Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Keezel: easy-to-use privacy & security for every online device, everywhere – a long time coming



Keezel’s battery can be used to charge your other USB devices
Credit: Pinterest

Public WiFi networks are far from secure. Free WiFi at that coffee shop may not be the bargain it appears. A VPN1 represents a substantial security upgrade.

Keezel is VPN-in-a-box for WiFi networks – single button operation. I previously wrote about it on 17 July 2015. Indiegogo funding closed 23 August 2015. As of this date, few have been delivered.

In the interim, there have been a number of upgrades, including the battery, from around 5,000 mAh to 8,000 mAh+.

C|Net – “Keezel's hotspot purifies your public Wi-Fi network (hands-on)”
https://www.cnet.com/au/products/keezel/preview/

Z – “Keezel review” – If you can’t read Dutch, try Google Translate – worked for me
http://www.rtlz.nl/tech/keezel-review-routertje-met-kinderziektes-houdt-apparaten-veilig

Indiegogo project – “Keezel: Online Security for Every Device Everywhere”
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/keezel-online-security-for-every-device-everywhere-wifi-technology/x/9010251#/

HitchHiker's Guide 2 Tech post from 2015 – “Keezel: easy-to-use privacy & security for every online device, everywhere (video)”
https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2015/07/keezel-easy-to-use-privacy-security-for.html
__________

1 “A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet.” – How to How-To Geek: “What Is a VPN, & Why Would I Need One?”, https://www.howtogeek.com/133680/htg-explains-what-is-a-vpn/
/ one device fits in your pocket changes online world control your Internet world’s first portable on line see what you are doing online visit blocked websites all over the world geographically locked region locked secure all your devices one keezel no software installation needed required growth intelligent worldwide keezel network provider provided best providers keezel switch it on with 1 button one button operation privacy feel secure connect to whatever you want control crowdfunding unique server network worldwide keezel chooses best available connection everytime you connect Keezel partners partner world class VPN providers servers worldwide combining multiple VPN networks provide largest most resilient network keezel automatically selects best connection best service simple big worldwide server network working for you keezel online freedom protecting your privacy security free and open internet WiFi networks all WiFi devices VPN technology simple campaign perks 1 year 2 year lifelong access our world class VPN network free basic service protect your privacy security on WiFi networks free WiFi connect to WiFi expose yourself to identity theft data leakage colleagues at work on the company network keezel protects your privacy security online coffee shops hotels airports at work at home encryption encrypts encrypt your connection all connected devices without having to install software app application many governments censor Internet blocking voices opposition Facebook Twitter other websites blocked Internet widespread problem websites TV shows watched in certain countries episodes your favorite show unavailable when travelling watch a sports game race inaccessible in your country or region connect keezel country of your choice keezel creates your own secure WiFi network Keezel connects to WiFi networks your favorite coffee shop creates a secure WiFi network open source encryption technology big companies government organizations protect their data doesn't require installation laptop phone smart solution works with all your WiFi devices connect your personal keezel WiFi online freedom without screens keezel's VPN service high quality resilient server network all over the world partners partner world class network providers best service super competitive price Indiegogo perks least one year of this service premium service limited speed locations secure browsing emailing encryption change location country great battery life charge charges your phone keezel powerful battery almost three times the capacity of your iPhone 6 use keezel charge other devices service subscription only limited speed locations 8000 mAh 7000 mAh 5000 mAh /

Monday, 27 February 2017

Vigo electric motorcycle now on Indiegogo



Credit: Vigo/Drivespark

Remember the Vigo electric motorcycle?

HitchHiker's Guide 2 Tech – “Vigo electric motorcycle from Eco Motorcycles UK”
https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2017/01/vigo-electric-motor-cycle-from-eco.html

Some extraordinary claims – read the post linked above – but some of the more extreme claims included:

● 160% of the battery for 59% of the price (44% at the “supporter” price) of the current competition

● 400 miles (640 k) range – which seems to defy the laws of physics for any practical purpose


Now there is an Indiegogo project, which explains what, “Retail Price £7,999 (9,799 USD)”, &, “Special Price (for supporters) £5,999 (7,499 USD)”, meant. Shipping of the first pre-ordered motorcycles is planned for January 2019. Ongoing reduction in battery prices in the intervening 2 years, may account for the claims on battery capacity & price.

Vigo is being developed in Britain. The Indiegogo page mentions the British Government grant of 20% or £1,500, whichever is the lesser – “The grant amount will be deducted during purchase.” It is unclear whether quoted prices include the grant.

Claims on maximum range remain unchanged at, “400 miles (640 km)”, although some detail has been added:
“The following range has been compiled using 80% city, 20% highway environment with an average speed of 45 mph. Factors like: weight load, speed, adaptive braking ratio might gradually reduce the overall range of the vehicle. Values have been calculated taking into consideration specifications of used components.” – Vigo Motorcycles Indiegogo project page

Note that the range claim is, “calculated”, rather than measured using a prototype – confirmed by the words, “CONCEPT STAGE”, just below the video at the top of the Indiegogo page. Until demonstrated otherwise, I'll stick with my estimate in the earlier post, of a maximum of 260 miles (418 km), for any practical purpose – around town – less on the highway.

Indiegogo – “VIGO: Electric Motorcycle of the Future”
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vigo-electric-motorcycle-of-the-future/x/9010251#/
/ video check specs specifications Eco Motorcycles web site range 400 miles 640 km battery capacity 21 kWh battery life motor power 90 kW 120 horsepower acceleration 3.2 seconds 60 mph 100 kmh max speed 180 mph 290 km/h weight 350 pounds 160 kg specs price estimated retail price £7,999 $US9,799 USD $A13,160 Australian special price supporters £5,999 $US7,499 USD $A9,866 Australian Zero Motorcycles SR ZF13.0 Zero SR ZF13.0 13.0 kWh battery Zero Battery 13.0 kWh city speed range 161 miles 259 km highway speed 55 mph 89 km/h 98 miles 158 km highway speed 70 mph 113 km/h 81 miles 130 km top speed 102 mph 164 km/h range Zero scaling 161 mile 259 km city speed range Zero larger battery Vigo 21 kWh 13.0 kWh 260 miles 418 km 400 miles 640 km claimed Eco Motorcycles developing Vigo Eco Motorcycles retailer Zero electric motorcycles Zero SR ZF13.0 price Eco Motorcycles in development motorcycle 160% bigger battery 59% price supporter price current competition performance Zero acceleration power quoted Vigo 90 kW 73% greater 52 kW claimed Zero higher top speed top speed 73% more power aerodynamic drag increases as the square of the speed range claim of 400 miles range city speed claimed range Vigo seems to defy the laws of physics Vigo electric motorcycle motor cycle Vigo currently in development commercial product first development project startup manufacturer fail battery prices will continue to fall motorcycle 21 kWh battery quoted price range adjusted inflation likely to be possible within a few years top speed range specs specifications better than Zero SR ZF13.0 Eco Motorcycles Vigo Zero Motorcycles Zero SR ZF1 /

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Fasting reverses diabetes in mice



