Friday Tech News Roundup #26

Below are 10 tech news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Apple AirPods are the latest tech product that can allegedly explode – Another tech product, another explosive allegation. Mashable

Some iPhone source code just hit GitHub, and Apple isn’t pleased – Apple’s legal team has been busy. Mashable

10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Apple’s HomePod – Apple HomePod sounds really great, works with Apple Music, Siri is still meh, and it requires an iOS device to set up. The end, right? Mashable

Microsoft is testing authenticator logins for Windows 10 S users – It seems Microsoft may be aiming to ditch passwords sooner than some may have thought. The company first made their anti-password goals clear back in 2015 with the release of Windows 10 which launched with the “Windows Hello” facial recognition system for logins. Techspot

Intel rolls out random reboot-free Spectre microcode updates for Skylake chips – Back in January, we covered Google Project Zero’s disclosure of massive CPU security flaws Spectre and Meltdown. If you’ve never heard of these vulnerabilities before, here’s the gist: Spectre and Meltdown are two serious CPU security vulnerabilities that allow hackers to steal personal data from computers, mobile devices and servers without a given machine’s owner ever realizing it. Techspot

Hacker group manages to run Linux on a Nintendo Switch – Hacker group fail0verflow shared a photo of a Nintendo Switch running Debian, a distribution of Linux (via Nintendo Life). The group claims that Nintendo can’t fix the vulnerability with future firmware patches. Techcrunch

Nvidia up 10% after Q4 earnings beat, says cryptocurrency demand ‘exceeded expectations’ – Nvidia’s successes are continuing to pile on as the company’s gaming and data center businesses drove revenues up 34 percent year-over-year. Techcrunch

From July, Chrome will flag all unencrypted websites as ‘not secure’ – Google’s fight for a more secure internet continues with the announcement that its Chrome 68 update – to be released in July this year – will see all unencrypted websites (HTTP sites) marked with a ‘not secure’ label. Techradar

Surface Pro 5 release date, news and rumors – You might suspect that the Surface Pro (2017) is the closest we’ll ever get to the Surface Pro 5, but if Microsoft itself is anything to go by, you would be dead wrong. The Surface Pro 5 doesn’t exist right now, as Microsoft Surface leader Panos Panay confirmed last May, but it will when more meaningful changes erupt from the geniuses at Microsoft’s hardware design lab. Techradar

Microsoft is reportedly shifting its Windows strategy as it tries to outmaneuver Apple and Google – Last weekend, long-time Microsoft blogger Brad Sams reported that Windows 10 S – the latest version of the operating system, launched in mid-2017 – is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Business Insider

Wednesday Science News Roundup #25

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

New CRISPR method efficiently corrects Duchenne muscular dystrophy defect in heart tissue – Scientists have developed a CRISPR gene-editing technique that can potentially correct a majority of the 3,000 mutations that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) by making a single cut at strategic points along the patient’s DNA, according to a new study. Science Daily

Magnetic brain stimulation alters negative emotion perception – A new study reports that processing of negative emotion can be strengthened or weakened by tuning the excitability of the right frontal part of the brain. Science Daily

Brain pacemaker study shows promise in slowing decline of Alzheimer’s – Researchers have studied how using an implant — likened to a pacemaker for the brain — could help Alzheimer’s patients to retain cognitive, behavioral and functional abilities longer while also improving quality of life. Science Daily

It’s a bad idea for a toad to swallow a bombardier beetle – Toad versus bombardier beetle is almost a fair fight. Toads are hugely bigger, can tongue-strike in an eyeblink and swallow all kinds of nasty stuff. But bombardier beetles can shoot hot steam and noxious chemicals from their back ends. Science News

A blood test could predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease – A new blood test might reveal whether someone is at risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Science News

Insane Numbers of Viruses Are Constantly Falling on Us From The Sky, Study Shows – If there are viruses on the ground and viruses in the water, one might expect there are viruses in the sky as well. Science Alert

Ingredient In McDonalds Fries Key To Curing Baldness, Researchers Find – You wouldn’t expect a McDonald’s Happy Meal to be a cure for anything, unless you’re chronically underweight. However, a new study has found that a key ingredient in making the meals might be better used to cure baldness. IFLScience

Woodpeckers Seemingly Avoid Brain Damage Despite The Build Up Of Abnormal Tau Proteins – As an animal that spends much of its time hammering its head against trees at a force of 1,200 g’s, it’s unsurprising that many sports companies have looked to the woodpecker’s biology to design better safety equipment and helmets for football players, in order to protect them against brain damage. IFLScience

