Category: Hardware

June 10, 2019 Off

White House budget chief looks to delay Huawei ban

By Jill T Frey

The already complicated U.S./Huawei situation got a few more wrinkles this week. Acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell T. Vought sent a letter to VP Mike Pence and members of Congress requesting a delay in the implementation of the forthcoming Huawei ban.

Sent June 4 and since obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the letter asks for delay in certain key parts of the Trump-signed National Defense Authorization Act that has caused the smartphone maker to be barred from doing business in the U.S.

“While the Administration recognizes the importance of these prohibitions to national security,” Vought writes, “a number of agencies have heard significant concerns from a wide range of potentially impacted stakeholders who would be affected.”

The U.S. has long contended that the source of its issues with the smartphone and telecom hardware giant has ties to the Chinese government that present security … Read the rest

June 8, 2019 Off

Maker Faire halts operations and lays off all staff

By Jill T Frey

Financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company behind crafting publication MAKE: magazine as well as the science and art festival Maker Faire, to lay off its entire staff of 22 and pause all operations. TechCrunch was tipped off to Maker Media’s unfortunate situation which was then confirmed by the company’s founder and CEO Dale Dougherty.

For 15 years, MAKE: guided adults and children through step-by-step do-it-yourself crafting and science projects, and it was central to the maker movement. Since 2006, Maker Faire’s 200 owned and licensed events per year in over 40 countries let attendees wander amidst giant, inspiring art and engineering installations.

Maker Media Inc ceased operations this week and let go of all of its employees — about 22 employees” Dougherty tells TechCrunch. “I started this 15 years ago and it’s always been a struggle as a business to make this work. Print publishing … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Weighing Peloton’s opportunity and risks ahead of IPO

By Jill T Frey

Exercise tech company Peloton filed confidentially for IPO this week, and already the big question is whether their last private valuation at $4 billion might be too rich for the appetites of public market investors. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons leading up to the as-yet revealed market debut date.

Risk factors

The biggest thing to pay attention to when it comes time for Peloton to actually pull back the curtains and provide some more detailed info about its customers in its S-1. To date, all we really know is that Peloton has “more than 1 million users,” and that’s including both users of its hardware and subscribers to its software.

The mix is important – how many of these are actually generating recurring revenue (vs. one-time hardware sales) will be a key gauge. MRR is probably going to be more important to prospective investors … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

How Amazon’s delivery robots will navigate your sidewalk

By Jill T Frey

Earlier this year, Amazon announced its Scout sidewalk delivery robot. At the time, details were sparse, except for the fact that the company had started to make deliveries in a neighborhood in Washington State. Today, at Amazon’s re:Mars conference, I sat down with Sean Scott, the VP in charge of Scout, to talk about how his team built the robot, how it finds its way around and what its future looks like.

These relatively small blue robots could be roaming a sidewalk near you soon, though as of now, Amazon isn’t quite ready to talk about when and where it will expand its network from its single neighborhood to other areas.

“For the last decade, we’ve invested billions of dollars in cargo planes and delivery vans, fulfillment center robots, and last holiday period, we shipped over a billion products with Prime free shipping,” Scott told me. “So it’s my … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

A backdoor in Optergy tech could remotely shut down a smart building ‘with one click’

By Jill T Frey

Homeland Security has given the maximum severity score for a vulnerability in a popular smart building automation system.

Optergy’s Proton allows building owners and managers to remotely monitor energy consumption and manage who can access the premises. The box is web-connected, and connects to other devices — like air conditioning and heating — in the building for real-time monitoring through a web interface.

CISA, the government’s dedicated cybersecurity unit, said the device had serious vulnerabilities.

An advisory said an attacker could gain “full system access” through an “undocumented backdoor script.” This, the advisory said, could allow the attacker to run commands on a vulnerable device with the highest privileges. Backdoors typically grant hidden or undocumented access to a system, and can be used for tech support to remotely login and troubleshoot issues. But if found by an attacker, backdoors can also be used maliciously.