Credit: American Pregnancy Association

Diet has long been associated with a range of health benefits, including longevity, reduced heart disease, protection against Alzheimer's, weight control (obviously)1,2,3 & even a reduced murder rate.4

A new study appears to demonstrate that intermittent fasting can reverse type 1 & type 2 diabetes.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – “Fasting diet could regenerate pancreas & reverse diabetes, researchers say”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-26/fasting-diet-could-reverse-diabetes-and-regenerate-the-pancreas/8304426

BBC – “Fasting diet ‘regenerates diabetic pancreas’”
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-39070183
__________

1 “Increasing lifespan & healthspan through diet”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2015/07/increasing-lifespan-healthspan-through.html

2 “Alzheimer’s – can we prevent it?”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/08/alzheimers-can-we-prevent-it.html

3 “How too much fat & sugar + too little fibre is making us sick”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-too-much-fat-sugar-too-little-fibre_23.html

4 “Does eating salmon lower the murder rate?”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2014/08/does-eating-salmon-lower-murder-rate.html
/ fast fasting diet regenerate pancreas reverse diabetes researchers fasting diet regenerate pancreas potentially reverse diabetes researchers have found US study published scientific journal Cell tested modified version the fasting-mimicking diet FMD mice human cells findings showed cycles diet regenerate pancreatic cells restore insulin production type 1 diabetes patients reverse both type 1 and 2 diabetes mice Dr Valter Longo University of Southern California findings potentially very exciting cures cure type 1 and type 2 diabetes type 1 diabetes type 2 diabetes Dr Longo FMD regenerate other organs research shown similar effects for blood cells extreme diets with very specific compositions can trigger self repair and regeneration processes mouse possibly humans Dr Longo challenges side-effects fasting in humans team developed modified low-calorie low-protein low-carbohydrate high-fat four-day FMD diet caused changes levels specific growth factors glucose ketone bodies reduced blood glucose pre-diabetic patients mice FMD improved glucose tolerance insulin tolerance diet pancreas control blood sugar levels restoring organ reverse symptoms diabetes diet regenerate pancreas reprogramming cells into beta cells make insulin study cycles FMD promote generation insulin-producing cells pancreatic cells replicate extremely low rate adult pancreas tissue regeneration solution cell depletion loss of insulin secretion stem cell transplantation FMD cycles rescued mice late-stage type 2 diabetes restoring insulin secretion reducing insulin resistance major improvement in the mice's survival Do not try this at home potentially ground-breaking findings Dr Longo warned people not to take up a fasting diet without consulting a doctor should not be done at home self-made diets should be done under medical supervision next step carry out clinical trials on humans patients to speak to their doctor before trying this at home /

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Do you really need this shit? – Amazon Contemplate forces you to think twice about your purchases


Does your credit card balance bear the scars of impulsive online purchases?

Amazon Contemplate is a Chrome extension that just may help.


Amazon Contemplate in action, saving another credit card from a fate worse than, exactly the same as, debt
Credit: maxdore123/Chrome web store

LifeHacker – “Amazon Contemplate Forces You To Think Twice About Your Amazon Purchases”
https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2017/02/amazon-contemplate-forces-you-to-think-twice-about-your-amazon-purchases/

Get the extension at:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/amazon-contemplate/cepclempoeggcpgbmomhpalbcekpnccl

Is your credit card debt more than you are comfortable with? Psychological studies show that people are, in general, more likely to spend, & even pay more for the same item, when credit is available.

Psychology Today – “Why We Overspend With Credit”
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/retail-therapy/201306/why-we-overspend-credit

Many financial advisers suggest cutting up your credit card(s).

LearnVest – “I Cut Up My Credit Cards — & Paid Off $30,000”
https://www.learnvest.com/2013/03/i-cut-up-my-credit-cards-and-paid-off-30000/

Your first thought may be, “But what about online purchases?” Well that's the point of the extension – online purchases can lead to buying shit you don't really need. Way round this is, rather than literally cutting up your credit card, go to your financial institution, close your credit card account, & replace it with a debit card. This is equally acceptable to online stores & you’re spending your own money, rather than getting (further) into debt.
/ Chrome extension Amazon Contemplate impulse buy credit card debt bankrupt bankruptcy convenient buy just budget site too tempting Amazon Contemplate Chrome extension forces you to wait 30 seconds before you make an Amazon purchase pops up click add something to your cart asks if you really want to buy you're thinking about buying close tab save your cash wait for it to timeout proceed with your purchase annoying that's the point if you have a hard time resisting Amazon this tool helps habit thinking about your spending link below think before you spend impulse control self control what about online purchases responsible adult credit cards financial instrument more convenient carry and use than cash smooth consumption over time borrow from the future credit cards can be dangerous psychological reasons urge to pursue goals closest to completion drives people focus repaying small debts first interest rates leaving money on the table experimental research credit cards stimulate overspending willing to pay more same product using credit using cash trait-based explanations credit card premium people spend more with credit credit card premium consistently observed psychological forces that underlie less psychologically painful swipe credit card physically hand over cash Manoj Thomas colleagues spending differences tightwads chronically find spending painful spendthrifts don’t find spending painful enough smaller people were required to use credit to make purchases people were required to use cash credit anesthetize pain of paying catch up to the spending levels spendthrifts credit reduce the sting of payment also stimulates desire experiments Richard Feinberg manipulated credit card logos visible participants how much they would be willing to pay cash products Feinberg hypothetical willingness pay actual cash donations charity significantly greater credit card logos visible replicated Priya Raghubir and Joydeep Srivastava results suggest consumers have been conditioned associate credit card logos consumption exposure credit card logos stimulate craving smelling fresh cookies stimulates hunger emotional factors cognitive factors contribute credit card premium credit limits credit users benchmarks compare prices research Dilip Soman and Amar Cheema high credit limits signal future earnings potential consumers with limited credit experience expected earnings make prices seem relatively small stimulates spending Work by Carey Morewedge colleagues credit limits themselves make purchases appear small seem less expensive available credit wallet /

Friday, 24 February 2017

CSIRO: “There's no reason Australia can’t switch to 100% renewable energy”



Credit: Viagg Israele/Blogger/Google

Over the last few years, many reputable sources have claimed that a 100% renewable electricity supply is possible for Australia.1,2,3 Now, no less an authority than Australia's premier scientific organisation, the CSIRO, has added its voice in a submission to the Senate select committee into, “Resilience of electricity infrastructure in a warming world.”

http://reneweconomy.com.au/csiro-says-australia-can-get-100-per-cent-renewable-energy-86624/
__________

1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “A 100% renewable electricity grid is not just possible, but essential”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-100-renewable-electricity-grid-is-not.html

2 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage to smooth sustainable energy – update”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/11/short-term-off-river-pumped-hydro.html

3 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Renewable energy is ready to supply all of Australia's electricity”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2014/07/renewable-energy-is-ready-to-supply-all.html
/ CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation no reason Australia can’t switch to 100% renewable energy Australian government’s chief scientific body no apparent technical impediment to reaching 100 per cent renewables national electricity grid levels of up to 30 per cent renewable energy should be considered as trivial current energy systems /

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Taking your phone across international borders



Credit: ZDNet/Flickr

You may have read a recent post on these pages about taking your phone across international borders. Check it at:

HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech – “Why you should never take your phone out of the country”
https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2017/02/why-you-should-never-take-your-phone.html

Below, Ars Technica staff interview Ahmed Ghappour, UC Hastings law professor, expert in national security & cybersecurity on taking your phone across international borders.