New Data Shows TRAPPIST-1 Planets Are More Habitable Than We Ever Thought – You’ve probably been on the edge of your seat wondering what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system has been up to. Now we have four new studies that have probed the planets and its star, and found that they definitely bear further investigation in our search for extraterrestrial life. Science Alert

For The First Time Ever, Astronomers Have Detected Planets Outside Our Galaxy – In an incredible world first, astrophysicists have detected multiple planets in another galaxy, ranging from masses as small as the Moon to ones as great as Jupiter. Science Alert

Friday Tech News Roundup #25

Below are 10 tech news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

iPhone sales numbers dipped slightly, but revenue is up courtesy of the iPhone X – As far as sales figures go, this last quarter wasn’t entirely rosy for Apple. During today’s earnings report, the company posted sales of 77.3 million iPhones, down just under a million from this time last year. Of course, that 78.2 million figure from 2017 represented a new record for the company. Techcrunch

Apple saw $5.5 billion in revenue from AirPods, Watches, TVs and other products last quarter – Other than its iPhones and computers, Apple sells a bunch of other products, like the AirPods, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Beats products, iPod Touch and, most recently, the HomePod. In Q1 2018, Apple saw $5.5 billion in revenue for these other products, an increase of 36 percent year over year. Techcrunch

Facebook bans cryptocurrency ads due to frequent fraud – Those cryptocurrency ads that promise to make you rich in a matter of days? You won’t see them on Facebook any more. Mashable

Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop is cheaper and slower at $799 – Microsoft has launched a new version of its Surface Laptop today, bringing the base unit price down to $799. The software giant quietly unveiled the cheaper Surface Laptop over at the Microsoft Store, and the new $799 variant ships with Intel’s Core m3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. That makes the new base model slower and cheaper than the previous version at $999 that shipped with a Core i5 processor and the same low amount of RAM. The Verge

Apple finally lists all the ways you can play audio on HomePod, and Bluetooth isn’t one – After a degree of confusion over the possible ways to play music on its new HomePod speaker, Apple has cleared things up by posting more information on compatible audio sources. The HomePod does indeed work with iTunes Match and purchased iTunes tracks as well as Apple Music, according to Apple’s website, which also mentions Beats 1, podcasts, and the ability to AirPlay “other content” from various Apple products. You should be able to beam songs from apps like Spotify, then, though you won’t be able to play them with spoken commands. The Verge

Google and 3M join the USI, an initiative aimed at creating an open standard for styluses – Touchscreens may have become the norm but styluses still have their uses. While they are primarily used throughout the digital art community, many regular users still prefer them over their fingers due to a stylus’ superior accuracy. Techspot

Cisco issues critical vulnerability alert for devices using WebVPN – Cisco recently issued an urgent security advisory regarding devices configured with WebVPN. The vulnerability is in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) devices. The company has labeled it a critical flaw with a CVSS score of 10 which is as high as the scale goes. Techspot

Samsung launches 800GB Z-SSD for AI and high-performance computing – There is no shortage of demand for faster enterprise storage and Samsung now has a new product to offer. The SZ985 Z-SSD is an 800GB, four-lane PCIe SSD based on Z-NAND memory that offers nearly ten times the read performance compared to 3-bit V-NAND chips. The SZ985 is designed for supercomputing and artificial intelligence applications and can act as an extremely high-speed cache drive. Techspot

Quantum Computers Threaten Data Encryption – The promise of quantum computing comes with a major downside: “Cryptographically useful” quantum machines will threaten public key encryption used to secure data in the cloud, a new report warns. HPCWire

Firefox users should update now to patch security flaw – Mozilla has released a critical update for Firefox that repairs a security flaw that could have allowed hackers to run unauthorized code on a user’s PC. Techradar

Wednesday Science News Roundup #24

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Your brain reveals who your friends are – You may perceive the world the way your friends do, according to a new study finding that friends have similar neural responses to real-world stimuli and these similarities can be used to predict who your friends are. Science Daily

TBI is associated with increased dementia risk for decades after injury – Traumatic brain injuries increase the risk of a dementia diagnosis for more than 30 years after a trauma, though the risk of dementia decreases over time, according to a new study. Science Daily

Language is learned in brain circuits that predate humans – It has often been claimed that humans learn language using brain components that are specifically dedicated to this purpose. Now, new evidence strongly suggests that language is in fact learned in brain systems that are also used for many other purposes and even pre-existed humans. Science Daily

Life may have been possible in Earth’s earliest, most hellish eon – Maybe Earth’s early years weren’t so hellish after all. Science News

