Tech News

Apple has quietly launched an official Apple TV YouTube channel

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:50

In the lead up to the arrival of the Apple TV Plus streaming service, Apple has quietly launched an official YouTube channel that's dedicated to all things movies and television, as discovered by MacStories

Apple seems to have launched the YouTube channel a month ago with a video highlighting the various storytellers who are currently throwing their creative support behind the Cupertino company's upcoming streaming service, including Hollywood heavyweights like Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams.

At present, however, the channel features very little Apple TV Plus-related promotion (though it is there), instead showcasing general movie and television-based content, such as interviews from HBO's Game of Thrones and M. Night Shyamalan's film Glass, movie trailers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and The Lion King, and behind-the-scenes clips from Hellboy and Broad City. 

As MacStories has pointed out, every video on the channel appears to be ad-free, making it an ideal first destination for new movie trailers. Surprisingly, many of the videos published to the channel are still only in the hundreds of views. 

Another highlight? Comments are also disabled on all of the videos, allowing users to simply enjoy the content without the risk of accidentally getting a face-full of unwanted trolling. Sounds good to us!

Categories: Tech News

The best projectors 2019: 8 projectors to consider for your home cinema

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:27

Best Projector Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's guide to the best home cinema projectors - featuring both 4K and HD models. 

Projectors have long held a vaunted position in the home cinema. That's because while TVs are more than adequate to deliver 4K HDR content, you'll likely need to refinance your house if you want a picture larger than 75-inches. 

But 75-inches is just the beginning for the cinema world.

Whether you want to splash Blu-ray movies across a large white wall, magnify your gaming experience, or throw photos and slides from a mobile device onto a 100-inch plus screen, a home cinema projector should be your first choice.

Unfortunately while most AV enthusiasts dream of the day they bring home a beamer for their living room, few tend to follow through. They have the misconception that projectors are hard to setup (they're not), hard to maintain (they're not) and cost significantly more than a TV (they don't). 

To that end we want to dispel the myths perpetuated by non-cinephiles out there and help you pick a fantastic-looking projector without breaking the bank. To that end, we've rounded up the best projectors we've tested throughout the last year or two and have ranked them below.

Looking for something cheaper? Don't miss our guide to the best projector deals that gets updated each and every month!

We reviewed the predecessor to the HT3550, the BenQ HT2550, late last year, and to great results, but its sequel offers a few great new features: It has a beautiful new design, for starters, but it’s also optimized for BenQ’s HDR-PRO, which supports HDR10 and HLG, plus it zooms up to 1.3 times, and supports a screen size of up to 120 inches with a brightness of up to 2,000 lumens. 

The real upgrade here, however, is the projector’s contrast ratio. While the HT2250 offered a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, the HT3550 steps that up to an impressive 30,000:1 - and the result is a super dynamic image. 

While it might have been nice if the projector could get slightly brighter, given the fact that with enough ambient light it can put a serious damper on the overall image quality, we think the BenQ HT3550 is arguably the best way to go if you’re looking for a great projector in the $1,500/£1,500 price range.  

Read the full review: BenQ HT3550 (W2700)

The BenQ HT2550 may look a bit pricey to someone used to seeing discount 4K TVs, for the price you can’t do much better. The projector boasts vivid, clear colors, plenty of detail, and a 4K resolution – all at well under $2,000. That’s no small feat.

The projector isn’t perfect – the blacks on offer aren’t as deep as we might have liked, the projector still creates some fan noise and there’s also no lens shift – but those small downsides aside, we think the BenQ HT2550 is an excellent option for those that want a solid, no-frills projector with support for a 4K resolution and HDR content. 

Are there better options? Well, there’s the Optoma UHD50, which is $100 cheaper and offers many of the same perks (though color accuracy isn’t quite as good, and the BenQ projector is slightly better-built) but in the end, we think it’s better to spent the extra $100 for the BenQ HT2550.

Read the full review: BenQ HT2550

The BenQ TK800 is the best projector of 2018

Like the HT2550, the main selling point of the BenQ TK800 is that it supports faux-4K by using XPR technology that essentially takes a 1920x1080 pixel DLP chip and flashes the image four times in incredibly fast succession to create an image with a perceived resolution of over eight million pixels. 

Amazingly this actually works, and even with test patterns the images appear to be 4K in terms of resolution. 

What's different about it is that it's also really bright, which means that even with SDR content it can deliver images that have genuine impact, even in less-than-ideal conditions. As such you can use the TK800 in a room with white walls or big windows, and still enjoy a huge projected image.   

Also expect excellent motion handling, which is great for gaming, and it has a low input lag which is also good news for gamers. (The BenQ even supports 3D, although you will need to buy the glasses separately.)  

On the debit side, the black level and the shadow detail are both poor, and the TK800 also uses a color wheel, which restricts its range of colors, especially where HDR is concerned. It also means that certain people will see ‘rainbows’, but that’s just a limitation of single-chip DLP projectors. On top of all that, it's quite noisy thanks to both the color wheel and a fan, although the latter is necessary given the amount of heat generated by the bright bulb. 

Read the full review: BenQ TK800

For the last 10 years, JVC has been the projector brand to follow for black levels that will beat your local cinema screen. It's all thanks to JVC's D-ILA technology, which rival DLP and SXRD models just can't touch. 

Native contrast of 40,000:1 makes blacks looks truly black... that is, if you treat your cinema room to a nice, dark paint job. 

This year one of the main upgrades is HDR performance. The punchiness of HDR won't challenge an ultra-bright LCD TV, but here you'll get an image several times the size. 

Similar to the BenQ HT2550 and TK800 listed above, this beamer uses JVC's eShift technology, which projects two different 1080p images sequentially at 120Hz frequency, making up the detail of a native 4K display. Don't worry, in-person you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and 4K. 

Smart, voice activated controls for a home cinema projector may sound like the kitchen-sink approach to feature lists at first glance, jumping on the buzz-word (or should that be ‘wake word’?) bandwagon of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Google’s Assistant. But think about the environment and scenario that your average projector viewing session takes place in, and it starts to make a lot of sense – you’re in a dark room where seeing buttons isn’t always easy, possibly with your hands loaded up with popcorn and other treats. 

Being able to shout “play the movie!” at a voice activated projector, potentially installed in a bracket high above your head, seems like a sound move. 

Ultimately, while the Alexa features are fun (if a little perfunctory) everything about this the Optoma UHD51A performs exceptionally. At this price you’re going to be hard pressed to find a projector that can deliver this level of picture quality and this feature set more confidently.

The Optoma UHD51A represents a great shift in 4K projecting quality if you find yourself on a tighter budget. What’s on offer here allows even those with smaller living spaces and more modest bank balances a taste of the home cinema high life.

Read the full review: Optoma UHD51A

Now selling for $1,799.99 (£1,799.99), this very large projector is based around Epson's own 3LCD engine and it deals in 4K, HDR 10, 3D, it has an electronic lens, an auto-focus system, and it can reach 2,400 lumens brightness.  

What prevents this from being higher on our list is that doesn't offer the greatest feature-set around – even Epson offers models with more bells and whistles (notably its step-up EH-TW9400, which adds Hybrid Log Gamma, 4K/60p HDR at 18Gbps, and Epson's 4K WiHD wireless transmitter), nor is as ultra-detailed as native 4K projectors – but the massive 4010/EH-TW7400's combination of must-have features and uncompromisingly cinematic images is impossible to argue with.   

Read the full review: Epson Home Cinema 4010 (EH-TW7400 in the UK)

The UHD65 is a hugely enjoyable projector that manages to deliver very good images in both ambient light and blackout conditions. Most projectors commit to one or the other, halving their versatility. 

Though the UHD65 sacrifices both ultra-high brightness for daytime viewing and completely convincing black levels in a blackout, it's actually giving as close the 'best of both worlds' as any projector could: From upscaled HD TV channels and DVDs to Netflix 4K and a Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, few users will have complaints about the cleanness, detail or colour of the UHD65's images.