“If you’re a citizen, kinda stand your ground a bit, because I’d like to see what the record is for detention.” – Professor Ahmed Ghappour

Some other ideas discussed:

Mail phone to yourself in the country you are entering to avoid crossing the border with it.

Can you be provided with a computer & required to log into your Facebook (or other) account?



Ars Technica Live: “What to do when border officials ask for your passwords”
https://arstechnica.com/video/2017/02/ars-technica-live-what-to-do-when-border-officials-ask-for-your-passwords/

If your are a citizen of the country your are entering, your can’t be denied entry, if your can prove you are a citizen. Hower, non-citizens may find it best to give up passwords to accounts such as email & Facebook. A set of accounts created for the purpose, can give you a persona which can be handed over without compromising your privacy.

Wired – “A Guide to Getting Past Customs With Your Digital Privacy Intact”, https://www.wired.com/2017/02/guide-getting-past-customs-digital-privacy-intact/
__________

1 Wikipedia: “Ahmed Ghappour”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Ghappour

/ how to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour Android password-level security without having to type the damn thing it in all the time review SanDisk new Lightning USB 3.0 iXpand Flash Drive easy transfers backups in I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again neither should you US Customs Border Patrol agent airport how you can encrypt your entire life in less than an hour security save you physical possession your phone laptop intimidate giving up your password what happened to a US citizen returning home from abroad Sidd Bikkannavar US-born scientist NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew back to Houston Texas airport Customs and Border Patrol agents searched him detained release him password unlock his phone Bikkannavar phone belonged to NASA sensitive information he eventually yielded unlocked his phone legality 30 minutes phone unlocked outside of his possession apps you have on your phone email Facebook Dropbox browser Signal history of everything you’ve ever done searched everything you’ve ever said to anyone right there in those apps we should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutonium  dangerous long-lasting leaked no getting it back  Cory Doctorow how many potentially incriminating things police go before a judge establish probable cause warrant to search your home anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs forced hand over the full contents of their digital life Elcomsoft forensic software suck down all your photos contacts passwords email social media accounts  customers include police forces various countries militaries private security forces tools permanently archive everything there your unlocked phone If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man I would find something in them to have him hanged Cardinal Richelieu in 1641 Customs and Border Patrol succeed in getting ahold of your unlocked phone all of the people you’ve ever called emailed all the people you’re connected with on Facebook LinkedIn chances committed a serious crime have you ever taken a photo at a protest bought a controversial book Amazon vented about an encounter with a police officer information now part of your permanent record dragged out as evidence against you in court movement within government make all data from all departments available all staff at a local state federal level more places your data ends up larger hacker attack surface more vulnerable your data security breach police station result in your data ending up in the hands of hackers used against you from the shadows for the rest of your life fourth and fifth amendment rights illegal fourth amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure fifth amendment protects you against self-incrimination police officer stop you on the street America ask you to unlock your phone amendments strong legal ground refusing to do so US border isn’t technically the US next time you plan to cross a border leave your phone at home /

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Dark side of coding



Credit: CommitStrip

More insights at: http://www.commitstrip.com/en/
/ coding coder progam programme programmer programming display advertisement app apps install uninstall real quite common too much temptation in advertising advertisers don't care annoying a million people defrauding their own customers get paid profession that's only beneficial in theory in practice costs to our economy far outweigh the benefit many adblock options for mobile blocked advert servers network escape them chromecast /

Monday, 20 February 2017

Coders just rescued NASA’s Earth science data



Credit: Jamie Lyons/Wired




Signs are that Donald Trump hasn’t revised his attitude on climate change,1 & he’s stacked his cabinet with deniers & those hostile to the environment.2

With this in mind, a group of coders took action to make NASA’s climate data safe, & track future deletions

Wired – “Diehard coders just rescued NASA’s Earth science data”
https://www.wired.com/2017/02/diehard-coders-just-saved-nasas-earth-science-data/?mbid=nl_21917_p7&CNDID=
__________

1 Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “Badlands National Park deletes tweets on climate change statistics, following Donald Trump gag order”, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/badlands-national-park-deletes-climate-change-tweets/8211012

2 The Atlantic: “The Donald Trump Cabinet Tracker”, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/trump-cabinet-tracker/510527/
/ coders rescued NASA’s Earth science data coders took action to make NASA’s climate data safe UC Berkeley’s campus 200 adults Doe Library rescue federal climate data groups more than 20 cities believe Trump administration might want to disappear this data down a memory hole hackers scientists students collecting save outside government servers groups like DataRefuge Environmental Data and Governance Initiative organized Berkeley hackathon collect data from NASA’s earth sciences programs Department of Energy doing more than archiving diehard coders building robust systems monitor ongoing changes to government websites keeping track of what’s been removed learn exactly when the pruning began Tag It Bag It data collection is methodical group immediately sets web crawlers easily-copied government pages sending text Internet Archive digital library hundreds billions snapshots webpages tag more data-intensive projects pages lots links databases interactive graphics for the other group called baggers coders write custom scripts scrape complicated data sets sprawling patched together federal websites systems written piecemeal over 30 years no coherent philosophy providing data websites Daniel Roesler chief technology officer UtilityAPI volunteer guides Berkeley bagger group coder who goes by Tek download multi-satellite precipitation data NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center starting August access Goddard Earth Science Data required login totally legal digging around site DataRefuge prohibits hacking Tek found buried link old FTP server clicked started downloading data all of 2016 some 2015 non-coders hit dead-ends too 404 Page not found errors NASA’s Earth Observing System website empty databases Global Change Data Center reports archive NASA’s atmospheric CO2 datasets real problem when or why data disappeared backed it up scientists understand it better DataRefuge EDGI monitoring changes and deletions building software that can do it automatically Future Farming most advanced software builders tools they’ll need filters separate mundane updates major shake-ups explored blockchain-like systems build auditable ledgers of alterations engineers call version control how do you know if something has changed How do you know if you have the latest How do you keep track of the old stuff writing code volunteers signed build tools DataRefuge EDGI organizers movement vast decentralized network from all 50 states and Canada volunteers code tracking software archive a little bit every day group had collectively loaded 8,404 NASA DOE webpages Internet Archive covering the entirety of NASA’s earth science efforts built backdoors download 25 gigabytes from 101 public datasets scripts larger datasets finished running mood was somber still so much work to do climate change data just the tip of the iceberg Eric Kansa anthropologist manages archaeological data archiving non-profit group Open Context huge number of other datasets being threatened with cultural historical sociological information National Parks Service huge data portal contains park visitation stats GIS boundaries inventories of species computer ran scripts pull out a list everything in the portal working his way through each quirky dataset /

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Why you should never take your phone out of the country



Credit: David Handschuh/New York Daily News)/Maha Ahmed/Twitter

Linked below is an article about your undefined status at international borders. Included is a story about a US born scientist, returning to the United States, effectively imprisoned by US Customs, until he agreed to unlock his phone & allow customs agents to take it away for inspection. This despite the fact that he informed them that the phone belonged to NASA & contained sensitive information.

