Tag Archives: Gadget Reviews

Twitter tests a feature that simplifies your tweetstorms

Twitter declined to offer an on-the-record comment to TechCrunch. However, our colleagues understand that the feature isn’t (currently) available for public tests.

It’s questionable whether or not enabling tweetstorms is the wisest idea. Wouldn’t it be better if the company encouraged you to post on Medium, where your thoughts won’t read out like a tiny serialized novel? So long as the company keeps its 140-character limit, though, it’s understandable why it would at least toy with the concept. The people who tend to indulge in tweetstorms (such as tech luminaries and political activists) are highly influential and drive a lot of activity. Twitter likely wants to do whatever it can to court these people lest they wander over to Facebook and take their followers with them.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/10/twitter-tests-tweetstorm-feature/

Tesla extends range on cars to help owners avoid Hurricane Irma

It’s good to know that Tesla has the option of unlocking batteries in special circumstances, especially since buying a permanent unlock could cost several thousand dollars. You wouldn’t want to have to stop at a Supercharger station (many of which were still running on September 9th, thankfully) with a life-threatening storm bearing down on you.

With that said, it does illustrate the potential issues with capping EV batteries using software. At what point does an automaker (not just Tesla) decide that an unlock is important? There are smaller-scale emergencies where offering the full capacity might still be helpful. It’s not as pressing a question for Tesla now that the company isn’t selling cars with software battery caps, but it’s something that manufacturers may need to account for if they consider implementing software limits in the future.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/10/tesla-extends-range-on-cars-in-hurricane-irma-path/

Virginia to replace voting machines over hacking concerns

The move is effectively forcing the Virginia government’s hand. As Politico points out, Governor McAuliffe had asked the legislature for money to buy more secure voting machines two years ago, but was shot down. Now, there’s not much choice — the direct-recording machines are no longer certified, so something has to take their place.

There’s no guarantee that other states will follow Virginia’s lead, provided the decision holds up. The Elections Department has notified other states of its recommendations, however, and it won’t be surprising if other states follow suit given how anxious they are about hacking attempts. Paper records are the only relatively surefire way to verify the accuracy of election results, and the steep cost of replacing them (McAuliffe wanted $28 million) may be worth it for the peace of mind when a vote comes into question.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/09/virginia-replaces-voting-machines-over-hacking-concerns/

Volvo buys premium app-based valet service Luxe

The valet-tech company was almost bought by Uber back in June; The ridesharing titan was similarly looking to acqui-hire Luxe’s assets and staff, though CEO and cofounder Curtis Lee reportedly wouldn’t be making the jump to Uber. But today’s deal will see Lee accompany his team to Volvo, according to Luxe’s blog post on the matter. Volvo will integrate the valet tech into its own systems in its pursuit of ultimate driver service:

“Our vision is a future in which technology simplifies life so you never have to stop at a petrol station, go to a car wash or even take your car in for service ever again. The acquisition of Luxe is a step towards realising that ambition. I look forward to working closely with the highly talented team at Luxe who created its advanced technology from the ground up,” said Atif Rafiq, Chief Digital Officer at Volvo Cars, in a press release.

Luxe’s tech includes algorithms for routing, logistics planning and arrival time prediction, which will help with unspecified digital services in future Volvo connected cars. Even though most automakers are fixated on developing autonomous systems, some are likewise interested in valet convenience. Daimler recently outfitted its Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany with a self-parking service as a proof-of-concept.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/09/volvo-buys-premium-app-based-valet-service-luxe/

Here’s a full-length look at SpaceX’s spacesuit

The flexible, padded joint areas look like they’ll give wearers a good range of motion, while the boots are relatively lightweight. That’s not surprising since, as TechCrunch notes, these are for use while inside the Dragon capsule or transferring to other vehicles where the environment is pressurized, not a long walk in the cold vacuum of space. There’s no word on when we’ll get our next pre-Mars trip fashion show, so enjoy this pic for now.

Astronaut spacesuit next to Crew Dragon

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Sep 8, 2017 at 1:04pm PDT

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/08/heres-a-full-length-look-at-spacexs-spacesuit/

Canada’s new radio telescope starts mapping the universe

CHIME looks like a collection of four 100-meter-long skateboarding halfpipes, but they weren’t made for anybody to skate on. They were built over the past seven years to hear very weak signals from the universe and to gather one terabyte of information per second all day, every day. That means it’s constantly creating and updating a massive 3D map of space.

When the 50 Canadian scientists from the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) started conceptualizing the project, there was no system that could handle that amount of information. Thanks to advances in video game hardware, the system now exists. Since 1 TB per second is pretty insane, CHIME compresses the info it gathers by a factor of 100,000 first before saving files on disks.

Now that it’s up and working, CHIME is ready to work towards achieving its primary goal: measuring the acceleration of the universe’s expansion. An accurate measurement of the expansion will help scientists figure out what causes it, whether it’s actually the mysterious form of energy that’s believed to be permeating space called “dark energy” or something else. By extension, the telescope’s data could one day confirm if dark energy truly exists.

University of British Columbia’s Dr. Mark Halpern explains:

“With the CHIME telescope we will measure the expansion history of the universe and we expect to further our understanding of the mysterious dark energy that drives that expansion ever faster. This is a fundamental part of physics that we don’t understand and it’s a deep mystery. This is about better understanding how the universe began and what lies ahead.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/08/canada-chime-radio-telescope/