However, we did miss a few luxury touches that a projector this price should include: The remote control is the same as you’d find on a projector a sixth of the price (and includes some button that have no function), and there’s no motorised zoom, focus and lens shift. All of these would've added a more polished, professional feel, which high-priced products like the UHD65 should always offer; it shouldn’t just be about new technology.

Read the full review: Optoma UHD65

If you want big screen home entertainment but don’t have the space, or funds for a large flatpanel TV or home cinema projector, then LG’s DLP LED Minibeam PH450UG Ultra Short Throw (UST) could be the answer. 

It needs only a dozen centimetres or so to cast a huge image onto a white wall or screen and, even better, it’s also ridiculously compact and relatively affordable at $650 (£529, around AU$864). 

There is a catch of course: The PH450UG has a resolution of just 720p. If you need more, LG has the PF1000U, a slightly larger 1080p UST model, that sells for $1,399 (£999). There are other projectors in this price range capable of 1080p – like the class-leading BenQ HT670 – but if you’re committed to the small form factor, the PH450UG is the way to go.

Read the full review: LG PH450UG Minibeam Projector

Categories: Tech News

Apple might let third parties use more iPhone NFC functionality

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:49

You might be able to swipe your iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max to get into work or pay for food – with services other than Apple Pay. Apple might allow third parties access to more NFC capability in iPhones, sources told TechSpot, which could extend to tap-to-pay and authentication functionality in non-Apple software.

Currently, Apple only lets developers access to NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF), which could, for example, enable users to swap contact information. 

Apple is allegedly opening up iPhone tech to other NFC formats, according to the unnamed sources. One of these, ISO 7816, is usually used for identification and access cards; others, FeliCa and MiFare, enable financial tap-to-pay and/or metro card authentication largely in Japan, but also Hong Kong, mainland China, Indonesia, and elsewhere. 

Tap-to-pass?

While this info comes from anonymous sources, it still hints at a more exciting future that would let consumers roll more authentication and actions into their iPhone. That’s what Apple’s been keen to do anyway – look no further than the baffling Apple credit card

But it could also let consumers use their iPhones for more mundane tasks, like swiping to get through work security or into hotel rooms. It would also, assumedly, let folks use alternative payment services through NFC.

We’ll have to wait for more official confirmation, but with WWDC 2019 coming, we’ll likely hear either way if this feature is really coming.

  • Wonder which iPhones are NFC-enabled? Here's our list of the best iPhones
Categories: Tech News

AMD's 50th anniversary may be honored with special Ryzen and Radeon VII parts

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:08

Following a previous leak that suggested an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Anniversary Edition, a new leak shows product packaging for what could be anniversary models of both the aforementioned Ryzen processor (CPU) as well as a Radeon VII graphics card, as shown by Videocardz.

While the leak shows the boxes that the special edition Ryzen 7 and Radeon VII would come packaged in, it doesn't show anything else. There is no specs list nor unboxed product and no pricing. There's just a link that points to AMD's 50th Anniversary page.

The earlier leak of the Ryzen 7 2700X Anniversary Edition did have prices, because it was spotted on retail websites. Those prices fell in the ballpark of $350, which is a touch above the $329 (£299, AU$469) starting retail price of the standard Ryzen 7 2700X. It would be safe to guess the Radeon VII Anniversary Edition will also be slightly more expensive than the standard edition.

What to expect

One detail the packaging does show is a render of the Radeon VII on the side of the box. While the standard Radeon VII is gray with red accents, the Anniversary Edition appears fully dressed in red. This Team Red (AMD) style may catch the interest of long-time AMD fans to contrast their builds from Team Green (Nvidia) and Team Blue (Intel). 

Though we don't see much beyond the CPU heat spreader on the Ryzen 7 box, it could come bundled with a similarly red Wraith Prism cooler.

Aside from simply being a limited edition with some slightly different style going on, the Ryzen 7 2700X and Radeon VII 50th Anniversary Editions could be binned components with higher overclocking capabilities either out of the box or by users. Intel's 50th-anniversary came with the Core i7-8086K which performed particularly well in overclocking, so it would make sense for AMD to do something comparable for its 50th birthday with both its CPU and GPU lines.

The only question is which AMD fans are going to jump on these new products when Zen 3 CPUs and Navi GPUs may be right around the corner.

Via Tom's Hardware

Categories: Tech News

Apple WWDC 2019: date and keynote predictions

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 16:51

Apple's WWDC 2019 keynote is a month away and we have a lot to look forward to from Tim Cook and company. Its the stage on which new mobile, Mac and Apple TV software is likely to debut – and maybe a little hardware news will get made.

The WWDC 2019 date is Monday, June 3, Apple confirmed back in March and it'll once again take place at the McEnery Convention Center, where Apple held WWDC the previous two years. 

The keynote has traditionally been a showcase for Apple to hype updates to its suite of software, inspiring developers with new features three months in advance of the typical launch dates and teasing the rest of us.

It's possible that we'll see new hardware, too – that hasn't always been the case. Apple introduced its HomePod smart speaker as well as new versions of the iPad Pro WWDC 2017, but only unveiled software at last year's event, waiting for its October hardware-focused show to unveil the new iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9.

We're also expecting to see updates that integrate all the streaming services Apple introduced at its event earlier in 2019. Apple TV Plus is the company's platform to house the handful of prestige shows it's been purchasing and producing over the last couple years, while Apple Arcade is the gaming service to play across every Apple device (except the Apple Watch).

In any case, here's what we heavily suspect (if not outright know) Apple will talk about at WWDC 2019.

iOS 13

The iOS 13 update is the next big release for Apple's mobile operating system, and it's poised to build on the increased speed in older iPhones and Group FaceTime expansion that arrived in iOS 12. 

The next Apple mobile OS update is expected to bring long-awaited features like Dark Mode and perhaps iPad layout changes on the table. iOS 9 and iOS 11 brought big changes to iPad software, so we expect the same from iOS 13. 

At this point, we don't know which older devices will be compatible with iOS 13. Apple typically requires devices to run a particular chip or newer to run their OS, with iOS 11 and iOS 12 supporting iPhones and iPads with an A7 processor (iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini 2) and better.

Based on previous iOS rollouts, the first iOS 13 beta for developers will likely arrive during or a few days after WWDC 2019. Everyone else will be able to try out the new OS when its public beta launches, which is expected at the end of June. We're anticipating an official release alongside the iPhone 11, which should be coming in October, if Apple follows its usual schedule.

macOS 10.15

We loved macOS 10.14 (aka Mojave) for finally introducing system-wide Dark Mode and additional creative tools, but we haven't heard much at all about macOS 10.15 – which doesn't even have a cool nature-themed codename yet (in keeping with recent releases, it will likely reference a California biome).

We don't know much about what's officially coming, but macOS 10.15 could include iOS features like Siri Shortcuts (and potentially the Shortcuts app), Screen Time, improved Apple ID management and special iMessage effects. We've also seen rumors that iTunes will be split into four different apps: Music, Books, TV, and Podcasts. 

There's also the possibility that macOS 10.15 enables Mac users to link up their iPads as secondary displays.

On the other hand, it's also possible that we'll only see incremental improvements, as happened with the move from 10.13 Sierra to 10.14 High Sierra. If that's the case, perhaps we'll see that minimal upgrade in the name – Dry Mojave, maybe?

Apple ruffled feathers when it raised minimum system requirements for macOS Mojave and locked out older machines, so we don't expect those thresholds to change this time around. To be specific: we expect anything newer than a 2015 MacBook, mid-2012 MacBook Pro, any late 2012 MacBook Air/Mac mini/iMac, late 2013 Mac Pro or 2017 iMac Pro to be able to run the next macOS.