Welcome home!

Given the circumstances above, how secure are the contents of your phone at international boundaries?

Actually, there is a way around this, but it is far from convenient – the data on your phone is probably backed up in the cloud – do a factory reset before customs, & then reload everything on the other side.

I did warn you it wouldn’t be convenient :(

Both Android & iPhones back up data to the cloud by default. If yours isn’t doing this, set it up now!

Make sure you encrypt your phone, & that you have a strong password, for everyday use, but, as described above, wipe it before crossing international borders.

freeCodeCamp – “I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you.”
https://medium.freecodecamp.com/ill-never-bring-my-phone-on-an-international-flight-again-neither-should-you-e9289cde0e5f#.c0dj1gxh7

freeCodeCamp – “How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour”
https://medium.freecodecamp.com/tor-signal-and-beyond-a-law-abiding-citizens-guide-to-privacy-1a593f2104c3#.h73ukac1k

Many people don't want to use a password on their phone because it is inconvenient to type it in, every time they want to check an SMS. On Android phones it is quite easy to have it unlocked under a range of circumstances, including while connected to your home WiFi network, Bluetooth in your car, fitness tracker, or other device, but lock when the connection is lost. Read how to do it at:

HitchHiker's Guide 2 Tech – “Android password-level security without having to type the damn thing it in all the time!”
https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2015/11/android-password-level-security-without.html

And your music? You may regard your music as a must on a long international flight. But it is probably many megabytes of data. Reloading this after customs may be even less practical than your other data. If your phone accepts a microSD card, store your media there, & remove it before erasing you phone. If your phone doesn't accept a microSD, there are other external storage options for Android & iOS, such as SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone & iPad. Alternatively, you could store your media on an mp3 player.


SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone & iPad
Credit: SanDisk

MacRumors – “Review: SanDisk's New Lightning/USB 3.0 iXpand Flash Drive Offers Easy Transfers & Backups in a Slim Package”
https://www.macrumors.com/review/sandisk-ixpand-usb-3/

Thanks to John for some of the links above.
/ how to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour Android password-level security without having to type the damn thing it in all the time review SanDisk new Lightning USB 3.0 iXpand Flash Drive easy transfers backups in I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again neither should you US Customs Border Patrol agent airport how you can encrypt your entire life in less than an hour security save you physical possession your phone laptop intimidate giving up your password what happened to a US citizen returning home from abroad Sidd Bikkannavar US-born scientist NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew back to Houston Texas airport Customs and Border Patrol agents searched him detained release him password unlock his phone Bikkannavar phone belonged to NASA sensitive information he eventually yielded unlocked his phone legality 30 minutes phone unlocked outside of his possession apps you have on your phone email Facebook Dropbox browser Signal history of everything you’ve ever done searched everything you’ve ever said to anyone right there in those apps we should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutonium  dangerous long-lasting leaked no getting it back  Cory Doctorow how many potentially incriminating things police go before a judge establish probable cause warrant to search your home anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs forced hand over the full contents of their digital life Elcomsoft forensic software suck down all your photos contacts passwords email social media accounts  customers include police forces various countries militaries private security forces tools permanently archive everything there your unlocked phone If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man I would find something in them to have him hanged Cardinal Richelieu in 1641 Customs and Border Patrol succeed in getting ahold of your unlocked phone all of the people you’ve ever called emailed all the people you’re connected with on Facebook LinkedIn chances committed a serious crime have you ever taken a photo at a protest bought a controversial book Amazon vented about an encounter with a police officer information now part of your permanent record dragged out as evidence against you in court movement within government make all data from all departments available all staff at a local state federal level more places your data ends up larger hacker attack surface more vulnerable your data security breach police station result in your data ending up in the hands of hackers used against you from the shadows for the rest of your life fourth and fifth amendment rights illegal fourth amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure fifth amendment protects you against self-incrimination police officer stop you on the street America ask you to unlock your phone amendments strong legal ground refusing to do so US border isn’t technically the US next time you plan to cross a border leave your phone at home /

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Ensuring the next Samsung phone doesn’t explode



Credit: Greentec

Samsung’s Note 7 was a disaster, from both a financial, & a public relations point of view.1 Samsung has to get its next range of premium phones right. Measures taken include delaying the announcement from February to March, & sourcing batteries from multiple suppliers.

Boy Genius Report – “Samsung is making extra-sure the Galaxy S8’s battery won’t explode”
https://bgr.com/2017/02/17/galaxy-s8-battery-rumors/
________

1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Note 7 fires – what Samsung found”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2017/01/note-7-fires-what-samsung-found.html
/ Samsung making extra sure Galaxy S8 battery won’t explode Samsung’s next big thing brand new Samsung Galaxy flagship Apple’s incoming iPhone Galaxy S8 regain trust of customers massive Galaxy Note 7 battery scandal Galaxy S8 unfortunate role first phone launch combustible Galaxy Note 7 phablet Samsung battery problems new report Samsung third battery maker Galaxy S8 Samsung ensure new phone safe for consumers Samsung delayed Galaxy S8 launch late February late March Galaxy Note 7 fallout prevent any battery issues future Samsung also announced a series of additional battery tests should prevent accidents in the future Samsung cells batteries Samsung SDI Samsung ATL Galaxy Note 7 fires faults not identified during production fires explosions supplying batteries Samsung phones making Galaxy S8 batteries equip Samsung’s next flagship Samsung Sony to make Galaxy S8 batteries Japanese giant selling its battery unit to Murata Japan-based company recently rumored rumoured make batteries for the Galaxy S8 LG make batteries for the Galaxy S8 Sony battery sales to Samsung Sony batteries use different materials more heat-resistant less energy-efficient Sony’s limited production capacity increase smartphone battery recent Galaxy S8 rumor Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus Sony batteries Galaxy S8 launched at an event in New York late March 2017 /

Friday, 17 February 2017

Add a minimalist wallet to your phone


Minimalist wallets have become enormously popular. The Identity minimalist wallet was recently reported on these pages.

Hitchhiker’s Guide 2 Tech – “Identity – unique minimalist wallet”


Identity card wallet
Credit: The Gadgeteer

http://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2017/01/identity-unique-minimalist-wallet.html

Just now, a search on Kickstarter for “minimalist wallet” returned 314 matches.

Many examples from conventional manufacturers too, such as:


Bellroy Micro Sleeve
Credit: Bellroy

https://bellroy.com/products/micro-sleeve-wallet/caramel

Most minimalist wallet of all is no wallet! Some phone cases include provision for card(s) &/or cash, such as


Otterbox Strada case for Samsung Galaxy S7 with room for 1 card or cash
Credit: Otterbox

iDownload Blog – “Some great wallet cases for the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus
http://www.idownloadblog.com/2016/09/26/wallet-cases-for-iphone-7/

If you have a case you are otherwise satisfied with, or prefer your phone naked, there are glue on pockets such as this one from Elago that can accomodate 2 cards. It is available in black, Italian Rose, & Jean Indigo.


