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Science/Technology / Facebook Launches Its Clubhouse Clone And Podcast Streaming by keynap: 9:48pm On Jun 22, 2021
Facebook is launching its social audio features. The company is rolling out its Clubhouse-like audio rooms, as well as a handful of podcasts.

Audio rooms are similar to Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces. Conversations stream live in the app, and room hosts can invite others up to speak with them. In a sign of just how important the feature is to Facebook, the app will promote the conversations at the top of News Feed above Stories. The new format also comes with creator-friendly features, like the ability to buy “stars,” the in-app gifts that help influencers make money from their streams.

Notably, Facebook will rely on automation and user reports to enforce its content rules with the new format. And like Clubhouse, which has at times struggled with moderation, room hosts can control who speaks, or report users who break the rules. Facebook also seems to be taking a somewhat cautious approach to start, as only verified public figures and creators in the US with accounts in “good standing” are able to create a room. However, any Facebook user can listen-in to a conversation or participate if the host invites them to speak.

Audio rooms will also feature heavily in Facebook Groups, where moderators and group admins can enable the audio streaming features, even for members who aren’t verified or public figures. Facebook says it’s making available to “select” groups to start but plans to expand its availability.

In addition to rooms, Facebook is also beginning to add podcasts to its platform. With the update, fans can listen to podcast episodes while they browse Facebook. It’s starting out with just a handful of names, including Joe Budden and Nicaila Matthews Okome, but will open up to more podcasts over the next few weeks.

With the new features, Facebook is the latest company to try to compete with Clubhouse, which has surged in popularity over the last year. Twitter has also been investing heavily in audio with Spaces, and Spotify just launched its take on the service with Greenroom.






Science/Technology / Hyundai Now Owns Robot Dog Maker Boston Dynamics by keynap: 9:42pm On Jun 22, 2021
Hyundai has sealed its acquisition of Boston Dynamics as it pushes further into the field of robotics. The completed deal means the Korean car maker now owns an 80 percent stake in the company, known for its commercially available robo-dog Spot, valuing it at $1.1 billion. As a result of the acquisition, Hyundai is the third company to own Boston Dynamics, an MIT spinoff that was purchased by Google in 2013 and later Softbank in 2017, which still retains a 20 percent stake through an affiliate.

Hyundai's grand plan for the company is to create a "robotics value chain" that spans robot component manufacturing, construction and automation. While the company has been exploring Star Wars-style walking vehicles that rely on robotics, it seems it's just as interested in Boston's warehouse workers including box stackers Handle and Stretch.

More recently, Boston has come under fire for allowing Spot to be utilized by law enforcement and the military. Though, there was no sign of those use cases in Hyundai's new promo video. Instead, the clip depicts the robot canine as a guide dog for the blind and as a helper inside a hospital.






Science/Technology / Apple In 2021: The Iphone Is Taking Over Everything by keynap: 1:12pm On Jan 02, 2021
Apple has spent the last few years making headline-grabbing changes like its services push, with the $5-per-month Apple TV Plus; its addition of 5G in the iPhone 12; and its hit AirPods wireless headphones, which carry a price tag of $149.

For 2021, Apple will be making changes most of us won't see or care about, but they may be some of its most important moves yet. One example is that Apple is planning to start using custom chips inside more of its Mac computers, leading to thinner and likely longer-lasting laptops.

Apple is expected to debut more lower-priced alternatives to its premium products, too. We already have the $279 Apple Watch SE, and rumor has it the company will take a similar approach with AirPods SE, which could sport a design close to that of the well-reviewed, $249 AirPods Pro noise-cancelling earbuds but without the extras like simulated surround sound.

"Our mission is to create products that play a meaningful role in people's lives," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at one of the company's livestreamed presentations in November. For 2021, he proclaimed Apple will do even more.

It may all seem rather nerdy and even boring if you're used to seeing bold new announcements like superfast 5G wireless networks, or professional-looking portrait photos taken with your phone.

It's also hard for many people to find the energy to care about any of these things while the world struggles with the anguish of the coronavirus, which continues to spread, with more than 75 million people infected and more than 1.6 million people dead. At least we now have vaccines starting to make their way out to the most vulnerable and the most exposed.

