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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Google Assistant is making a run for Alexa (The 3:59, Ep. 516) – CNET

Plus, Spotify gets deeper into podcasts and Apple loses its retail chief.
Source: CNET

SpaceX and Boeing commercial crew capsule test dates slip yet again

One of the most important upcoming events in the space industry is undoubtedly the advent of SpaceX and Boeing’s competing crew-bearing capsules, which the companies have been working on for years. But today brings yet another delay for both programs, already years behind schedule.

Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsules will in the future be used to send astronauts to the International Space Station and conceivably other orbital platforms. As such they are being engineered and tested with a rigor greatly exceeding that of ordinary cargo capsules.

It isn’t an easy task, though, and both companies have come a long way, we’re well past the original estimated service debut of 2017. When it comes to shooting humans into space, of course, it’s done when it’s done, and not a day before.

This month was to be a major milestone for Crew Dragon, which was scheduled to make an uncrewed test trip to the ISS; Boeing planned to perform orbital tests soon as well, but both have been put off, according to NASA’s Commercial Crew blog:

The agency now is targeting March 2 for launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on its uncrewed Demo-1 test flight. Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test is targeted for launch no earlier than April.

These adjustments allow for completion of necessary hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, as well as training of flight controllers and mission managers.

In other words, they’re just plain not ready. Close, but for human spaceflight close isn’t good enough.

The rest of 2019 will, if there are no serious delays, be filled with further milestones in the program. Here’s the tentative schedule:

  • SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): March 2, 2019
  • Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): NET April 2019
  • Boeing Pad Abort Test: NET May 2019
  • SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test: June 2019
  • SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): July 2019
  • Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): NET August 2019

This summer, then, should be a momentous one for space travel. In the meantime the only way to get people into orbit is the Russian Soyuz system, which has proven itself over and over but ultimately is both outdated and, well, Russian. A homegrown, 21st-century alternative is rapidly becoming a must-have.


Source: TechCrunch

SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy one year ago video – CNET

Elon Musk’s ambitious plans to get SpaceX to Mars took a huge stride one year ago when it launched the Falcon Heavy rocket.
Source: CNET

NASA moon orbiter spots Chang'e 4 lander in a crater – CNET

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter tracks down China’s moon lander and snaps a picture.
Source: CNET

Elon Musk Tesla still orbiting one year after SpaceX launch – CNET

There’s a Starman waiting in the sky.
Source: CNET

Hacker discovers a MacOS exploit that is able to access system passwords

A new exploit for MacOS, known as KeySteal, was discovered by a security researcher. The hack can extract passwords and other information from MacOS’ Keychain without requiring any form of permission or administrator authentication.

The post Hacker discovers a MacOS exploit that is able to access system passwords appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

How to use Android's Instant Tethering feature – CNET

You can forget using sketchy Wi-Fi networks with your Chromebook thanks to this handy Android feature.
Source: CNET

Robin’s robotic mowers now have a patented doggie door just for them

Back in 2016 we had Robin up on stage demonstrating the possibility of a robotic mower as a service rather than just something you buy. They’re still going strong, and just introduced and patented what seems in retrospect a pretty obvious idea: an automatic door for the mower to go through fences between front and back yards.

It’s pretty common, after all, to have a back yard isolated from the front lawn by a wood or chainlink fence so dogs and kids can roam freely there with only light supervision. And if you’re lucky enough to have a robot mower, it can be a pain to carry it from one side to the other. Isn’t the whole point of the thing that you don’t have to pick it up or interact with it in any way?

The solution Justin Crandall and his team at Robin came up with is simple and straightforward: an automatic mower-size door that opens only to let it through.

“In Texas over 90 percent of homes have a fenced in backyard, and even in places like Charlotte and Cleveland it’s roughly 25-30 percent, so technology like this is critical to adoption,” Crandall told me. “We generally dock the robots in the backyard for security. When it’s time to mow the front yard, the robots drive to the door we place in the fence. As it approaches the door, the robot drives over a sensor we place in the ground. That sensor unlocks the door to allow the mower access.”

Simple, right? It uses a magetometer rather than wireless or IR sensor, since those introduced possibilities of false positives. And it costs around $100-$150, easily less than a second robot or base, and probably pays for itself in goodwill around the third or fourth time you realize you didn’t have to carry your robot around.

It’s patented, but rivals (like iRobot, which recently introduced its own mower) could certainly build one if it was sufficiently different.

Robin has expanded to several states and a handful of franchises (its plan from the start) and maintains that its all-inclusive robot-as-a-service method is better than going out and buying one for yourself. Got a big yard and no teenage kids who can mow it for you? See if Robin’s available in your area.


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft really, really, really doesn’t want you to buy Office 2019

Microsoft launched a new ad campaign for its Office suite today. Usually, that’s not something especially interesting, but this one is a bit different. Instead of simply highlighting the features of Word and Excel, Microsoft decided to pitch Office 365 and Office 2019 against each other (as an extra gimmick, it used twins to do so, too). But here’s the deal: Microsoft really doesn’t want you to buy Office 2019, and the ads make that abundantly clear.

The reason for that is obvious: Office 365 is a subscription product while Office 2019 (think Office Home & Student or other SKUs) comes with a perpetual license, so that’s a one-time sale for Microsoft. Subscriptions are a better business for Microsoft in the long run (hence its recent focus on products like Microsoft 365, too).

For the longest time, the annual non-365 Office release was simply a snapshot of the state of the Office apps at a given time. That changed with Office 365. Now, Office 365 users are the ones who get all the online features, including a bunch of AI-driven tools, while the Office 2019 versions don’t get any of these.

Office 365 subscriptions start at $70 for personal use and $8.25/month for business users. Office Home and Business is a one-time $250 purchase.

Unsurprisingly, in the new ads, which give the actors twins various challenges to perform in the likes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Office 365 beats Office 2019 every time. Yawn. The ads aren’t very good and you will cringe a few times (though sadly, they are no rival to Microsoft’s worst commercial ever, 2009’s Songsmith debacle), but you’ll definitely come away with a sense that Microsoft really wants you to subscribe to Office 365 and not buy a perpetual Office 2019 license and then maybe buy the next update in 2025.


Source: TechCrunch

Facebook’s Top PR Exec Is Leaving the Toughest Job in Tech

Caryn Marooney is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from Facebook’s communications department at a time when the company is perpetually under siege.
Source: Wired

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