Elago Card Pocket adds space for 2 cards to many phones & cases
Credit: Pinterest

Elago – “Card Pocket”
http://www.elagostore.com/elago-style/epocket-jin.html
/ Identity Card wallet review EDC quality item simple to use minimal minimalist how much space they take up never use cash anymore. When I buy something easier swipe credit card unzip wallet pull out the required cash receive change back wallets tend to be bulky accumulate extra stuff receipts other paper Identity Card wallet minimal wallet Identity Card wallet ultra small and ultra light weight light-weight lightweight minimalist wallet aerospace-grade aerospace grade carbon fiber unique folded one-piece design separate your cards into two piles wallet hold four cards on one side of the wallet and four cards on the other side wallet hold four cards on each side footprint almost the same size regular credit card smallest wallet I’ve found so far sides are smooth to the touch no rough edges Identity Card wallet offers wallet with or without a logo badge on the front crowdfunding campaign wallet logo badge offering it without the badge badgeless version edges of the logo cards that I carry in the Identity Card wallet several regular plastic credit cards along few thinner paper cards business cards held securely in place by the sides of the wallet cards inserted into the wallet still very thin diagonal cutouts on the front and back easy to slide out the top card with your thumb Identity Card wallet fits very easily into my pocket so thin that I barely even notice that it’s there zero bad things to say about the Identity Card wallet can’t use it to carry cash perfect wallet for minimalists wallet cases iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus Card Pocket Samsung Galaxy S7 Otterbox Bellroy phone case minimalist wallet crowd funding Italian Rose Jean Indigo Elago accomodate cards black Italian Rose Jean Indigo /

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Web myth – NASA used a million dollar ball-point – USSR used a pencil



Fisher AG7 Anti-Gravity Pen – the original Space Pen first used by astronauts in 1968 on Apollo 7
Credit: Canit

Conventional ball-point pens depend on gravity to feed ink to the ball. You've probably seen this when trying to write with a ball-point using a vertical surface to support the paper – delivery of ink to the ball soon fails, & the ball-point stops writing.

Another consequence is that conventional ball-point pens don't work in micro-gravity environments, such as Earth-orbit.

You’ve probably seen the stories circulating on mail lists, that go something like this:

US Government/NASA spent thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions/many millions of dollars developing a ball-point that would work in micro-gravity, & the USSR used a pencil. Stupid/incompetent/wasteful US Government/NASA. Clever USSR.

This story is wrong at every turn:

1. neither the US Government, nor NASA, ever spent a cent on development of a ball-point pen for use by astronauts

2. pencils were used in the early days of both the American & Russian space programmes

3. a pencil is a threat to safety in a space vehicle – pencil “lead” is substantially graphite, a form of carbon, which can burn – a no-no in space vehicles, since the fatal Apollo 1 fire in 1967

4. in use, pencil “lead” can release tiny flakes or break – this poses no threat on Earth – gravity takes care of that – in microgravity, small pieces of floating pencil “lead” may be inhaled or enter other bodily openings

5. small pieces of floating “lead” in a micro-gravity environment can interfere with the operation of sensitive equipment

6. graphite in pencil “lead” is electrically conductive, adding short circuiting to the risks posed to electrical equipment

7. soon after a suitable ball-point pen became available, the USSR began using it too


Development of the Space Pen was entirely funded by Paul C. Fisher of the Fisher Pen Company. A cost of $US1 million has been claimed.1 Actually, what allows the Fisher Space Pen to write in micro-gravity is the refill.


Fisher Space Pen refil
Credit: Sidetek/Blogger

Ink is delivered to the ball in any orientation, with or without gravity, by gas pressure. Ink continues to flow at temperatures ranging from -30°F to +250°F (-34°C to 121°C).2

Fisher's original Space Pen, the AG7 Anti-Gravity Pen, first flew in space in 1968 on Apollo 7.

You can still buy an identical pen from Fisher at http://www.spacepen.com/originalastronautspacepen.aspx

Snopes – “The Write Stuff”, http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

Scientific American – “Fact or Fiction?: NASA Spent Millions to Develop a Pen that Would Write in Space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts Used a Pencil”, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-nasa-spen/
__________

1 Scientific American: “Fact or Fiction?: NASA Spent Millions to Develop a Pen that Would Write in Space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts Used a Pencil”, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-nasa-spen/

2 Fisher Space Pen Co: “About Us”, http://www.spacepen.com/about-us.aspx
/ pencil lead graphite carbon fact or fiction NASA spent millions develop biro ball point pen write in space Soviet cosmonauts used pencil problem weightless writing Soviet central planning American sub-contracting private investor space race 1960s millions of taxpayer dollars develop pen ink paper without gravity Soviet cosmonauts pencils message simplicity thrift failure common sense bureaucracy Internet NASA Soviet cosmonauts used pencils outcry NASA find something cheaper astronauts tips flaked broke off drifting in microgravity potentially harm astronaut or equipment pencils are flammable NASA avoid Apollo 1 fire Paul C. Fisher Fisher Pen Company invested $1 million create commonly known as the space pen investment money NASA's coffers 1965 Fisher patented pen write upside-down frigid or roasting conditions underwater other liquids Fisher AG-7 Anti-Gravity Space Pen NASA testing space pen spaceflights beginning in 1967 ball-point pen ballpoint pen Fisher's pen gravity ink flowing cartridge pressurized nitrogen 35 pounds per square inch pressure pushes ink toward tungsten carbide ball pen tip ink ink stays gellike solid movement of the ballpoint turns it into a fluid pressurized pressurised nitrogen prevents air from mixing with the ink cannot evaporate or oxidize oxidise February 1968 NASA ordered 400 Fisher's antigravity ballpoint pens Apollo program Soviet Union ordered 100 pens 1,000 ink cartridges Soyuz space missions 40 percent discount buying in bulk /

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Samsung Chromebook Pro & Plus – with Android apps



Samsung's new Chromebooks have a 3:2 aspect ratio screen, rather than the more common 16:9, although the thick margin at the bottom exagerates the visual impression
Credit: Samsung/ZDNet

Chromebooks with their browser-centric operating system have long been suitable for those with low computing demands – web browsing, email, word processing & spreadsheet requirements which can be met by those in the Google suite of Web apps.

In progress, is the addition of Android apps to the repertoire of Chromebooks.

Among the first to implement Android app capability are Samsung's Chromebook Plus, & the more highly specified Pro. Google had substantial input into the design.