Assuming Apple runs its usual schedule, it will introduce macOS 10.15 and release it in late September.

watchOS 6

We haven't heard anything about watchOS 6, but we're assuming that update will be announced at WWDC 2019 for owners of the newer Apple Watches. Perhaps it will be the long-awaited sleep tracker feature (Apple did buy sleep tracking company Beddit two years ago), though that's rumored to be coming to Apple's wearables in 2020.

watchOS 6 will almost certainly be compatible with the latest Apple Watch 4 and previous Apple Watch 3, while support for Apple Watch 2 is likely. We don't have high hopes for the original Apple Watch, however, as it stopped getting updates with watchOS 4.

We expect Apple to follow precedent and launch a watchOS 6 beta shortly after WWDC 2019, then release a final public version in September.

tvOS 13

If you thought we hadn't heard much about Apple's other probable software updates, we know even less about tvOS 13, which we expect to be announced at WWDC 2019. 

But Apple TV devices will certainly support the company's new streaming services. Apple TV Plus will have exclusive shows from big names like Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and M. Night Shyamalan, and is expected to launch in later 2019. That's around when Apple Arcade is set to launch, which will have a host of games you can play across iOS, macOS and tvOS devices.

At last year's WWDC, Apple mentioned very little about the then-upcoming tvOS 12, which brought Dolby Atmos overhead surround sound, Dolby Vision HDR standard and zero sign-on that auto-filled passwords from your home Wi-Fi network (for US users, at least).

We don't know about any features coming with the supposed tvOS 13, but if it follows precedent, it will arrive in mid-September.

Categories: Tech News

Razer launches new Blade Pro 17 alongside impressive Blade 15 refresh

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 15:41

Alongside the announcements of new high-power mobile CPUs from Intel and new mobile Nvidia 16-series GPUs, Razer has launched its own new products. These come in the form of new Razer Blade Pro 17 and a mid-2019 refresh to its Razer Blade 15 line.

The update to the Razer Blade Pro 17 has been some time coming, and the new model enjoys some considerable changes. The bezels around the screen are trimmed down dramatically, allowing for a smaller overall chassis size while keeping the large screen. The trackpad has also been moved to sit below the keyboard instead of to the side of it.

Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan says the new Blade Pro 17 is "the perfect laptop for gamers who demand a large display, an insane amount of connectivity options and excellent performance with no room for compromise."

The speeds and feeds

The new Razer Blade Pro 17 comes powered by the new Intel Core i7-9750H six-core processor (CPU) paired with the choice of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, or RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics processor (GPU). The laptop boasts 16GB of DDR4-2,667MHz memory, though users can swap in Intel XMP-compatible DIMMs with speeds up to 3,200MHz.

In terms of storage, every model comes with 512GB of PCIe SSD storage and an empty M.2 slot for extra storage by default. Each drive slot can support up to 2TB of storage.

For ports and wireless, the Razer Blade Pro 17 includes a 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 2.0b, a UHS-III SD card reader and five USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with three using Type-A connections and two using Type-C connections. One of the Type-C ports also supports Thunderbolt 3. Beyond the Ethernet, the laptop also supports the new Wi-Fi 6 standard.

The 17.3-inch display on the Razer Blade Pro uses a Full HD matte panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and 100% coverage of the sRGB color space.

The Razer Blade Pro 17 starts at $2,499 (about £1,920, AU$3,520) and will go on sale starting May 2019 in the US, Canada, UK and other markets. Upgrading to the model with an RTX 2080 bumps the price up to $3,199 (about £2,450, AU$4,510).

The Pro isn't all

Alongside the 17.3-inch Pro are some updated models of the Razer Blade 15.

The new Razer Blade 15 comes packing a 9th-Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor with six cores and is paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 to power the now-standard 144Hz ,1080p display. And, that's just for the 'Base' model. 

The advanced model has the option of a 240Hz display with 100% coverage of the sRGB color space, or a 4K OLED with 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space – and an RTX 2080 to power it.

The Razer Blade 15 Base starts at $1,999 (about £1,530, AU$2,820), while the Advanced models start at $2,399 (about £1,840, AU$3,380). Both launch April 24 in the US and Canada with additional markets to follow in May.

Given what these new models are packing, particularly the color-rich OLED display, they actually offer considerable competition to the new Razer Blade Pro 17 for creative workloads. They're offering the same CPU and GPU options, equivalent RAM (with the Advanced model able to offer the same upgrades as the Pro), and displays that are the same or better if only slightly smaller.

Categories: Tech News

2019 London Marathon live stream: how to watch coverage from anywhere in the world

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 10:30

The surge of the adrenaline, the smell of the vaseline, the shine of the silver foil blanket. It must be London Marathon time! 26.2 gruelling miles around the streets of the UK's capital city, it's one of the world's most famous long-distance road races and thankfully getting a 2019 London Marathon live stream is a heck of a lot easier than trying to compete in the thing.

And the 2019 edition is likely to be one of the most watched in recent years, thanks to the presence of one Sir Mo Farah. Yep, Mo's back again. But with the fastest marathon time of 2hrs 1mins 39secs set by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin last year, he's the one to watch. Will it be misery or the Mobot? Either way, TechRadar will tell you how to live stream all the Marathon action.

But the London Marathon isn't just about the so-called elite runners. It's the fun runners, wheelchair athletes and plethora of weird and wacky fancy-dress costumes that make the event so iconic. Around 40,000 people will be running today, the vast majority fulfilling long held dreams.

And the great news is that getting a live stream of the 2019 London Marathon is really easy, as the BBC has the rights to show it in all its glory - just as it has since the inaugural year in 1981. And even if you live outside the UK keep reading as we’ll show you how to live stream the London Marathon 2019 from wherever you are in the world.


How to watch the London Marathon for free: UK stream Stream the London Marathon from outside your country

We've got your UK and US watching options covered in this article. But if you try to watch the 2019 London Marathon and you're abroad, you're going to be out of luck - coverage will be geo-blocked.

Luckily, there's an easy way around even this hurdle. Simply download and install a VPN to change your IP address to a server back in your country. That way, your laptop, mobile or streaming device will think it's back at home and thus the geo-block will be avoided. Lovely!

How to watch a 2019 London Marathon live stream in the US

If you’re in the US and want to watch this year’s London Marathon, then you’re in luck as you have several ways to watch the event. 

NBC Sports will air all the action on the day with the Elite Men's race starting from 5.10am ET, 2.10am PT.

If you’d prefer to stream the London Marathon on your computer, streaming devices or on mobile, the NBC site and NBC Sports App will also be streaming the event. 

If you want more athletics for your buck and plan on tuning into the Diamond League as well as the rest of the IAAF Championships, NBC Sports Gold also offers a Track and Field Pass for $74.99 a year. The service lets you stream all of the top marathons and other athletic events without commercial interruptions and if you happen to miss an event, you can always watch it later on-demand.

Categories: Tech News

Anthem's next big update promises new Stronghold and bug squashing

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 10:14

Anthem hasn't had an easy ride since its launch in February. BioWare's online multiplayer has been plagued by bugs and crashes, while also being criticized for its poor end game and predictable narrative. Is there any saving Anthem? Well, BioWare certainly hopes so.

The developer has announced the next big Anthem update will roll out today for all platforms, adding a new Stronghold and squashing some pesky bugs. 

Check out the announcement tweet from BioWare's global community lead Andrew Johnson below:

How to download the update

Image credit: BioWare

So how do you access the update? According to Johnson, Anthem players will be able to download the latest patch after a five-hour server maintenance period (during which servers will be down), which means the update should be available to download from 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST on April 23 (or 3am AEDT on April 24).

However, Johnson recommends keeping an eye on the EA Help Twitter feed for updates... just in case.

This is the latest in a series of big updates BioWare has rolled out for Anthem, the last being a patch that introduced Legendary Missions and new cosmetics.

But we found that despite these updates, even a month after release, Anthem is still a hard game to like and simply isn't good enough (you can read our Anthem review for the full low-down). We can only hope this new update will go some way in changing that...

Categories: Tech News

Tesla wants a fleet of self-driving taxis by 2020

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 10:13

Tesla has laid out an ambitious vision for the future of autonomous vehicles, with plans for a fully-autonomous Tesla model and a fleet of robo-taxis on the road by 2020.