Here’s why so many saiga antelope mysteriously died in 2015 – Spring calving season for the saiga antelope of central Kazakhstan is a delight for the researchers who keep tabs on the critically endangered animals. During the day, thousands of newborn saigas lie quiet, hidden within a sea of waving grass. Mothers return twice daily to feed them. “If you come at dawn and dusk, it’s magical,” says E.J. Milner-Gulland, a conservation biologist at the University of Oxford who has studied saigas for 27 years. “You hear this mewing noise, and all the babies come rushing up to the females.” Science News

There’s a Scary Link Between Bad Sleep And The Onset of Alzheimer’s – Fragmented sleep, marked by repeated wake-ups during the night and a need to nap during the day, could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research. Science Alert

Earth Went Strangely Quiet About 2 Billion Years Ago And We Don’t Know Why – A new study has added evidence to the hypothesis that our planet experienced a lull in geology between 2.2 and 2.3 billion years ago, when not a lot went on as far as rock-forming processes go. Science Alert

The Eastern Cougar Is Declared Extinct After Not Being Seen For 80 Years – The eastern cougar is now officially extinct. IFLScience

Discoverer Of Gabon’s Strange Orange Crocodiles Thinks They’re Evolving Into A New Species – Just 10 years ago, an expedition of biologists came across a very strange group of cave-dwelling, bat-munching dwarf crocodiles living within Gabon’s Abanda cave system. IFLScience

More Evidence Has Been Found For A Link Between Sugar And Alzheimer’s – A new study provides more evidence for a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, something that’s been hinted at before. IFLScience

Friday Tech News Roundup #24

Below are 10 tech news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Google hired professional photographers to help train its AI cameraHow – did Google get Clips, its AI-powered camera, to learn to automatically take the best shots of users and their families? Well, as the company explains in a new blog post, its engineers went to the professionals — hiring “a documentary filmmaker, a photojournalist, and a fine arts photographer” to produce visual data to train the neural network powering the camera. The Verge

Lyft employees may have improperly looked at customer data – As Uber goes, so does Lyft, apparently. The ride-hailing company says it’s investigating whether some of its employees abused access clearances and looked into customers’ information, with one saying it went on for “too long.” The Verge

Singtel to offer Apple Watch Series 3 with built-in cellular service from Feb 9 – Singtel will be the first telco in Singapore to offer a new model of the Apple Watch Series 3 which has a built-in cellular service, from Feb 9, according to a statement on Friday (Jan 26). Business Insider

Spotify user? You may as well forget about Apple HomePod – Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker is finally launching on Feb. 9. There are a dozen reasons why you shouldn’t buy one — it’s kind of big, it’s expensive, it doesn’t support the ballyhooed multi-room audio at launch, Siri (lol) — but my biggest concern hinges on its key selling point: music. Mashable

Apple raises privacy concerns by putting medical records on iPhones – Apple wants to put your medical history in the palm of your hand. The tech giant confirmed Wednesday that it intends to allow customers access to their medical records via iPhones on iOS 11.3 beta. But like with so many things in the world of highly personal data, putting medical information on a digitally connected device is not without risk — and how it all shakes out could have a huge impact on the lives of millions. Mashable

Firefox’s Quantum update will block websites from tracking you 24/7 – Mozilla’s speedy Firefox Quantum browser hit the ground running when it rolled out in November. On Tuesday, Mozilla released an update to the browser, called Firefox 58. Its most significant feature: 24/7 tracking protection. Mashable

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem – “The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved,” proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and received a patent for a “processor design, which allows representation of real numbers accurate to the last digit.” The patent (No. 9,817,662, “Apparatus for Calculating and Retaining a Bound on Error During Floating Point Operations and Methods Thereof”) was issued on November 14, 2017. HPCWire

Apple could be redesigning the iBooks app – As AppleInsider first spotted, the first beta of iOS 11.3 includes a subtle change. iBooks is now called Books. And Mark Gurman thinks it could be a sign that there will be bigger changes with Apple’s ebook reading app. Techcrunch

You can now buy a Surface Laptop with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed – Microsoft’s productivity-focused Surface Laptops were met with a fairly positive reception when they launched back in May. However, not everybody was a fan of the devices’ stripped-down Windows 10 S operating systems. The OS, created to compete with Google’s lightweight Chrome OS, only allows customers to download and use apps from the Microsoft Store. Techspot

Fitbit to end support for Pebble smartwatches in June – Fitbit on Wednesday said it would be extending its support of the Pebble smartwatch ecosystem for an additional six months, until June 30, 2018. Techspot