0.51" (1.30 cm) thick closed, & 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg), with stylus
Credit: Samsung/ZDNet


Tablet mode makes use of the 360° hinge
Credit: Samsung/ZDNet

Wired – “Review: Samsung Chromebook Pro
https://www.wired.com/2017/02/review-samsung-chromebook-pro/

GizmodoSamsung's New Chromebook Is A Nearly Perfect Budget Laptop
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/02/samsungs-new-chromebook-is-a-nearly-perfect-budget-laptop/

C|NetSamsung Chromebook Pro review”
https://www.cnet.com/au/products/samsung-chromebook-pro/review/

ZDNet – “Samsung's new sub-$500 Chromebook Plus comes with support for Android apps from the Google Play Store right out of the box.”
http://www.zdnet.com/article/samsung-chromebook-plus-goes-on-sale/
/ Samsung Chromebook Pro Samsung Chromebook Plus Android apps Chromebooks quietly infiltrated computer market Google’s affordable just a browser devices best-selling computers in schools around boardrooms cubicles more people bought Chromebook than Mac Macintosh Google’s you ought to buy Chromebook consumer Chromebook onslaught starts Samsung’s Chromebook Plus and Pro most well-rounded Chrome OS devices every normal-person laptop budget Chrome OS touchscreens support pen input run millions of apps Google’s Play Store part smartphone part tablet part laptop feels like the computer of the future using the Pro brilliantly polymorphic computer the good kind of cheap good laptop relatively light and thin body attractive well-spaced clicky keyboard spacious smooth trackpad high-res screen enough power battery extra-long day at work $500 Best Buy special Chromebook Pro half-inch thick 2.38 pounds smaller than almost every laptop doesn’t ooze class and wealth every time you open the lid magnesium alloy body silver black peel off the unsightly Energy Star sticker rounded edges exposed hinge decidedly utilitarian look laptop 12.3-inch 2400×1600 display excellent works well as a touchscreen really shines pop tiny stylus out of the body Chromebook Pro stylus matches Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones works just as well draw doodle take notes Google Keep note-taking app supports pen input tool works fabulously futuristic signing right on your computer screen Intel’s Core M3 processor four gigs RAM Chromebook Plus costs $450 lower-powered OP1 chip 32 gigs internal storage plus microSD slot for adding more specs power’s not an issue Chromebooks Chrome browser so stable upwards of ten hours battery charge flip the screen full 360 degrees turning your laptop into a tablet digital picture frame 360-degree screen power button /

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – returning



Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) & Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett)
Credit: BBC America/Netflix/MovieSteem

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016 with Samuel Barnett in the title role & Elijah Wood as his sidekick) – after having seen half of the first series, I can confirm that it is, as described in Wired, “... nothing like the books – but it’s still a blast!”

Next piece of good news – there will be a season two!

Previously reviewed on these pages, with trailers, panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, references to the previous TV series, & the books at: https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/10/dirk-gentlys-holistic-detective-agency.html

BBC America: “‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ Will Return to BBC America for Season Two”, http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2016/11/dirk-gentlys-holistic-detective-agency-will-return-to-bbc-america-for-season-two

What’s on Netflix: “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Season 2: Netflix Renewal & Release Date”, https://www.whats-on-netflix.com/news/dirk-gentlys-holistic-detective-agency-season-2-netflix-renewal-release-date/

All incarnations highly recommended – books, original TV series, plus the 2016 TV series.
/ Holistic Detective Agency new Dirk Gently nothing like the books still blast makings new cult favorite favourite crammed with weird ideas gore crazy set pieces few charming moments enjoy it stop thinking of it Douglas Adams adaptation BBC America show premiering based book duology Douglas Adams also created Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series basic concept holistic detective named Dirk Gently breezes around getting into weird situations ties all the threads together mixture of luck intuition TV show little in common Douglas Adams tone Douglas Adams Adams’ absurd wit stands out new show how American it all is new version Dirk Gently only British person U.S. city full of Yank archetypes snarky cops tattooed cultists badass bodyguards creepy shut-ins serial killers writer Max Landis wrote all eight episodes used Douglas Adams basic idea jumping-off point gonzo storyline creepy kidnappers indoor shark attacks bizarre diseases show will be about something completely different Douglas Adams books throw slew off-kilter ideas reader cram billion subplots into every episode wild spree works on its own terms don’t ever try to compare it work of the master first few episodes series delightfully perverse Electric Monk first Dirk Gently novel character save you the trouble of having to believe something believing it for you Douglas Adams creations often illuminate something of the weirdness and futility of humanity’s attempts to make sense of the universe clever storylines about Samuel Taylor Coleridge Norse mythology BBC America version rockstars bikers standard TV archetypes second Dirk Gently TV series in the past five years the first had minuscule fraction budget of this one aired minor UK channel written Misfits creator Howard Overman couple of Doctor Who writers new version throws a million dazzling science-fiction conceits at the viewer 2012 Dirk Gently show more of a weird detective show watching both Dirk Gently shows comparison Doctor Who Douglas Adams pilfered elements two Who scripts /

Monday, 13 February 2017

Turnbull knew renewables were not the cause of SA blackout the next day



More than 20 electricity transmission towers destroyed by SA storm on Wednesday 28 September 2016
Credit: Debbie Prosser/The Advertiser

On the afternoon of Wednesday 28 September 2016, a once-in-50-year storm, with winds up to 130kph & more than 80,000 lightning strikes, occurred in South Australia. Result for residents, was a state-wide failure of electricity supply.1

At the time, & since, some, mainly on the conservative side of Australian politics, have seen this as an opportunity to attack South Australia’s high proportion of renewable energy (43%).1,2 This despite the evidence available at the time, & the growing body of evidence which has accumulated since, that the blackout was unrelated to the source of the electricity.1,2

These attacks generally take the form of a statement about the storm, & then an attack on renewables. Here is an example from an interview in Launceston, Tasmania on the day following the SA blackout:

“... what we know so far is that there was an extreme weather event that damaged a number of transmission line assets, knocking over towers & lines & that was the immediate cause of the blackout … Now, turning to the issue of renewables. There is no doubt that a heavy reliance on intermittent renewables by which in South Australia we’re mostly talking about wind but there’s also solar, but intermittent renewables does place very different strains & pressures on a grid than reliance on traditional base load power whether it is fossil fuel or of course hydro …” – Malcolm Turnbull

See for yourself:



Now it has been revealed that the Australian Government, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, & his ministers, was informed that renewables were not responsible for the blackout as early as 7:20 on the morning of 29 September. I.e. before the statement in the video above.3

‘Officials told the prime minister’s office early on 29 September the loss of major transmission lines during the storm, which led to a loss of wind power being generated and transmitted at the time, was “followed by the Torrens Island gas power station shutting down shortly afterwards”.’ – The Guardian

“There has been unprecedented damage to the network (ie bigger than any other event in Australia), with 20+ steel transmission towers down in the north of the State due to wind damage (between Adelaide and Port Augusta). The electricity network was unable to cope with such a sudden and large loss of generation at once. AEMO's advice is that the generation mix (ie renewable or fossil fuel) was not to blame for yesterday's events – it was the loss of 1000 MW of power in such a short space of time as transmission lines fell over.” – Sydney Morning Herald

The Guardian – “Malcolm Turnbull was told gas plant shut down before South Australia blackout”
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/13/malcolm-turnbull-was-told-gas-plant-shut-down-before-south-australia-blackout

Sydney Morning Herald – “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ministers were told wind not to blame for South Australia blackout”
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/pm-and-ministers-were-told-wind-not-to-blame-for-sa-blackout-20170212-guaxf0.html

Huffington Post – “The Turnbull Government Can't Stop Blaming Renewables”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/02/12/the-turnbull-government-can-t-stop-blaming-renewables/
__________

1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Once-in-50-year storm blacks out South Australia – naysayers rush to attack renewables”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/10/once-in-50-year-storm-blacks-out-south.html