The claims came at a Tesla event hosted in Palo Alto, where ElonMusk waxed lyrical about the technology being developed at Tesla.

Tesla has made no secret of its plans for self-driving cars, with Musk suggesting that Tesla vehicles could one day ship without a steering wheel or pedals, and that automated driving would advance to the point that human driving became outlawed.

While Tesla has a reputation for missing its own deadlines, rapid development in the sector is making fully autonomy vehicles look like a very real possibility in the coming years. We're holding our breath on 2020, but Musk's prediction of "over a million robo-taxis on the road" still doesn't look too far off.

Look ma, no hands

The event showed off a new microchip, designed to vastly improve the company's fledgling self-driving software, Autopilot.

The chip, which Musk described as "objectively [...] the best chip in the world", was designed in-house and marked a shift away from using Nvidia's microchips inside Tesla vehicles. 

As reported by Bloomberg, Nvidia contested some of the claims made in the presentation, saying that a system made of multiple Nvidia chips would be more powerful – but conceded that Tesla has "raised the bar for self-driving computers".

Musk notably claimed that the hardware installed in Tesla vehicles was already sufficient for full self-driving capability (known as 'level 5 autonomy', which requires no interference from a human driver), and that the company only needed to iterate the software to get to a truly hands-free future.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Here's every Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and 1660 Ti laptop announced so far

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:29

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and 1650 have finally arrived on laptops, making more powerful budget gaming laptops available to everyone. 

When the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti launched back in February, it changed the budget graphics card landscape entirely. Nvidia did it again with the GeForce GTX 1660 a couple weeks later, but we were left wondering when these budget graphics processors (GPUs) would arrive in the best gaming laptops. Well, the wait is over.

Laptop manufacturers from Asus to MSI have their own gaming laptops featuring these budget GPUs, covering a wide range of different price points and configurations. We went ahead and sorted through all the different product announcements and laid out all the important details below. 

Image Credit: Lenovo

Lenovo

Lenovo is refreshing a chunk of its Legion lineup with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and 1650 graphics. Spearheaded by the high-end Lenovo Legion Y740, these gaming laptops should have a more approachable entry level.

Speaking of entry level, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 Gaming laptop will be available starting at $869 (about £670, AU$1,200), topping out with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 in an inconspicuous chassis. This laptop will be available in May.

Going up a rung, you have the Lenovo Legion Y540 at $1,209 (about £930, AU$1,690) for the 15-inch model and $1,269 (about £970, AU$1,770) for the 17-inch model. Specs-wise, it's similar to the IdeaPad L340 Gaming, but with more robust cooling. The Lenovo Y540 will be available in May for the 15-inch model and June for the 17-inch.

Image Credit: Lenovo

The Lenovo Legion Y7000p is a bit more specialized for gaming with awesome cooling and beefy specs, starting at $1,199 (about £920, AU$1,670) and will come out in May. This svelte gaming laptop features Lenovo's signature 'Y' logo on the back. It tops out with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, but will also be available starting with the GTX 1650.

Lenovo is also refreshing the Legion Y7000, which will feature more robust lighting and thinner bezels, but pricing and release information isn't available at the time of writing.

If you want your gaming laptop to go all-out, with no compromises, you're going to want to take a look at the Lenovo Legion Y740. This behemoth of a laptop will start at $1,609 (about £1,240, AU$2,250) and will be available in May. This beast comes with a 144Hz, Full HD (1080p) Nvidia G-Sync display, taking advantage of whatever GPU is packed inside, whether it's the GTX 1660 Ti or even an RTX 2080

Image Credit: Asus

Asus

Asus is taking a slightly different approach to its gaming lineup with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and 1650. Rather than offering these GPUs as a baseline option in its most powerful gaming laptops, they're featured in Asus's more budget-oriented laptops. 

For instance, the Asus TUF lineup has always included some of the most attainable gaming laptops, and the TUF FX505 and TUF FX705 are no different. These laptops will be packed with up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics, paired with AMD Ryzen mobile accelerated processors (APUs). This pairing means you get the absolute most value for your money.

These TUF laptops are also built 'tough', meeting military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, so they should survive that trip to the tournament. Pricing information for these laptops isn't available yet, but we should see it closer to their Q2 2019 release date.

Image Credit: Asus

Then, there's the Asus Zephyrus M GU502, a thin-and-light gaming laptop weighing in at just 1.9kg (4.19 pounds). But, because it's packed with 9th-generation Intel processors and starting with a GTX 1660 Ti, that thin chassis belies a powerful device. Thankfully, Asus includes an intelligent cooling solution, so that the thin chassis shouldn't compromise the hardware.

This svelte design, paired with the 240Hz, Full HD display and built-in HiFi DAC, means that you can get in some high-end gaming in with excellent sound, without having a device that looks like a gaming laptop. The Asus Zephyrus M GU502 will be out in May, and will set you back $1,899 (about £1,460, AU$2,680).

The Asus Zephyrus G GA502 takes a similar approach to the previously mentioned TUF laptops, in that it adopts AMD Ryzen mobile APUs and pairs them with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. But, it does so while remaining remarkably thin at light, measuring just 20mm thick and weighing only 2.1kg.

This laptop manages this thin design by implementing intelligent cooling, with a self-cleaning thermal module that resists dust and debris. So, that thin and light design won't get in the way of serious frame rates. That's good, because with a 120Hz refresh rate in its display, you're going to want that hardware to perform at its peak. The Asus Zephyrus G GA502 will be out in Q2 2019, and is available for pre-order right now starting at $1,099 (about (£840, AU$1,550).

Image Credit: Dell

Dell and Alienware

And, of course Dell has refreshed its various gaming laptop lineups with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 graphics – as well as Intel 9th generation mobile processors. 

Dell's GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 lineup starts with the Dell G5 and G7, which will open with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and a 9th-generation Intel Core chip. What's more, these mid-range laptops will be enhanced with a four-zone RGB keyboard and optional OLED or 240Hz displays.

The Dell G5 and G7 will be available starting today at currently undisclosed prices, and you can order them with Turing GTX graphics, with Intel 9th-generation processor models to arrive in June.

Then, of course, you have the Alienware m15 and m17 laptops, starting out with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 at currently undisclosed prices. And, like the Dell G-series laptops, you can order either laptop with Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti or 1650 graphics starting today, or in June if you're looking for a 9th-generation Intel processor.

If you're looking for a laptop to get some professional work done, you're in luck. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics will be behind the Dell XPS 15 2019 arriving this June. We don't have any more details about this 'prosumer' Ultrabook but, if the XPS 13 is any indication, it should be a solid improvement – we just hope Dell moves that webcam.

Image Credit: MSI

MSI

MSI has also upgraded its gaming lineup with Nvidia GeForce GTX Turing graphics. With the exception of its beefy GT Titan, MSI's entire gaming lineup will be available with either the GTX 1660 Ti or GTX 1650.

That means you can pack out the MSI GS65 Stealth with a GTX 1660 Ti, so you don't have to splurge on an RTX 2060. The MSI GE Raider, GL63 and GF Thin will also be available with Nvidia Turing GTX graphics. 

The MSI GP75 Leopard has also been refreshed with these new GPUs, but also comes with a new RGB keyboard. 

However, we don't have pricing or availability information for any of these refreshed gaming laptops at the time of this writing. But, considering many of the other laptops we've covered here are either already available or will be by June, we expect to hear more about MSI's GTX 1660 Ti-powered laptops in the near future. 

Beyond gaming, Nvidia Turing graphics will be powering MSI's P-series creative laptops. Alongside the 15-inch P65 Creator, there will also be a new 17-inch P75 Creator. Both laptops will feature 4K displays and lightweight designs, so you can get heavy-duty creative work done on the go.

We don't have availability or pricing information for these creative-focused laptops at the time of this writing, either. We suspect we'll hear more closer to their release.

Image Credit: Acer

Acer

Acer is refreshing most of its gaming laptops, and even the Aspire 7 with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and 1660 Ti graphics. 