Just as Apple's choice to announce its iPod music player mere weeks after the 9/11 attacks didn't stop the device's historic rise, these initiatives Apple has planned for 2021 may change how technology works for everyone, even the non-Apple people among us, regardless of COVID-19.

"In the midst of enormous challenges this year, our teams have remained focused," Cook said. "And they haven't stopped innovating."

Apple is expected to pick up the pace of change to its Mac computers in 2021, after switching out the Intel chips in its $999 MacBook Air, $699 Mac Mini and $1,299 MacBook Pro. Apple says its new custom-designed chips, which are similar to the chips inside the iPhone and iPad, offer better performance and use less energy than before.

So far, the chips mean the MacBook Air runs without a fan, the MacBook Pro gets better battery life, and the Mac Mini is more capable than it's been in years.






Science/Technology / Apple’s Foldable Iphone Prototypes Pass Internal Durability Test At Foxconn by keynap: 1:04pm On Jan 02, 2021
Apple's foldable iPhone prototypes have passed internal tests for durability, as per a report. Two different prototypes were reportedly tested at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. One of them is a dual-screen model prototype, as per the report, and the other a clamshell foldable that is similar to Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip or Motorola Razr. The report predicts that a foldable iPhone will debut by late 2022 or 2023.

As per a report by a Taiwanese publication Money, the two prototype phones passed the internal tests for durability at the Foxconn factory. Apple's second prototype, the clamshell model, may use a flexible Samsung OLED display, according to the report.

YouTuber Jon Prosser said in a video recently that Apple is working on a clamshell-like folding iPhone, that falls in line with the report's claims. Prosser had also claimed that Apple's first foldable iPhone is expected to be launched in 2023. He said that the work is in early stages right now. He also shared a concept image of the folding iPhone, which shows that the rumoured iPhone may have a flip-like design.With a foldable iPhone in the future, Apple will join the ranks of Samsung and Motorola, who are currently the only two companies offering such handsets. The report adds that while Apple is not the first usually to launch a new technology, it ensures the best performance once it is launched.






Webmasters / All Microsoft Certified Drivers From Intel, Nvidia, AMD, Others Are Vulnerable by keynap: 9:54am On Aug 13, 2019
All major BIOS vendors, along with the likes of AMD, Nvidia, Intel, Huawei, and many others, are offering drivers that have serious security issues. A new report, called Screwed Drivers, from Eclypsium, revealed the worrying extent of the problem.

People have to safeguard their PCs and phones by using antivirus software and by making sure that they don’ expose their operating system to any kind of malware. But what happens when even the drivers provided by the hardware manufacturers are full of vulnerabilities, leaving the operating systems exposed to possible attacks.

Fortunately for us, the end-users, the problems are identified by hackers who are interested in making the world safer, but that’s not always the case. Also, there is no indication that researchers from Eclypsium, who underlined all of the problems, are actually the first ones to discover the vulnerabilities.
"Things are much, much worse than you think"

The Eclypsium researchers revealed a report showing that all of the major hardware companies, including ASRock, ASUSTeK Computer, ATI Technologies (AMD), Biostar, EVGA, Getac, GIGABYTE, Huawei, Insyde, Intel, Micro-Star International (MSI), NVIDIA, Phoenix Technologies, Realtek Semiconductor, SuperMicro, and Toshiba have this systemic problem.

And keep in mind that this list is not complete. Some of the names are not yet public because those companies have yet to address the issues with their drivers. And the worst news is still to come.

“It is of particular concern that the drivers in question were not rogue or unsanctioned – in fact, just the opposite. All the drivers come from trusted third-party vendors, signed by valid Certificate Authorities, and certified by Microsoft. Both Microsoft and the third-party vendors will need to be more vigilant with these types of vulnerabilities going forward,” revealed the researchers.

That’s right, all the drivers were certified by Microsoft, which means that even if you wipe your OS clean right now, you’re still going to install the bad drivers. And there is no way to prevent the operating system from installing a certified driver.

It’s very likely that users are going to receive a wealth of new drivers in the coming weeks and months as the companies fix the vulnerabilities. Until then, we can only hope that only the people at Eclypsium are the ones to find them.



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