2 news.com: Politicians blame renewable energy for South Australia’s freak blackout”, http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/politicians-blame-renewable-energy-for-south-australias-freak-blackout/news-story/e60198eb2325fca65cf11ee0a8cab80d


3 Sydney Morning Herald – “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ministers were told wind not to blame for South Australia blackout”, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/pm-and-ministers-were-told-wind-not-to-blame-for-sa-blackout-20170212-guaxf0.html

/ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ministers were told wind not to blame renewables for South Australia blackout Turnbull government statements blaming last year's South Australian blackout high renewable energy target ignored confidential public service advice was not the cause emails obtained under freedom-of-information rules febrile debate renewable energy versus coal-fired generation raging in Canberra revelation undermine Coalition's energy messaging shatter confidence call for investment sober debate bipartisan policy solutions government denies it ignored the early advice it was the storm which brought down lines ministers canvassed publicly central state's high renewable energy reliance contributed subsequent assessment refer to the state's energy mix complicating factor security of supply advice to the government dated 29 September 2016 day after the whole of SA went black devastating storm suggested problem state's high reliance on wind generation key parts electricity distribution network wrecked during a severe weather event email trail senior official from Malcolm Turnbull department seeking explanation blackout 8.31 evening of the storm next morning outlines subsequent discussions 5am phone hook-up departmental political staff email sent Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's own officials assessment of the blackout including advice Australian Energy Market Operator unprecedented damage network bigger than any other event in Australia 20+ steel transmission towers down State wind damage Adelaide Port Augusta electricity network unable to cope sudden large loss generation capacity AEMO's advice generation mix renewable or fossil fuel was not to blame yesterday's events loss 1000 MW power such a short space of time transmission lines fell over within hours of the calamity Turnbull government capitalising on the blackout suggesting state's unsustainably high quotient wind generation failed to keep working in the conditions Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce chorus from Canberra state Labor government's unrealistic energy policies other senior ministers including Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg major storm major blackout across a whole state South Australia renewable energy target storm capacity to handle it intermittent renewables pose real challenges state Labor governments priorities renewable targets extremely aggressive extremely unrealistic energy security blackout South Australia extreme heat event energy blame game intensified evidence again suggests adequate supply gas turbine generation sitting idle wind contribution fell Labor's spokesman climate change energy Mark Butler hysterical Mr Turnbull playing politics very deep crisis enveloping our energy system /

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Tesla's Model S keeps getting quicker – another record






Difference of opinion as to whether its 2.27 or 2.28 seconds. Motor Trend actually recorded 2.275507139 seconds. Apparently, Elon Musk truncated to yield 2.27 seconds, while Motor Trend took the next decimal place into account & rounded up to 2.28 seconds.

Motor Trend – “2017 Tesla Model S P100D First Test: A New Record – 0-60 mph In 2.28 Seconds”
http://www.motortrend.com/cars/tesla/model-s/2017/2017-tesla-model-s-p100d-first-test-review/
/ Production Tesla Model S P100DL sets Motor Trend all-time world record to 60 mph in 2.27 sec Tesla Inc sedan Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk Tesla Model S luxury sedan electric vehicle EV battery electric vehicle BEV lithium ion battery LiIon /

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Tesla to begin pre-production of Model 3 this month



Tesla Model 3
Credit: Newsline/Tesla

Tesla is preparing for production of Model 3 (note that it's no longer spelled Model 
(check https://www.tesla.com/model3))

● production of current offerings (Model S & X) will shut down for a week, to prepare for production of the Model 3

● building of pre-production Model 3 units will begin on 20 February

Production is scheduled to begin in July of this year. When this was announced last year, anyone familiar with Tesla's performance against target dates was skeptical. However, pre-production beginning on 20 February is consistent with Model 3 production beginning on schedule.

Charged EVs – “Tesla pauses production to tool up for Model 3
https://chargedevs.com/newswire/tesla-pauses-production-to-tool-up-for-model-3/

Reuters – “Tesla pausing factory for Model 3 preparation this month”
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-model-idUSKBN15N2W7
/ Tesla Inc shut down production California assembly plant week prepare for production high-volume Model 3 sedan mass market company meeting target start production July Tesla brief, planned pause company add capacity existing paint shop prepare for Model 3 other general maintenance Tesla begin Model 3 production later this year planned start the ramp towards 500,000 vehicles annually 2018 Tesla spokesman pause material impact first-quarter production delivery figures added production days to compensate luxury electric carmaker planned begin test-building Model 3 20 February February 20 Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk more than 370,000 customers deposits down Model 3 start building cars July 2017 analysts and suppliers timeline too ambitious difficult to achieve Tesla's history missing production targets Tesla starting pilot production factory Fremont California shareholders two days later reports fourth-quarter results Model 3 rollout stoke the fan base highly anticipated vehicles Tesla small number test assembly system quality of vehicle parts stoke the fan base Wall Street pre-production models earnings announcement Tesla's plans Tesla spokesman production schedule Elon Musk investors July 2017 startup target suppliers deadlines Tesla Model 3 government incentives sedan Tesla niche luxury player automotive sector Tesla $41.4 billion market capitalization equals Nissan Motor Co Ltd Elon Musk bold approach cars space exploration clean energy investor enthusiasm Tesla skeptics Elon Musk promise producing 500,000 cars per year by 2018 Tesla 373,000 refundable $1,000 deposits for Model 3 production total sales fully electric vehicles /

Friday, 10 February 2017

Keeping the lights on in a rapidly changing world



Credit: How Stuff Works

On the afternoon of Wednesday 28 September 2016, a once-in-50-year storm, with winds up to 130kph & more than 80,000 lightning strikes, occurred in South Australia. Direct damage included destruction of more than 20 electricity transmission towers. In addition, 3 items of critical distribution infrastructure were destroyed. Other items of infrastructure responded to protect themselves, as planned, by shutting down.

Result for South Australia residents, was a state-wide failure of electricity supply.

Coincidentally, at over 40%, SA is leading the nation in adoption of renewable energy.

Just to be clear – the loss of power in SA was totally unrelated to the source or capacity of generation. Failure occurred because of the loss of critical distribution infrastructure.

Unfortunately, some, mainly on the conservative side of Australian politics, saw this as an opportunity to attack renewable energy.

01 October 2016 – “Once-in-50-year storm blacks out South Australia – naysayers rush to attack renewables”
https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/10/once-in-50-year-storm-blacks-out-south.html

In fact, in a large grid, accurate weather forecasting makes it possible to accurately predict & schedule renewables a day ahead.

27 November 2016 – “Renewable energy & the national grid”
https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/11/renewable-energy-national-grid.html

On 08 February 2017, a heat wave in South Australia led to a spike in demand, which forced, “load shedding”. At the time, gas power plant at Pelican Point, new Adelaide, was sitting idle due to a lack of foresight &/or planning by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the relevant authority.

