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[H] Enthusiast Archives: August 2014Archive Listing

Sunday August 31, 2014

Battle of Heavyweight Rockets: NASA vs SpaceX

For you space buffs, here is a nifty article that takes a look at the budding but unspoken competition to win the Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle race. Pretty interesting stuff.

It is notable, yet understandable, that SpaceX has never openly portrayed its BFR plans in competition with NASA’s SLS. The Agency is SpaceX’s biggest customer and Mr. Musk has noted on more than one occasion that his company owes a debt of gratitude for NASA’s support and contracts during this early phase of its existence.


Facebook Addresses Messenger Rumors

If you pay any attention to Facebook, then your page likely was inundated with mass hysteria regarding Facebook Messenger's rather wide permissions requirement. FB dev Peter Martinazzi tries to set the record straight on a special page in FB and even includes some external sources to back his statements.

Like most other apps, we request permission to run certain features, such as making calls and sending photos, videos or voice messages. If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone's camera and capture that photo. We don't turn on your camera or microphone when you aren't using the app.


The Race to Gigabit Internet Taking Off

If you're waiting for Gb Internet speeds, your wait may be over soon. A consortium of research universities found that gigabit Internet service offerings is starting to take off. I see my city on the chart. Is yours?

Progress on deploying 1Gbps broadband service has proceeded with impressive results since 2010, when the Federal Communications Commission's visionary National Broadband Plan called for gigabit test bed communities offering ultra high-speed Internet connections, at least for anchor institutions including "schools, hospitals and government buildings."


[H]ardware Round-Up

Guides: X99 motherboards and DDR4 memory buyer's guide @ TweakTown

Cooling: Thermaltake Frio Silent14 CPU Cooler @ Kitguru

Systems: Acer Aspire E5-551 laptop @ Trusted Reviews

Nvidia Shield Tablet @ CNET

Dell OptiPlex 9030 Touch @ PC Magazine

Motherboards: ASUS X99 ROG Rampage V Extreme @ OC3D

WPS Authentication in Some Wi-Fi Routers Vulnerable to Offline Attack

Weak randomization is the attack vector in a recent exploit of Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). The article doesn't talk about remediation options but turning off WPS is probably one way to start.

Because many router manufacturers use the reference software implementation as the basis for their customized router software, the problems affected the final products, Bongard said. Broadcom's reference implementation had poor randomization, while the second vendor used a special seed, or nonce, of zero, essentially eliminating any randomness.


What Happened to Motorola

Chicago Magazine takes a long and in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of Motorola. Fire up your tablet or get comfortable in your Aeron chair and settle in for a good Sunday read.

Getting outflanked by tech upstarts, hacked in two by a fearsome corporate raider, and finally taken over in part by a Chinese company that exists largely because of the world Motorola made for it: Such a fate would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. Motorola was then one of America’s greatest companies, having racked up a stunning record of innovation that continually spawned new businesses, which in turn created enormous wealth. Motorola had the vision to invest in China long before most multinational companies. It even developed Six Sigma, a rigorous process for improving quality that would be embraced by management gurus and change the way companies nearly everywhere operate.


Gaming [H]eadlines

The Order: 1886 demo opinion from PAX @ IGN

Get another chance at the Evolve closed alpha @ Destructoid

Hands-on with Gigantic at PAX @ Game Informer

Best cosplay on day 2 at PAX @ Escapist

Intel showing off 4K gaming laptops at PAX @ PCGamer

E-Sports Drawing Big Crowds and Big Money

Remember when Dennis Fong (aka Thresh) won John Carmack's Ferrari in a Quake tournament back in the 90's? The New York Times has an interesting piece about the E-Sports craze so read up if you don't know what the big deal is about MOBAs or why Street Fighter 4 is still relevant today.

Last year, the State Department began granting visas to professional gamers, under the same program used by traditional athletes. This fall, Robert Morris University in Chicago will dole out over $500,000 in athletic scholarships to gamers, the first of their kind in the United States, and Ivy League universities have intercollegiate gaming. Last week, the web giant Amazon announced it was buying Twitch, a hugely popular video streaming service used by gamers, for $970 million in cash.


Retailer Charges Customer for Complaining Online

As more and more transactions move online, the importance of consumer diligence needs to keep pace. Some retailers have the nads to bury language in their terms of service that allows them to charge a fee if the customer complains publicly. There's a lawsuit in New York against Accessory Outlet for this practice.

Cindy Cox of New York filed a lawsuit against Accessory Outlet. She says she ordered an iPhone case for $39.94, but it never arrived. When the company refused to give her a refund she said she would complain to her credit card company. Citing the terms of service, Accessory Outlook demanded $250. When she didn’t comply, the company called her repeatedly and sent her a series of threatening emails, saying it would notify a credit reporting bureau and damage her credit rating, according to Cox.


Mars Rover to get Flash Memory Refresh Remotely from Earth

Think you have problems when you have to drive to your mom's house to reinstall Windows? Mars Rover "Opportunity" is exhibiting software trouble after 11 years of service so NASA is reflashing the onboard memory remotely. And I used to complain about the lag when I'd remote into a server over a satellite connection. big grin

Preparations include downloading to Earth all useful data remaining in the flash memory and switching the rover to an operating mode that does not use flash memory. Also, the team is restructuring the rover's communication sessions to use a slower data rate, which may add resilience in case of a reset during these preparations.


Apple Rumors-Weekend Edition: NFC for iPhone 6, $400 iWearable, New Construction

We have a few Apple rumors for y'all today. Sources told Wired that the new iPhone will finally contain Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which will certainly boost the mobile payment market to new heights. Meanwhile, Re/Code tells us that the wearable (iWatch? iGlass? ) to be announced will have a price tag around US$400. Finally, Yahoo says that there's a new "mysterious structure" being built at the event location. Are you looking forward to the announcements or is it "nine nine nevermind" to you? smile


Anand from AnandTech Retiring from Tech Publishing

Since 1997, Anand Lal Shimpi and his eponymous website AnandTech has been dishing out the scoop on technology and have intersected with [H] many times. Indeed, Kyle and Anand were part of the original editorial team at Computer Power User Magazine when it launched in 2001 and have assisted each other in events over the years.

Anand has decided to retire from both AnandTech and from the tech publishing world as a whole. As a fan of Anand, his site, and the community over at the AT forums, I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors and my heartfelt thanks for his many years of serving the technology enthusiast community.

This will be the last thing I write on AnandTech as I am officially retiring from the tech publishing world. Ryan Smith is taking over as Editor in Chief of AnandTech. Ryan has been working with us for nearly 10 years, he has a strong background in Computer Science and he’s been shadowing me quite closely for the past couple of years. I am fully confident in Ryan’s ability to carry the torch and pick up where I left off.