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Latest revision as of 21:11, 22 March 2020

Space, the Private Frontier
Number 3720
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 18, 2020
Episode Length 30:15
Hosts Tom Merritt, Sarah Lane, Roger Chang

Critics attack Samsung’s Galaxy Z foldable phone, Dutch man runs dairy from barge and Space X wants to put you in orbit, for a price!

Quick Hits

Bloomberg reports that launch of a low-cost iPhone SE is still on track to happen in March. An updated iPad Pro with the new camera module could still be delayed or constrained. Outside possibilities also include an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air, AirTags trackers for your items that work on UltraWideBand and a wireless charging mat. TF Securities Analyst Ming-chi Kuo's sources say Apple will ramp up production of AirTags in Q2 or Q3.
The Verge reports Nvidia says there was a "misunderstanding" between itself and ActivisionBlizzard over the GeForce Now service. It thought it had permission to keep Battle.net games but it was mistaken. Bloomberg's sources say ActivisionBlizzard wants a commercial agreement but Nvidia does not want any commercial agreements. And regarding our speculation that this had to do with Stadia, it appears not. An ActivisionBlizzard spokesperson told The Verge that the company is focusing "specifically" on YouTube and Google Cloud.
Microsoft released its all-in-one Office app for Android to everyone. The app combines Android versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and lets you browse files in OneDrive. It also syncs with Windows 10 Notes and includes OfficeLens scanner and a QR code reader. The app is locked in portrait mode and has no UI for tablets or Chromebooks.
A report in Nature describes a device called Air-gen created by electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley at UMass Amherst that generated electricity from the moisture in the air. Electrically conductive nanowire produced by the microbe Geobacter interact with naturally present water vapor to create current. It works even in low humidity conditions like that found in the Sahara desert. The Air-gen can power small electronics like wearables and should reach commercial scale soon.
Dell announced it’s selling RSA Security to a private equity consortium for $2.075 billion. The transaction includes RSA Archer, RSA NetWitness Platform, RSA SecurID, RSA Fraud and Risk Intelligence and RSA Conference. The sales is expected to close in the next six to nine months.
Kickstarter employees voted 46 to 37 in favor of forming a union with the Office and Professional Employees International Union. Kickstarter workers are the first white collar workers at a major tech company to successfully unionize in the United States. Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan said in a statement, "We support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here."

Top Stories

Qualcomm unveiled its 5-nanometer Snapdragon X60 5G modem which it says is the first to offer carrier aggregation for signals sent over sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave variants of 5G networks. This would let a carrier send data over multiple bands at once leading to faster speeds overall. Samples of the X60 5G modem will go out in Q1 and are expected to show up in phones in early 2021.
One of the elements of Samsung's foldable Galaxy Z Flip was that it used glass instead of plastic for the screen implying it might be more durable. YouTube reviewer Zack Nelson found the Z Flip started showing scratches at Level 2 while most smartphones show scratches at level 6 or 7. Samsung told The Verge that the UltraThinGlass has a protective layer on top, implying the scratches might be in that layer. Samsung said it will offer a one-time free application for a screen protector and a screen replacement program for $119. And there are some reports of breaking. A user on Twitter cracked the Z Flip after one fold out of the box, possibly because of cold weather. And in CNET's 3 foot drop test the glass shattered.
Want to go to space? SpaceX plans to send four private citizens into orbit at the end of 2021 or early 2022. Space Adventures, which has helped 7 private citizens visit space will help with the project. The tourists will fly in a Dragon capsule at around the same height as the International Space Station, orbit two to three times and return to Earth. The first crewed Dragon flight is supposed to take place with NASA astronauts on board later this year. SpaceX also has a contract with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to fly around the Moon on the future Big Falcon rocket. Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are planning suborbital flights to let paying customers experience weightlessness.
Wired's Laura Mallonee has an article about a floating cow farm from a company called Beladon in Rotterdam harbour that aims to be a sustainable food source. The 4,943-square foot stable floats on concrete pontoons anchored into the seabed. Cows eat potato peels and grass clippings. Their waste is turned into fertilizer for park grass that provides the clippings for food. Milk from the cows is bottled or made into yogurt. The farm appears to be too expensive to replicate widely and relies on too many resources (outside the cows) to maintain sustainability. Beladon founder Peter van Wingerden hopes the experiment will spark more creative thinking about food sustainability.
Starting this week, Ring will require all users to use a second factor when logging in. Users will be offered text message or email to receive a six digit code. Ring also introduced new options for controlling when data is shared with third parties. You can turn off sharing data with companies that create personalized ads. And data sharing with analytics services is paused while Ring works on an opt out system. Last month, Ring added a privacy dashboard and options to control whether or not police can request footage.
Supply-chain analytics provider TrendForce issued a new report that smartphone production is projected to decline 12 percent year-on-year this quarter due to issues with the coronavirus, making it the lowest quarter in five years. Apple warned Monday that it might not reach its previous Q2 revenue guidance of $63 to $67 billion due to the effects of the Coronavirus on supply chains. Manufacturing is resuming in China more slowly than expected. Apple said the "worldwide iPhone supply would be temporarily constrained." In China itself, some Apple stores remain closed or at reduced hours. Apple did not offer new quarterly guidance numbers. Xiaomi also announced an expected impact to its sales. Samsung is expected to feel less impact as half its smartphones are made in Vietnam and it does not have strong sales in China.


I work at a federal agency that just introduced Teams and I've been trying to get my colleagues to bring Teams into their workflow. Unfortunately, the key hurdle to this is my workplace's policy that we cannot create our own teams and need to submit an IT ticket. The integration into Office 365 leads me to believe it would be great for managing VIP travel and keeping team members in the loop in general. Right now this is being done (poorly) via email and WhatsApp.

The rationale for the IT ticket is that if individuals create Teams willy-nilly, it will burden record retention requirements. However, a lot of that gets lost when we rely on WhatsApp as well as the shared document viewing/editing capability.

I'm going to keep up my campaign and hope that, when I get into a management position, I'll be a little more technologically nimble than my current bosses.
Sent by Anonymous Federal Drone

In reference to the story on a car loosing auto drive features. If Tesla really wanted to connect features to a car, they would use the VIN for the vehicle – Not the purchaser name. The VIN never changes, the owner will. I feel that using the original owner’s name, instead of the VIN, shows how immature Tesla is as a car manufacturer. It’s either that, or Tesla always intended to rip off the second owner by making them purchase the option again. They just got caught when Jalopnik ran the story.
Sent by Tom McKaig

Tens of thousands of used Teslas have been sold over the past 10 years and all indications are that 99.9% of the time all the software purchases transfers to the new owner without issue. I know it would have been nice if Tesla had issued a statement about this, but I think for them this was a non-story. One mistake was made and fixed and there is nothing worth talking about. Obviously many other people didn't see it that way.
Sent by James from Irvine



Preceded by:
"Team Teams or Team Slack?"
Space, the Private Frontier
Followed by:
"Photoshop at 30"