Peter Yared is the founder and CTO of Sapho and was formerly the CTO/CIO of CBS Interactive.
When iPads first came out, they were hailed as the undoing of the PC. Finally, a cheap and reliable computing device for the average user instead of the complicated, quirky PC. After a few years of strong growth for iOS and Android tablets and a corresponding decrease in PC sales, the inverse is suddenly true: PC sales are up and tablet sales are “crashing.”What happened?
The tablet slowdown shouldn’t be a surprise given that tablets have hardly improved beyond relatively superficial changes in size, screen resolution, and processor speed. The initial market for tablets is now saturated: grandparents and kids have them, people bought them as Sonos controllers and such, and numerous households have them around for reading. People that want tablets have them, and there’s just no need to upgrade because…
You have to hand it to Julian Assange: When it comes to publicity stunts, he makes PT Barnum look like an also-ran.
Earlier today, the Wikileaks founder who has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for two years, summoned the world’s journalists to hear some big news. The whisper: That he was about to hand himself over to British authorities.
But no. During the press conference, Assange said that had no immediate plans to turn himself in, but that he would be leaving the embassy “soon.” By “soon” he appeared to mean as soon as Britain changes its laws to ensure that he wouldn’t be arrested for skipping bail, or extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges.
Technological advancements in the world of solar power energy are plentiful, and a startup company known as Semprius have quite a practical one in the works. By simply stacking up semiconducting materials on top of each other, the company has already developed solar arrays with much higher efficiency ratings than traditional commercial solutions.
The idea is to have a number of layers of semiconducting materials stacked on top of each other, each tuned to capture certain frequencies of light on the way through. At the end of the chain, all of the light is collected and converted to power at once, a process both Semprius and Technology Review claim will allow solar energy to be as cost-effective as natural gas one day.
It not as simple as it sounds though. The process requires a number new developments including a special adhesive to ensure the layers maintain optimal functionality as well as a master bus system to sum together the output of the layers.
Semprius currently has two different arrays in action using this tech at the moment, both of which are performing well outside of traditional options. One is clocking a near 44% efficiency rating and the other is just over 44%, compared to the 25% or so we see from current commercial installations, that is quite impressive. However, one major issue still remains.
It is currently very expensive to put something like this together. While every additional layer raises cost dramatically, some suggest mass production and the sheer efficiency they provide might make the tech more realistic then it initially appears.
A recent study has come up with some interesting numbers regarding the way black hat hackers think of themselves and thier arguably malicious activities. A password security software company known as Thycotic conducted a survey during this year’s Black Hat 2014 that says 86% of hackers do not believe they will ever have to face repercussions for their actions.
While many of them believe they are above the law, over 50% of those surveyed said they aren’t in it for the money, but rather just for the fun of it. Only 18% said they were motivated by financial gains and 29% claimed to be hacktivists driven by exposing the truth regarding various issues. Just recently a group of hacktivists attacked the St. Louis Police Department and leaked dispatch tapes regarding the Michael Brown case.
Thycotic says many of attacks being conducted still make use of tactics that were used 10 years ago or more. Nearly all of the hackers the company interviewed said that basic phishing and spoofing techniques are still effective, but 47% say users are learning to avoid these techniques.
Whatever the motivation and tactics may be, according to Thycotic the particular 127 different individuals interviewed do not believe what they are doing is wrong. However, they don’t feel invincible either, 88% of these hackers believe their own data and privacy is vulnerable to attacks from fellow hackers.
Lithium-ion batteries power most of our devices these days but come with a number if downfalls including safety issues. Now, it appears a new manufacturing process will allow for solid state batteries to be produced that are both more affordable and more reliable than current gen lithium-ion options.
While we have seen solid state batteries previously, the technological demands of it make manufacturing very expensive. Traditional lithium-ion batteries use a liquid electrolyte core which is much cheaper and easier to manufacture than a solid one. Not only is the cost of layering solid electrolyte much higher, but the process up to this point isn’t very reliable with a high ratio of rejects coming off the factory line.
But one of the world’s biggest players in the business, Applied Materials, says it has new manufacturing equipment that will allow solid state batteries to become a reality. The company is already prototyping solid state options that can hold twice the charge as Li-ion batteries without the need for the flammable liquid core.
Alongside holding a charge for longer and being much safer, the solid state options can also be produced in much smaller form factors that can be flexible or oddly shaped. These features open up a number possibilities for enhancing our mobile devices, and while Applied Materials isn’t saying who is interested just yet, the company has hinted that the wearable market will likely be a good fit.
By now you’ve seen Tuesday’s New York Times report that a security firm found a Russian hacking ring had pilfered 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses.
Like many people, your first question is probably whether or not you were included in that dragnet. Hold Security, the Milwaukee-based security firm that uncovered the hack, says you can fork over $120 for an annual subscription to find out in the next 60 days if you were affected. The opportunistic move cast doubt on initial reports of the breach, but prominent cybersecurity experts have confirmed them to be accurate.
At this point, you should just assume you were hacked.