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Showing posts from September 30, 2018

Google Store launches mail-in repair service for Pixel devices

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If you're in the US and have a broken Pixel device, you might be able to get Google itself to fix it for you instead of a third-party company. The Google Store has just opened a virtual Repair Center, giving you the option to mail the tech giant your Pixel and Pixel 2 devices to be looked at and fixed. You can start the process by going to the portal, opening a ticket and providing your device's IMEI number.After that, you'll have to choose from a list of possible issues your phone might have, so Google knows what to look for if it's not a cracked screen or anything extremely obvious. You can still get free repair if your phone is under warranty and it didn't take a dip in your toilet or came in with a shattered screen -- you know, problems caused by accidental damage.According to the new service's FAQs, Google will even send you a prepaid packaging two to three days after you open your repair ticket, though you can also pack your device on your own. Since it i…

Astronomy Picture of the Day: The First Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral

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The First Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral
A new chapter in space flight began in 1950 with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper V-2. Featured here, the Bumper V-2 was an ambitious two-stage rocket program that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket. The upper stage was able to reach then-record altitudes of almost 400 kilometers, higher than even International Space Station. Launched under the direction of the General Electric Company, the Bumper V-2 was used primarily for testing rocket systems and for research on the upper atmosphere. Bumper V-2 rockets carried small payloads that allowed them to measure attributes including air temperature and cosmic ray impacts. Seven years later, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I and Sputnik II, the first satellites into Earth orbit. In response in 1958, 60 years ago today, the USA created NASA.

October 01, 2018
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Artificial insemination used to breed lions for the first time

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Artificial insemination isn't new, but the technique is still breaking new ground -- and it might just save one of the world's better known species. South Africa's University of Pretoria has successfully used artificial conception with lions for the first time, producing two cubs (Isabel and Victor, above) who've been healthy since their birth on August 2 5th. This wasn't a simple case of repeating familiar methods, either. The researchers relied on a new approach that could represent a breakthrough for species conservation.After collectiong sperm from a male lion, the team gauged the hormone levels of eligible females through blood samples to see when they would be well-suited to carrying the cubs. The only requirement was training the lionesses to rest next to a fence so that they could readily provide samples. Previous methods would have required moving the lions out of their existing habitat. Here, the females could stay in their existing environment.No…

Cellphone and internet adoption may have peaked in the US

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There's no question that technologies like cellphones and internet access have become ubiquitous, but they now appear to be hitting their peak in the US. Pew Research Center's latest technology study has shown that key categories technological adoption has gone virtually unchanged since the last study in 2016, suggesting they've hit saturation points. Much like two years ago, about 95 percent of a ll Americans studied (99 percent in the ages 18-49 group) have cellphones, 89 percent have internet access, 77 percent have smartphones and 69 percent use social networks. In fact, PC adoption went down -- 73 percent have a computer where 78 percent did in 2016.This doesn't mean the tech has completely run out of room to grow, but there may be barriers that would require deeper social solutions. Cost, as you might imagine, is a central factor: computer ownership is highest among those with strong incomes ($75,000 and up), and a 2015 survey showed that 43 percent of peop…

Google's Chrome OS tablet might support Windows 10

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Google's rumored Chrome OS tablet may have an extra trick up its sleeve: namely, that you might not have to run Chrome OS at all. The 9to5Google team has discovered some codereferences indicating that Google has been working on Windows 10 support for the future slate, codenamed Nocturne. "Windows 10 will BSOD early during boot," one Nocturne developer wrote.There's no guarantee that the tablet would ship with Windows 10 support out of the box. As with Android apps, it might take some time before it's ready. This could be one of the first devices with the extra option, though. It would make sense for Google to go first. The Pixelbook and its ancestors have frequently served as showcases for the latest Chrome OS features, not to mention reference devices for developers. So long as the tablet ships in the first place, it could serve as a testbed for anyone who wants to know how Chrome OS and Windows can coexist -- and an option for enthusiasts who aren't quite s…

California governor signs strong net neutrality bill into law

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A net neutrality bill that its sponsor Scott Weiner calls "the strongest in the nation" is now state law in California after being signed by governor Jerry Brown. SB 822 is intended to restore the protections put in place by a (now-rescinded) 2015 FCC Order, as well as closing "loopholes" that its backers said could have allowed anti-competitive forms of zero-rating. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai captained the effort to repeal those rules, and has called the bill "illegal," setting the stage for a squabble between the state and federal government.Weiner said in a statement that "Today marks a true win for the internet and for an open society." Stanford professor Barbara van Schewick said "Like the 2015 Order, SB 822 ensures that Californians, not the companies they pay to get online, get to be in control of what sites, apps and services they use. SB 822 bans ISPs from blocking, throttling, and charging websites fees for access to the ISP's sub…

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin beats key rival to rocket engine deal

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Blue Origin is best known for its own rocket programs, but it just scored a deal that could make it an important name in the spaceflight industry. United Launch Alliance has chosen Blue Origin's BE-4 engine (two of them, to be exact) to power the bo oster stage its next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is due to launch in mid-2020. Jeff Bezos' outfit won't be the only rocket vendor involved, but it crucially beat out Aerojet Rocketdyne -- a behemoth in the industry that had tried to pressure ULA into avoiding Blue Origin tech altogether.Ars Technicanoted that Aerojet had wielded its lobbying influence, with two politicians telling the US Air Force that it shouldn't provide more funding to ULA until it handed over "approval rights" for engine contractors. Blue Origin's methane-powered engine was "unproven," they claimed. However, Bezos' persistence paid off. His company continued with development, while Aerojet scaled back and e…

Telegram desktop app leaked internet addresses when starting calls

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Telegram has a reputation for privacy and security (much to the chagrin of some governments), but it's not immune to gaffes. Security researcher Dhiraj Mishra discovered that Telegram's desktop app was leaking both public and private IP addresses during voice calls due to its peer-to-peer framework. Where mobile users could turn off peer-to-peer calls and keep their information secret, you had no choice but use the technology on the desktop. That could open you to attacks or disclose your location regardless of how careful you might otherwise be.The company has fixed the issue in both the 1.3.17 beta and 1.4 versions of Telegram by giving you options to either disable peer-to-peer calling entirely or limit it to your contacts. Mishra received a €2,000 (about $2,300) bounty for the find. It's not Telegram's proudest moment, but the flaw does serve as a reminder that you can't assume an app is airtight simply because of its reputation, even if most of its policies…

New York City's WiFi kiosks have over 5 million users

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New York City's high-speed WiFi kiosks have been around for a while, but just how many people are using them? Quite a few, in fact. The LinkNYC team has revealed that there were over 5 million registered WiFi users as of September 2018, with over a billion sessions spread across the 1,700-plus units in the city. People make over 500,000 calls every month, too, although it's not clear how many of those were ice cream truck pranksters. You can safely presume that there's plenty of demand.As VentureBeatreported, though, these kiosks haven't been without their share of concerns. They're ad-subsidized, but they've barely earned enough to meet the CityBridge consortium's minimum guarantee. The group also removed the kiosks' web browsers after complains of people surfing porn sites or hogging the machines. There's also the concerns about privacy given the presences of cameras and sensors on every kiosk, although Intersection (a part of CityBridge…