The Acer Aspire 7 and Acer Nitro 5 will feature the GTX 1650, alongside an Intel Core i7-9750H. Going further up the chain, Acer will now offer the Nitro 7 with a GTX 1650 or a GTX 1660 Ti, which should make entry-level models more affordable. The Nitro 7 will also feature an Intel Core i7-9750H.

Then, there's the Acer Predator Helios 300, which is a more high-end gaming laptop. The entry level Helios 300 will now feature an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, as well as the Intel Core i7-9750H.

All of these Acer laptops are available today, but we don't have pricing or release date information for the GTX 16-series or Intel 9th-generation models. 

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus 7 launch date confirmed as May 14

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:01

The OnePlus 7 launch date has been confirmed as May 14, after the Chinese firm sent out invites to the event.

It's a week before Honor launches the Honor 20 – OnePlus has just leapt ahead of the competition in terms of release dates.

OnePlus is hosting three launch events, in London, New York and Bangalore, with the OnePlus 7 launching simultaneously in each.

As it did for the OnePlus 6 launch, it has once again extended the invitation to the public, but you'll need to pay for a ticket if you fancy attending.

Early tickets for the event can be bought at £16 / $20 until April 15 (so the discount lasts 48 hours), but OnePlus hasn't said how much the tickets will be after that.

Early bird goes the launch

Attending the event lets you watch the official unveiling of the phones – the OnePlus 7 and premium OnePlus 7 Pro, as well as get hands-on with them after the show, so attendees will be among the first in the world to do so.

If you can't make the event, or don't want to pay money to try out a phone when you could just test it out in stores for free once it's out, OnePlus will also be live streaming the event on YouTube and social media platforms.

There will be a fourth event in Beijing in China on May 16, two days after the other launch parties – OnePlus is following Honor's intriguing precedent of being a Chinese company that launches some of its product in the UK and US before it does in China.

TechRadar will be attending the OnePlus 7 launch events worldwide and reporting live, so check back on May 14 for all our expert opinion as well as news and reviews for the products.

Categories: Tech News

Intel's new H-Series mobile processors bring high performance to laptops

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:00

Intel is continuing the journey of rounding out its Coffee Lake Refresh processor (CPU) family with a new slew of high-performance mobile CPUs. Anyone looking for high-power CPUs in laptops will likely be looking at computers powered by these new models in the near future.

Intel is simultaneously expanding its lineup of 9th-generation Intel Core desktop processors alongside the launch of the high-performance, H-Series of 9th-gen Intel Core mobile processors. These new mobile processors are indicated with the suffix 'H' or 'HK'.

These new CPUs are targeted at a growing crowd of PC gamers as well as at creators looking for high-performance internals for stylishly designed computers. While a 45W TDP for all of the new mobile processors may prevent them from showing up in the thinnest and lightest notebooks, they can definitely end up in larger, productivity-focused devices.

What they can deliver

At the high-end of the spectrum, Intel is launching the Intel Core i9-9980HK and the Core i9-9980H. Both are monsters for mobile, with eight cores, 16 threads, and a single-core boost speed of 5GHz for the former and 4.8GHz for the latter. For the i9-9980HK, overlocking is available to push performance to the limit.

Intel is also launching two Core i7 and two Core i5 models in the mobile H-Series. But, unsurprisingly, there's no mention of a Core i3 model getting the H-Series treatment.

Arriving with the new CPUs is support for the new Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6. This allows for greater overall bandwidth, reduced network latency and more simultaneously connected devices.

The new H-Series CPUs all support Intel's Optane memory, which means they'll be able to take advantage of the new Optane Memory H10 that combines large SSD capacities with a substantial amount of Optane memory to boost overall performance in a way similar to how hybrid hard drives combined a small amount of flash storage with a hard drive to boost speeds.

New desktop CPUs are coming, too

Alongside the new mobile CPUs, Intel has revealed more than 20 additional CPUs for desktops. These range from some new high-end entries in the Core i9 and Core i7 series (without overclocking) down to dual-core Pentium and Celeron processors.

Notable among the new desktop CPUs are the T-Series processors. We'd previously spotted a leak on Intel T-Series processors, and the release confirms the details of that leak. All of the new T-series processors have a low TDP of 35W, making them strong options for smaller, quieter desktop builds.

All told, Intel's new processors hold a lot of potential for mobile and small-form-factor PCs, even if they'll have to contend with AMD's upcoming 7-nanometer chips. 

Categories: Tech News

Nvidia expands GTX 16-Series with new mobile graphics and desktop GTX 1650

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:00

Nvidia's Turing architecture is making its way to more affordable gaming laptops. While the Nvidia 20-Series graphics processors (GPUs) – like the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 – have seen mobile versions released on high-end gaming laptops, now more affordable 16-Series GPUs are coming to gaming laptops as well.

Nvidia's new 16-Series mobile GPUs have debuted in builds from all major manufacturers, like Dell, Acer, Asus and Lenovo. The new graphics processors will also be available to boutique laptop builders.

Most new models are available immediately, and prices for new laptops powered by 16-Series GPUs start at $799 (about £610, AU$1,125). 

16-Series performance

The new 16-series mobile GPUs will use Nvidia's Max-Q technology, enabling thinner and quieter laptops without a serious sacrifice to graphics performance, and be available in standard configurations with a bit more power. 

In the GTX 9-series and earlier, Nvidia's mobile GPUs tended to see a significant performance drop from their desktop counterparts. With the 10-Series and onward that difference has diminished, and the new 16-Series GPUs look to continue that trend.

Nvidia is boasting the ability of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti to hit over 100 frames per second (fps) in popular titles like Fortnite, Overwatch and Apex Legends – that's at 1080p resolution and 'High' detail settings in each game. While the ability to do that will depend on other parts in the computer as well, the new GPUs offer promising potential.

Nvidia's Optimus technology is still around to help prolong battery life, with Nvidia claiming up to two times longer battery life. The new GPUs also have improved capture features, including Nvidia Ansel and automatic highlights. Using the graphics cards' built-in capture can also improve on CPU-based capturing while reducing impact on game performance.

In addition to the mobile GPUs, Nvidia is releasing a desktop version of the new GTX 1650. The new budget card will come from Nvidia's board partners and start at just $149 (about £115, AU$210).

From April 23 to May 22, Nvidia is bundling 16-Series graphics cards and laptops with a Fortnite package that includes 2,000 V-Bucks and the Fortnite Counterattack Set.

Categories: Tech News

How cyber competitions are launching the next generation of our workforce

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:30

Despite being well-documented and well-researched, the projected cybersecurity skills gap remains a major challenge for the tech industry. Fifty three percent of IT professionals report that their organization is facing a skills shortage, according to a recent study from ESG.

With this in mind, tech executives, academics and government leaders need to do more than create programs to educate current workers on cyber topics. We must also offer work experiences and competitions to attract and engage our future cyber workers. I have been involved in cybersecurity for over 20 years and know that real-world breach simulations are where cyber defense skills are really put to the test.

This happens every year at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, an event during which I have served as a professional Red Team volunteer for the past two years. Presented by Raytheon, more than 230 colleges and universities compete each year to test their cybersecurity prowess, culminating in single-round eliminations at regional contests nationwide, with 10 finalists advancing to the national round. 

It’s an extremely exciting process for the students, and I’ve learned every year from my experience as a member of the Red Team that we need more of these types of events. Here’s why: 

Real-world experience cannot be matched in the classroom

Simply put, learning is not the same as doing. In a competition environment, teams are forced to think on their feet and identify solutions under pressure. This type of problem-solving and quick collaboration is learned through hands-on experience. Within the competition, students must operate and manage a network infrastructure similar to those run by commercial businesses.  Scoring is based on their ability to minimize system infiltration, keep critical services in operation and prevent sensitive data leaks.

