demonstration that took place in a parking lot, a car was slowly cruising a row looking for a space. Ahead, and unseen to the driver, a pedestrian was walking between a car and SUV while listening to music, and was about to step into the path of the oncoming vehicle.
Seconds before the pedestrian could emerge and the two come close to collision, an alert sounded in the car: “Distracted pedestrian” and a warning appeared on the car’s LCD screen to brake. The pedestrian too got a similar alert, telling him to watch out. If the driver hadn’t hit the brakes, the car would have automatically come to a halt.
Honda has been working on the technology for three years and the first iteration is expected to be submitted for standardization around the end of this year, said Sue Bai, a principal engineer at Honda R&D, who has been developing it.
he communication takes place over a channel in the 5.9GHz band that is dedicated for intelligent transportation systems. That’s a frequency not used in current smartphones, but close enough that Qualcomm engineers were able to come up with a firmware modification so that it works on an off-the-shelf handset. No custom hardware is required in the phone.
The SE370 monitor will come in 23.6-inch and 27-inch formats and is the industry’s first to have an integrated wireless charging station, the South Korean manufacturer said Monday.
But your phone will have to support the Qi wireless charging standard, which was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and is supported by makers such as Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and Huawei.
The charging area is on the stand for the monitor, and an LED lights up when it’s in use. The monitor has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and is optimized for video games, with richer black hues when it’s in game mode. The screen will not distort graphics with stutter and lag and has a response time of 4 milliseconds, Samsung said.
Compatible with Mac OS X and Windows 10, the SE370 also has an eye-saver mode that reduces blue light, which is believed to cause eye strain and sleep problems.
Samsung did not provide information about pricing or availability for the SE370 monitor and did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
The company’s Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge flagship smartphones support the Qi and rival Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standards for wireless charging. Earlier this year, Samsung released its own branded charging pad to juice them up.
The latest Qi specification, announced last month, will allow manufacturers to provide much faster wireless power charging options than earlier versions.
The platform has also caught on with makers such as Ikea, which launched a collection of furniture in April with built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers.
Qi had been competing with PMA and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). Following a decision earlier this year, however, the two organizations announced their merger in June, with a new name yet to be decided.
It is possible that one day we will report on which companies made it through the night without being hacked or without exposing their users.
For now, though, the opposite is the norm and today we are reporting about a problem with gaming system Steam that, you guessed it, has dangled the personal details of punters within the reach of ne’er-do-wells.
The news is not coming out of Steam, or parent Valve, directly, but it is running rampant across social networks and the gaming community. The problem, according to reports and videos, was a bad one and made the overtaking of user accounts rather a simple job.
No badass end-of-level boss to beat here, just a stage in the authentication process. A video posted online demonstrates the efforts required, while some reports – with access to Steam’s PR hot air machine – say that the problem is fixed.
A statement released to gaming almanac Kotaku finds the firm in apologetic clean-up mode.
Steam told the paper that some users would have their passwords reset, those being the ones who might have seen their log-in changed under suspicious circumstances, and that in general users should already be protected from the risks at hand.
“To protect users, we are resetting passwords on accounts with suspicious password changes during that period or may have otherwise been affected,” the firm said.
“Relevant users will receive an email with a new password. Once that email is received, it is recommended that users log-in to their account via the Steam client and set a new password.
“Please note that, while an account password was potentially modified during this period, the password itself was not revealed. Also, if Steam Guard was enabled, the account was protected from unauthorized log-ins even if the password was modified.”
The firm added its apologies to the community.
The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models will be sold at more than 300 Best Buy stores in time for the holiday shopping season, a spokeswoman for Apple Inc said.
“Customers love Apple Watch, and we are thrilled to begin offering it at Best Buy,” she said in an email.
Best Buy is the first retailer to sell the watch outside of the Apple retail store.
“The Apple Watch is an important addition to an emerging product category, and we know our customers want it,” Jason Bonfig, senior category officer, said on the Best Buy website.
The company said the product will also be available on its online store BestBuy.com.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Apple watch was coming to Best Buy.
Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters earlier this month that sales of the Apple Watch had beat the company’s expectations. He said in the nine weeks since its launch in late April, the device had sold better than either iPhones or iPads over a similar period after their launch.
The flaws could potentially be exploited to execute malicious code on computers when users visit compromised websites or open specially crafted documents. They were reported through Hewlett-Packard’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) program.
HP’s TippingPoint division, which sells network security products, pays researchers for information on unpatched high-risk vulnerabilities in popular software. The company uses the information to create detection signatures, giving it a competitive advantage, but also reports the flaws to the affected vendors so they can be fixed.
The ZDI team gives vendors 120 days to develop fixes before making limited information about the flaws reported to the public. That deadline was apparently reached for the four Internet Explorer vulnerabilities this week.
The ZDI advisories describe the type, impact and general location of the flaws, but intentionally leave out technical details that could help attackers create exploits for them. In other words, they don’t classify as full disclosure.
Three of the new ZDI advisories don’t have sufficient information for other researchers or hackers to easily rediscover the issues, said Carsten Eiram, the chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, via email. The fourth one, however, is a bit more detailed, he said.
That advisory, tracked as ZDI-15-359, covers a vulnerability that was used by security researcher Nicolas Joly during the Mobile Pwn2Own hacking contest organized by ZDI in November last year. As part of the contest rules, researchers disclose the vulnerabilities they use with ZDI, which then shares them with the affected vendors.
Microsoft said in an emailed statement that it would take “appropriate steps” to protect its customers, but noted that no attacks had been reported so far.
Database outfit Oracle’s moves to try and copyright APIs appear to be part of an attempt for Oracle to make money on Android.
Oracle has asked a U.S. judge for permission to update its copyright lawsuit against Google to include the Android which it claims contains its Java APIs.
Oracle sued Google five years ago and is seeking roughly $1 billion in copyright claims if it manages to convince a court that its APIs are in Android it could up the damages by several billions.
Oracle wrote in a letter to Judge William Alsup on Wednesday that the record of the first trial does not reflect any of these developments in the market, including Google’s dramatically enhanced market position in search engine advertising and the overall financial results from its continuing and expanded infringement.
Last month, the US Supreme Court upheld an appeals court’s ruling that allows Oracle to seek licensing fees for the use of some of the Java language. Google had said it should use Java APIs without paying a fee.