Once again, those on the conservative side of politics rushed to judgement, attributing the power outages to renewables. Witness this remarkable piece of double speak from Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg:

“Well we're not politicising the fact that there is an insecure energy system in South Australia & that high renewable energy targets, be it in that state or in other states, put in place by Labor governments is going to bring great instability.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – “SA heatwave forces blackouts to cope with electricity demand, angering Government”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-08/sa-heatwave-forces-rolling-blackouts-angering-government/8252512

Then, a predicted heatwave in the coal dependent state of New South Wales on Friday 10 February promised to force load shedding.

Ausgrid – “NSW HEATWAVE”
https://www.ausgrid.com.au/Common/Customer-Services/Electricity-supply/Blackouts-and-power-restoration/load-shedding.aspx

9 February 2017 – Renew Economy – “Coal-reliant NSW faces rolling blackouts as accusations fly in South Australia”
http://reneweconomy.com.au/coal-reliant-nsw-faces-rolling-blackouts-as-accusations-fly-in-south-australia-40115/

In the event, no load shedding was required during peak load. This was due, in no small part, to load being shed before the event – some industrial users including Tomago Aluminium (which consumes 10% of the power generated in New South Wales) , & Visy paper mill had taken some of their operations offline to help conserve energy.

news.com.au – Residents told to switch off appliances during crucial hours of peak demand
http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/residents-told-to-switch-off-appliances-during-crucial-hours-of-peak-demand/news-story/bb2894aec265b29f3c6280e308313c2b

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – “NSW power: Blackouts across the state averted, energy operator says”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-10/nsw-power:-blackouts-across-the-state-averted/8260830
/ renewable energy sustainable energy electric power solar photovoltaic photo voltaic coal fired power station wind power wind turbine gas fired power station accurate weather forecasting grid /

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Keeping your phone safe in an uncaring world



Credit: N-Tech


The Gadgeteer – “What is the worst thing to happen to your mobile phone?”
http://the-gadgeteer.com/2016/03/17/what-is-the-worst-thing-to-happen-to-your-mobile-phone/

Take home message from the article above, is that the major dangers to your phone are being dropped onto a hard surface, or submerged under water.

Part of the problem arises from the materials used in making phones. If I'm carrying hundreds of dollars worth of hardware, that I depend on for a large & growing list of functions, I'd prefer something with the resilience of a basketball. That's not going to happen, but a minimum of glass, & replacing metal with shock-absorbing plastic would be a good start.

On the other hand, for most people, functionality dictates a minimum of a 3.5 inch diagonal screen, & probably the most popular size is around 5 inches – either way, that's quite a lot of glass.

Manufacturers & reviewers seem to have agreed that a, “premium”, phone should contain as much glass & metal as possible – in some cases, including metal covered with glass at the back.

Look at the image above – there's a good chance that a case would have prevented the carnage. Problem with cases is that for many people, after choosing a phone with skinny-jeans-compatibility, making the phone bigger by adding a case doesn’t appeal. If this sounds like you, take another look at the image above …

If you are still committed to the skinniest phone, you may be interested in the Naked Case – essentially the plastic used in plastic screen protectors extended to cover the entire phone. Such a case won't absorb an impact, but will reduce the chance of screen breakage & provide protection against scratches.

The Gadgeteer – “Naked Case for the iPhone 7/7+ review”
http://the-gadgeteer.com/2016/10/24/naked-case-for-the-iphone-77-review/

Naked Cases web site
https://nakedcases.com/

Another type of minimal, “case”, protects just the corners. Check this:



Bumprz don't appear to have made it to production, but Rmour seems to apply the same principles. Crowd funding has closed, but your can pre-order.

Kickstarter – “Rmour: Silver case for Your iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/48548502/rmour-silver-case-for-your-iphone-7-and-7-plus/description

Rmour manufacturer's web site
http://www.rmour-creatio.com/

Rmour is only available for the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus, but it does illustrate two important principles in protecting any phone in a fall:
● protect the corners

● prevent the screen from touching the ground – in addition to covering the corner, each Rmour covers a small part of the front & back of the phone – if it falls face down, the phone is supported at the corners, & the screen doesn't actually impact the ground


If you are looking for a minimal phone case, look for something with:
● good corner protection

● a ridge in front of the screen that will touch down before the screen – this will protect the screen in a fall & any time you put it face down – check the image below



Credit: Otterbox

If your are serious about protection, a good place to start is to buy a phone from Apple or Samsung, as they are generally best supported by case manufacturers. It's early days, but support for Google's Pixel is looking good too.

Some rules of thumb
● more popular phones are better supported by case manufacturers (surprise!)
● more expensive phones are better supported by case manufacturers

● older phones are poorly supported – manufacturers generally do one, or a small number of production runs, & then sell from stock

● its worth checking cases before you buy the phone

In my experience, the most protective cases come from LifeProof & OtterBox. (LifeProof was acquired by Otterbox in 2013,1 but, at lest at the design level, they operate as separate entities, with no overlap in their catalogues.) Check their sites for cases offering a range of protection, bulk & price. If you want waterproof, LifeProof is your best bet. This is becoming less important, though, as there is a growing trend for phone manufacturers to make the phones themselves waterproof.

Otterbox
https://www.otterbox.com/

LifeProof
https://www.lifeproof.com/

Best way to protect your phone from a fall is to not drop it in the first place. A case can help here too – grippy is better.

Why it's importance to place your phone face down
Look at the image at the top of this post again – notice that the cracks all radiate from a central point – the point of impact – either from the phone falling on something – or something falling on the phone. You can protect your screen from something falling on it by placing it face down – but check the surface. Paper, desk top, carpet, bed, all OK, but something more abrasive, no. Once again, a case with a ridge in front of the screen that will touch down before the screen, helps.

Lifehacker – “Five Foolproof Ways To Protect Your Phone's Screen”
https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2017/02/five-foolproof-ways-to-avoid-a-cracked-phone-screen/
__________

1 Wikipedia: “LifeProof”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeProof
/ Naked Case iPhone 7 iPhone 7+ Rmour silver case what is the worst thing to happen to your mobile phone major dangers to your phone dropped onto a hard surface submerged under water underwater mobile phone cell phone hardware large growing list of functions glass metal shock-absorbing plastic functionality 3.5 inch diagonal screen most popular size 5 inch diagonal screen premium phone glass aluminium metal glass phone skinny-jeans-compatibility case skinniest phone Naked Case plastic screen protectors absorb an impact reduce the chance screen breakage protection against scratches The Gadgeteer Naked Case iPhone 7 7+ Naked Cases web site minimal case protects corners Bumprz production Rmour crowd funding pre-order Kickstarter Rmour silver case iPhone 7 iPhne 7 Plus Rmour manufacturer's web site Rmour illustrate important principles protecting phone fall protecting the corners prevent screen from touching the ground Rmour covers front and back phone falls face down phone supported corners screen impact ground minimal phone case good corner protection ridge above the screen touch down before the screen protect the screen fall put it face down Otterbox if your are serious about protection buy phone from Apple or Samsung best supported by case manufacturers support Google's Pixel most protective cases LifeProof OtterBox LifeProof Otterbox protection bulk price waterproof LifeProof growing trend phone manufacturer make phones waterproof Otterbox LifeProof place your phone face down cracks radiate from a central point point of impact phone falling on something something falling on the phone protect your device something falling ways to protect your phone's screen /