By competing against a Red Team, composed of security experts from major tech companies and government organizations, students face off against skilled attackers and the stark reality of racing against the clock.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Working with the C-suite

Perhaps one of the most fascinating parts of the event doesn’t directly involve the attacks and defense at all. In order to move forward to the national competition and to eventually be crowned champion, these students must take on a task that many technical cyber experts struggle with: briefing a mock C-suite executive on the incident and proposed response. These mock interviews challenge the students to speak in layman’s terms while still conveying the appropriate level of urgency. 

An essential skill for all cyber experts, being able to articulate how the attack happened, and what is being done to resolve the issue, is a conversation that not only needs to happen with C-suite executives, but with corporate boards as well. Given the escalating number of attacks on major corporations in the past couple of years, boards of directors are also now getting more involved in cybersecurity measures. And this is a needed change, as a recent Raytheon study found that 68 percent of respondents say their boards are not being briefed on what their organizations are doing to prevent or mitigate the consequences of a cyberattack. Empowering students with this skill before they embark upon their careers ensures that they will have specific, real-world experience that many seasoned security experts lack today. 

Ready for hire

Today’s workforce – regardless of industry – needs to have a cyber-first mindset. Competitions like NCCDC give students an advanced skill set that makes them top candidates for hire at the world’s biggest tech companies and the public sector. It’s not just about limiting downtime, keeping firewalls up or creating tickets – it’s a combination of all those things with the added challenge of time constraints. Working against experienced cyber professionals, these students are gaining experience that goes beyond classroom training and sets them apart from other candidates. In fact, many NCCDC competitors have been hired by companies involved with the competition after watching them demonstrate their skills in practical, real-world circumstances.

As someone who works in the cybersecurity industry today, I see both the sophistication of attacks and the attack surface increasing. This requires not only more cybersecurity workers, but those who can hit the ground running, bringing an advanced skill set on Day 1. Competitions like NCCDC help develop skilled, technical and creative students that can easily translate their experience into value for any organization fortunate enough to hire them.

Julian Zottl, Senior Cyber Architect at Raytheon 

Categories: Tech News

Live stream the snooker World Championship 2019: how to watch from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:05

Well the 2019 World Snooker Championship hasn't disappointed so far, has it!? Big breaks a plenty, the first whitewash in decades and, of course, one of the biggest shock results in the history of the game. With this guide, you can find out how to get a World Championship snooker live stream from absolutely anywhere in the world you are so you don't miss another minute.

Cast your mind back one year ago when veterans Mark Williams and John Higgins battled out an epic 18-16 World Snooker Championship final in the former's favour. Almost 20 years after his first Crucible win, the Welsh Potting Machine lifted the trophy once again. Of the rest of the field, expect the likes of former champs Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy to challenge. Or will this finally be the year of Judd Trump or Ding Junhui?

But world number one and snooker legend Ronnie O'Sullivan won't be among them, having suffered a MASSIVE surprise defeat at the hands of 23-year-old amateur James Cahill in the first round. Astonishing stuff - Ronnie was the pre-tournament favourite for this year's crown.

The great news is that getting a snooker live stream of the 2019 World Championship is really easy, as the BBC has the rights to show it in all its glory. And even if you're going to be outside the UK keep reading as we’ll show you how to watch from wherever you are.

How to watch the Snooker World Championships for free in the UK Live stream the Snooker World Championship from outside your country

If you're not in the UK this fortnight and find the BBC coverage geo-blocked where you are, then there are still ways you can watch. Firstly, you can scroll down to see international viewing options.

Or, if you're still struggling, get out of this tricky snooker with a VPN. It's really easy to do - and even easier with our three step guide below.

Live stream the Snooker World Championship on Facebook

If you don’t happen to live in the UK, don’t worry as the 2019 World Championship is again being broadcast in more than 30 countries around the world for free on Facebook. The list of countries included features the US, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Colombia and more from the Americas and Asia.

All you need is a Facebook login to watch the live action, with your choice of which table to watch at any one time. Head on over to the World Snooker Facebook page to watch.

How to watch the Snooker World Championship in Australia

How to watch a snooker live stream in Canada

Categories: Tech News

The digital divide is worse than we thoughtful

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 07:30

On April 12th, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a $20 billion rural broadband fund intended to wire as many as four million homes and small businesses with up to gigabit speeds over the next 10 years to address America’s deeply-rooted digital divide. 

While this fund is a good start, much more needs to be done. Rural Americans continue to have few options for wired broadband internet service; the FCC currently estimates that 19 million rural Americans do not have access to wired broadband. Going one step further, access does not equate to affordability.

The lion’s share of discussion around the digital divide has centered around access, but the prices rural consumers are paying for the services available to them are worth paying attention to as well. 

According to our research, roughly 146 million rural Americans do not have access to a low-priced plan for wired broadband internet. That’s nearly 45 percent of the U.S. population. We define “low-priced” as a broadband plan with a monthly cost less than or equal to the 20th percentile of all plan prices, or around $60 per month. Rural homes are paying more for slower speeds, and it serves to illustrate that the issues surrounding the digital divide are worse than we perceive them to be. 

Mapping the pricing divide

Access to low-cost broadband is essential for millions of families across the U.S., but it would appear that those who need these services the most have the least coverage. States with a median household income of $60,000 or higher have 78 percent low-priced plan coverage on average, compared to only 37 percent for states with less than $60,000 incomes.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at two states, Massachusetts and Montana. In the former, the average household income is $77,385, and the poverty rate sits at 10.5 percent. There are low-priced broadband plans available to virtually 100 percent of the population serviced by a wired provider. In Montana, the average income drops to $53,262, with a 12.7 percent poverty rate. How many of these Montanans have access to a low-price plan? One percent. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Lack of rural competition keeps prices high and access low

Competition drives down prices, and less choice in rural areas appears to be a key driver of the digital divide. Urban areas are highly competitive and densely populated, encouraging investment from major providers. 

Rural areas can be lucky to have a single option for wired broadband, and population density is a key predictor of low-priced plan coverage. In fact, zip codes in the bottom 10 percent of population density pay up to 37 percent more on average for residential wired broadband than those in the top 10 percent nationally. It’s clear that there is more work to be done here. 

The road ahead

So, what can be done to improve the current state of rural broadband internet access? This is a complicated issue, and there isn’t likely to be a single, sweeping change that will bridge the gap on its own. Bringing better access and lower prices to underserved markets will likely only result from a multi-faceted effort on behalf of service providers, state and federal government, and communities around the nation. 

One immediate step toward achieving this goal involves improving the process by which coverage reporting happens. At current, over-reporting of broadband availability is a massive issue that disproportionately affects rural Americans. There are a number of initiatives currently planned to overhaul this process over the coming years, both within the government and in the private sector. 

Communities, for their part, can invest in programs that foster competition, such as municipal broadband operations and “dig once” policies. These allow individuals to help shape the services they have access to locally, and they empower municipalities to take matters into their own hands when it comes to getting their residents online. 

Finally, new subsidies are necessary in order to help bring vital infrastructure improvements to underserved (and unserved) areas. This is where the FCC comes in, and Chairman Pai’s proposed budget cap underscores the larger issue at play here. If we’re to bring robust connectivity to our underserved communities, we’re going to need to start building new bridges, not restricting the ones we already have.

Tyler Cooper, Consumer Policy Expert at BroadbandNow

Categories: Tech News

Three things to know about lane-keeping on the 2019 Ford F-150

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 07:22

A truck is the perfect candidate for cutting edge automotive innovations. Anyone who's used one will know they can be quite a beast to drive, lugging around a massive trailer, lumbering over loose gravel or thick wet mud, or just heading off to work on a windy day. I’m all for the flexibility they provide for people hauling one day and transporting tree stumps the next, but most of us aren't commercial-grade truck drivers. We need all the help we can get.

That’s why I decided to test out how lane-keeping technology helps on the 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercrew. It’s a five-seater with plenty of tech extras, including support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. I’ve tested lane-keeping in nearly all major makes and models, but not in the F-150 with the express purpose of finding out if it can help me drive a truck easier.