The vulnerability required a “low level” … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Live from WWDC 2019

By Jill T Frey

Greetings from sunny San Jose. Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference officially kicks off this morning at the McEnery Convention Center with a big keynote. While the rest of the week is focused on developers, today’s show is all about what’s the come from the company, and after relatively low key events from Google and Microsoft, Apple’s looking to make a splash this year.

We’ve already seen a fair share of rumors and leaks — you can read about those here. The list includes system-wide dark mode for iOS 13, a focus on health and perhaps even the long awaited return of of the Mac Pro.

The show kicks off at at 10AM PT/1PM ET, so grab a snack and get comfy, because we’re going liveblogging below.

Source link Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Teams autonomously mapping the depths take home millions in Ocean Discovery Xprize

By Jill T Frey

There’s a whole lot of ocean on this planet, and we don’t have much of an idea what’s at the bottom of most of it. That could change with the craft and techniques created during the Ocean Discovery Xprize, which had teams competing to map the sea floor quickly, precisely and autonomously. The winner just took home $4 million.

A map of the ocean would be valuable in and of itself, of course, but any technology used to do so could be applied in many other ways, and who knows what potential biological or medical discoveries hide in some nook or cranny a few thousand fathoms below the surface?

The prize, sponsored by Shell, started back in 2015. The goal was, ultimately, to create a system that could map hundreds of square kilometers of the sea floor at a five-meter resolution in less than a day — oh, … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Muro is a retro-style cylinder music box you control with an app

By Jill T Frey

The light twinkle of an old-fashioned cylinder music box evokes many things: nostalgia, childhood memories, sometimes even horror (they are a trope in scary movie soundtracks). Most music boxes play one tune, but with the Muro Box, which exhibited at Computex this week, you can use an app to pick different songs or even compose your own. It even doubles as a smart alarm clock.

Created by Tevofy Technology, a Taiwanese startup, the Muro Box’s components are mounted on a wooden base and visible underneath a glass cover, so you can watch as a 20-note steel comb creates music by plucking pins on its cylinder. The key difference between Muro and traditional music boxes, however, is that Muro’s cylinder is programmable.

The Muro Box is a music box with a programmable cylinder

Instead of a fixed pattern of pins, Muro’s patented convertible cylinder features 20 stainless steel gears, … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019

By Jill T Frey

Last year’s WWDC was a rare step away from hardware for the company, without a single device announcement. In fact, Apple’s gadget lines have largely been the subject of quiet releases over the past year. Ahead of the big Apple TV unveil, the company issued several press releases highlighting minor updates to flagship lines.

Just last week, it did the same for the MacBook, with a quiet announcement around the latest attempt to resolve longstanding issues with the malfunctioning keyboards. Next week’s developer show, on the other hand, is shaping up to be something altogether different. All signs point to a load of big announcements, including, potentially, some Pro hardware.

After a fairly slow I/O and Build, Apple could really make a splash here. The company’s not immune from larger industry trends, and is at a kind of crossroads at the moment. Its last financial call highlighted a shifting … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

Two years after Essential’s launch, still no Home hub or second phone

By Jill T Frey

This morning’s Moto Z4 news was good cause to go back and reassess the state of the modular phone. Three years after the line launched, the concept hasn’t exactly ignited the market — in fact there are really just a handful of scattered competitors to show for it. Essential is among the most prominent with the PH-1’s clever two pin connector.

By sheer coincidence, it turns out today is the two year anniversary of the company’s debut. Founder Andy Rubin took to the stage at Code 2017 with big ideas and two products. One, the Ph-1 has come and gone, launching a couple of months late in August 2017 before being discontinued late last year. The other, the Essential Home hub never appeared at all.

The day the products were announced, then COO Niccolo de Masi (who appears to have since moved on to Honeywell spinoff, Resideo), spoke of a … Read the rest