To get started, I loaded up the back with bikes and other cargo. I want to create a typical scenario where the truck bed is filled and adds some extra weight and objects to trap the wind. I also made sure I tested on roads with clear should markings, which helps the sensors. Here’s what I found out. 

The lane-keeping aids are subtle, and that’s a good thing

I liked how the F-150 doesn’t push you around on the road. When you drift out of a lane, there’s no hard nudge to get you centered again, but more of a slightly redirection. I tested this on multiple trips on a highway, a few country roads, and just around my neighborhood.

It’s a softer nudge than I remember on many Infiniti models and even on previous Ford SUV tests. On one highway test, the F-150 would ease me back gradually at times. When I purposefully inched over the shoulder markings, the truck countered my movement. Good so far.

You can configure the alerts and aids

Some lane-keeping systems only give you the option to enable or disable the feature. In the early days of lane-keeping tech, it was often a harsh nudge from the steering or by using the front or rear brakes, but it always felt too pronounced.

On the F-150, you can choose to receive only an alert when you drift out of a lane, an alert and an aid, or just an aid. I preferred to have only the aid enabled because I don’t like the constant blips and pings.

This will only get better

My main discovery is that the F-150 lane-keeping is better than I recall from previous vehicle test, even recently. I’ve noticed specifically that Ford lane-keeping is improving, slowly but surely. It’s obviously the most important step in making fully autonomous cars in all makes and models, and we know that’s on the roadmap for Ford vehicles by 2021.

Overall, lane-keeping is a smart addition on a truck and fairly new, so if you’re wondering if it is really worth the expense, it does have several benefits for keeping a beast of a truck on the road, no matter how much you are hauling behind you or in the truck bed.

On The Road is TechRadar's regular look at the futuristic tech in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who's been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully driverless cars. 

Categories: Tech News

SpaceX: everything you need to know

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 06:47

SpaceX has changed what we all think about space. Its reusable rockets that land back on the launch pad are a thing of wonder, but by now, relatively routine. Its massive Falcon Heavy rocket recently completed its first commercial mission without a hitch, and Space is now on the cusp of taking US astronauts up to the International Space Station (ISS).

Add some talk about missions to the moon, and ultimately the colonisation of Mars, and it’s no wonder that SpaceX is credited with single-handedly reviving humanity’s interest in space exploration. 

What is SpaceX, who owns it and where is is based?

Founded in 2002, SpaceX is the creation of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, now its CEO and chief designer. Musk, who founded what became PayPal, is also CEO of Tesla.

SpaceX has 6,000 employees and is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It has a factory and a launch site in South Texas, and launch facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (where it launches its reusable rockets) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (where it lands its reusable rockets) in Florida. It also has a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Are reusable rockets the key to making human life multi-planetary? (Image credit: SpaceX)

What are SpaceX's long-term goals?

The colonization of Mars. How does one company help achieve that goal? By vastly reducing space transportation costs, that's how. Cue a 15 year+ project to create a reusable rocket launch system where the physical first stage of the rocket lands back on the launchpad once the payload has been jettisoned into orbit.

Musk believes that reusability is the key to making human life multi-planetary, which is necessary for our species because Earth could be struck by an asteroid, or become uninhabitable after a third world war. Musk thinks we need a backup plan, and his idea is to create a self-sustaining colony of a million people on Mars in the next 40 to 100 years.

However, the basic 'land a first stage rocket booster and use it again' part of the equation, though astounding in itself, was achieved way back in December 2015. Since then, SpaceX has been trying to make more components recoverable and reusable, and much more often. It's now developed a first stage that can be reused up to 10 times. Next up: the second stage.

All this is for Mars. "It’s important to get a self-sustaining base on Mars because it’s far enough away from Earth that it’s more likely to survive [after a massive war] than a moon base,” said Musk at SXSW 2018.

"I’ve said I want to die on Mars, just not on impact," he once quipped, though whether he  will achieve his wish remains to be seen.

SpaceX's goal is to create a fully reusable launch vehicle that can go to Mars (Image credit: SpaceX)

Does SpaceX work with NASA?

Oh yes. In April 2019, NASA confirmed that it would pay $69 million (about £53 million, AU$97 million) to SpaceX to smash a Falcon 9 rocket into an asteroid as part of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in 2022.

Crazy science projects aside, the US national space agency and SpaceX have been working together closely for almost a decade. SpaceX has held NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts since 2008, and has earned over $1.6 billion (about £1.2 billion, AU$2.2 billion) by taking cargo up to the ISS from US soil in its Dragon capsules launched atop Falcon 9 rockets. These flights began in December 2010 and are ongoing.

However, that's not where the lion's share of its funds come from. SpaceX has earned over $12 billion (about £9 billion, AU$17 billion) taking large satellites and military payloads into orbit, and has conducted over 100 launches, including a record-breaking 19 launches in 2018.

Falcon 9 in advance of a launch to the International Space Station (Image credit: SpaceX)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket

Don't confuse Blue Origin's reusable rockets with those of SpaceX. While Blue Origin's New Shepherd rocket lands back on the launchpad, it's merely a sub-orbital rocket. The SpaceX Falcon 9 (and the Falcon Heavy, see below) is orbital-class, and regularly takes satellites and cargo into orbit. Soon it could take astronauts. Each Falcon 9 costs $62 million (about £48 million, AU$87 million). 

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley plan to take Crew Dragon to the ISS (Image credit: NASA)

The SpaceX Crew Dragon reusable capsule

SpaceX won't accomplish want Musk wants until it can prove it's capable of carrying astronauts safely into orbit and back. That's what (along with Boeing) is contracted to do by NASA, which has been tasked with ending its reliance on Russia for taking astronauts to the International Space Station (which has been the case since 2011, when the last space shuttle was retired).

As part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, SpaceX has developed an astronaut-friendly version of its Dragon 2 capsule – which has already visited the ISS as an unmanned cargo-carrier – called Crew Dragon.

Designed to carry six or seven astronauts, Crew Dragon is an ultramodern version of the old Apollo capsules. A successful Crew Dragon flight test called the SpX-DM-1 mission took place on 2 March, 2019, when Crew Dragon was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket. It successfully docked with the ISS, then returned to Earth. Next up, scheduled for July 2019, is SpX-DM-2, when two ex-Space Shuttle astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will be inside Crew Dragon for a 14-day journey to the ISS and back. However, an unexplained explosion during Crew Dragon testing in April 2019 might delay things.

For now, Crew Dragon has to land on water and be recovered by ship, much like those Apollo capsules. In future expect to see a redesigned version of Crew Dragon that lands back on the launchpad.

The Arabsat-6A mission on April 11, 2019 (Image credit: SpaceX)

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy reusable rocket

If you thought the reusable Falcon 9 rocket was impressive, try watching three of them land at once. That's what happens with Falcon Heavy, SpaceX's biggest launch system and the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two. The Arabsat-6A mission on April 11, 2019 saw the first commercial use of its Falcon Heavy rocket, which was tested for the first time on February 6, 2018 when it took Musk's Tesla Roadster and a dummy astronaut called 'Starman' into an Earth-Mars orbit.

With a maximum thrust of 2550 tons, the Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9 boosters. The two side-boosters come back to land simultaneously on the launchpad about 10 minutes after launch, while the central core lands on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean a a few minutes later. It's quite a show. Each Falcon Heavy costs $90 million (about £69 million, AU$126 million).

Inside Crew Dragon, the SpaceX capsule (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX and space tourism

Despite being the most high profile name in the space industry, and arguably also in space tourism (despite never having actually done any space tourism trips), SpaceX isn't actually focused on taking normal folk into space.

Yes, it does occasionally mention bizarre-sounding missions to the moon and Mars for private citizens, but only because the company is now laser-focused on developing a larger and cripplingly expensive rocket called Super Heavy. If anyone wants to pay huge sums of money to help test that rocket, SpaceX will happily take the money.

SpaceX and orbital space tourism

If you want to see the curvature of Earth for a few minutes, and experience weightlessness, before returning to Earth, look elsewhere. SpaceX has only orbital launch systems and any future space tourism offering from the company will involve Crew Dragon, long missions, and astronomical price tags. Orbital trips are very much the second phase of space tourism; Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are only capable of taking people to the edge of space, not into orbit.

SpaceX is therefore likely to be about one-off and extremely expensive private orbital and/or lunar expeditions rather than space tourism. However, if the Bigelow Aerospace Private Space Station launches in 2021 then there will at least be somewhere for SpaceX to take space tourists to (NASA is not keen on having regular people stay on the ISS). Until then, there's only one other place for SpaceX to potentially take space tourists … around the moon and back again.

The Falcon Heavy could be used for ‘lunar tourism’ (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX and lunar tourism

Back in 2017 Japanese online fashion billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa wanted to reenact Apollo 8's dramatic first-ever mission to orbit the moon 50 years after that historic mission in December 1968. That would have meant using a Falcon Heavy rocket. However, the mission was cancelled early in 2018 so Maezawa could wait for SpaceX to develop a bigger rocket now called Super Heavy.

When that's ready, Maezawa and six artists (and probably a few astronauts) want to fly around the moon in 2023. That Dear Moon mission will last six days. However, it does require SpaceX to build a new rocket and spacecraft …

An artist’s impression of Starship (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy

Formerly known as the Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS), and Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), Starship and a 387-foot rocket called Super Heavy is a reusable launch system that SpaceX is now working on. Ultimately they’re designed to carry 100 tons of cargo and between 100 and 200 passengers to the moon and Mars.

From reusable rockets and a busy schedule of commercial satellite launches to taking NASA astronauts to space and, eventually, creating interplanetary transport, it’s fair to say that Elon Musk’s plans for SpaceX are ultra-ambitious. So far, we’ve got no reason to doubt his determination, and SpaceX is, for now, the most exciting company in a new and growing space industry.

Categories: Tech News

Why metadata matters: stories from the real world

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 06:30

These days, data makes the world go round – maybe even more than money does. With data presented accurately and attractively, companies can attract investors, satisfy regulators, increase sales, save money, and operate as lean, mean efficient machines.

That, of course, presupposes that they know where there data is and can summon the right data for each purpose; the data needed for an annual report, of course is going to be different than the data needed for a marketing campaign targeting medium-sized customers. But getting at the requisite data isn't always simple; in most organizations, locating and accessing the appropriate data is far more complicated than pressing a few buttons. Data can be mislabeled, incorrectly stored, or otherwise be unorganized. 

Because of those metadata issues, data that should have high value to the organization is rendered far less valuable. As a result, reports could be missing data because it's difficult to find, and this could lead to confusion, missed deadlines, and even regulatory penalties. The key to preventing this kind of problem is to shore up metadata, ensuring data transparency and data lineage. Systems that can enable organizations to get control of their data can prevent those losses and problems, and ensure that organizations thrive.

Metadata – the data about data – can consist of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of tags, all used in data storage areas, including databases for different departments, customer information, databases for the entire organization, corporate documents, ETL tools, analysis tools, data storage units for social media information, reporting tools, etc. All these are sources of data and in order to be automatically searchable, all need to contain consistent metadata tags – which means that all members of an organization involved in collecting and recording data need to follow consistent conventions on what metadata tags to use.

Controlling data

The inability to control data – which is often due to poor metadata management – is quite common. According to one study, 85% of companies have taken significant steps to be data-driven, but only 37% say they have been successful at doing so. And being in control of data is crucial for some of the most important tasks businesses need to carry out. 

How do those 63% non-successful companies cope? With their business intelligence teams, of course. For example, in the case of an annual revenue report for the overall organization whose results don't match the results of each individual department when taken together, the organization's BI team would go through the databases and try to match up the corresponding information. It's in that largely manual examination that the BI team will discover and hopefully resolve the metadata inaccuracies. But doing that could take a long time, and cost the dealership a good chunk of money.

To solve that and other metadata inaccuracies, the organization needs  an automated system that can provide the tools needed to resolve those issues. The ideal system would be able to recognize from within the data itself to which metadata category it belongs. Thus, it would look at a metadata tag called “Expenses” with its corresponding data entry in one database, a tag called “Outlay” in a second, and a tag called “Costs” in a third. The automated system would be intelligent enough to realize that the numbers in all three relate to the same thing, despite the metadata differences.

Image Credit: Pixabay

The case for accurate metadata control  

The business case for this is obvious; time saved, both for BI teams who now have automated tools to help them do their job more accurately and efficiently, as well as time saved and more efficient operations for any part of the organization that depends on data (ie all of them). But besides making business hum along, resolving metadata issues can help solve regulatory problems – which with the advent of GDPR,  California's CCPR, new HIPAA regulations, and others that are likely to come down the pike, are now very much in the spotlight. 

The GDPR, for example, requires organizations to show that they are able to locate data on individuals, in order to be able to comply with rules on the “right to be forgotten.” Failure to even be able to demonstrate this is grounds for a fine under the rules. And without accurate metadata control – where information is tagged differently in the different data sources – rounding up all that data on a single individual (one of millions who may be in the organization's database) is going to be nigh-impossible.

Data is burgeoning. Already, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced worldwide each day; by 2020, there will be 5,200 GB of data for every person on Earth. And the IoT revolution, which is just beginning, promises to increase those figures exponentially. To expect that all organizations, devices, systems, databases etc. even within an organization are going to conform to a single metadata standard is probably wishful thinking. Automated metadata resolution has got to be a part of the data revolution for any organization that plans on using data (ie all of them).

Amnon Drori, CEO and Co-Founder of Octopai 

Categories: Tech News

Huawei revenue soars despite US allegations and restrictions

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 05:50

Huawei has revealed its first-ever quarterly results, once again highlighting major growth for the Chinese tech giant.

The reports, part of Huawei's continued push to be more open to the wider industry, show that first-quarter revenues rose 39 percent year on year to reach 179.7 billion Chinese yuan ($26.76 billion)

The growth was mainly fueled by focus on ICT infrastructure and smart devices as well as boosting the efficiency and quality of its operations.

Smartphones and more

The firm shipped 59 million smartphones in the quarter and added revenue of 179.7 billion yuan ($26.8 billion), despite still not being able to sell devices in the US.

Last year, Huawei, the third largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung and Apple, shipped 206 million units, inching closer to Apple’s 208.8 million units, according to research firm Gartner’s data.

Overall, Huawei’s smartphone shipments rose 33.6 per cent year on year in 2018, the fastest growth rate in the industry - in contrast, Samsung shipments declined eight per cent and Apple shipments by 3.2 per cent.

According to Huawei's financial statement, other business segments like PCs, wearables, and smart home also gained traction from global consumers for its leading, innovative products and user experiences.

The Chinese player is also a big name in the 5G network equipment supplier and it is entering the cloud and artificial intelligence market in a big way. Huawei is also one of the few smartphones manufactures, after Samsung and Oppo, to showcase 5G mobile devices.

Charles Yang, president of Huawei Middle East, told TechRadar Middle East, that Huawei will not be put off by the false accusations by the US and will push ahead with its 5G rollout and investments in the Middle East as well as globally.

Huawei has 283 global partners and 57 regional partners for 5G and expects to have one million bases stations globally by 2020.

Yang added that cybersecurity is a top priority for the company that has served three billion users in 170 countries (1,500 carrier networks) and never had any network security incident.

According to online market intelligence platform IPlytics, the Chinese company leads the race in the number of 5G standard technical contributions by a company. Huawei held 11,423 patents in 2018, followed by Ericsson with 10,351 and Nokia with 6,878, the other two big networks equipment makers.

With Huawei investing $15 billion in R&D in 2018 and ranks among the top five, it has a clear strategic positioning in the 5G race and has the capacity to mass produce 5G chips, 5G mobile routers and CPE (customer-premises equipment), a wireless router for home.

Categories: Tech News

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