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Top Stories For The Week Of July 12, 2017

  • Episode 512
  • July 12, 2017

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday July 12, 2017

Jawbone is shutting down to pursue medical tech.

In May of last year, speaker and fitness tracker company Jawbone ended production of its fitness trackers and started seeking a buyer for its speaker business, leading to speculation that the company was going out of business.

Jawbone denied claims that it was shutting down and planned to pivot to medical products for direct sale to clinical practitioners, but that may not have panned out, as The Information reports that the business is officially shutting down.

Jawbone has reportedly started liquidation proceedings and notices have been sent out to its creditors.

Jawbone co-founder and CEO Hosain Rahman has moved on to a new company called Jawbone Health Hub that is designed to make "health-related hardware and software services." Many existing Jawbone employees have already transitioned to the new company.

Jawbone Health will reportedly service existing Jawbone products, which may allow existing Jawbone customers to get help with their devices. Jawbone has been ignoring customer service requests for several months, making customers unhappy. Starting in January, Jawbone customers were unable to contact Jawbone support and did not receive responses to service requests for faulty products.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

The world's first glasses-free holographic phone is coming, and you'll never guess who's releasing it!

RED, the company that makes professional digital cameras for shooting Hollywood movies, is making a "holographic" phone called the Hydrogen.

The company is touting the Hydrogen as the "world's first holographic media machine" and says it doesn't require glasses to see the supposed holograms.

The 5.7-inch phone runs Android, and pre-orders are available in two tiers: It costs $1,595 for the "Titanium" high-end version and $1,195 for the "Aluminum" slightly lower-end version. The phone is planned to ship in the first quarter of 2018.

According to RED's announcement, the Hydrogen has a "professional hydrogen holographic display," which "seamlessly switches between traditional 2D content, 3D content, and interactive games."

The screen is, according to the company, capable of displaying "holographic RED Hydrogen 4-View content (H4V)," "stereo 3D content" and "2D/3D VR, AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality)."

High-quality audio is another feature to drool over, with a special algorithm that can reportedly convert stereo sound into 5.1 surround sound.

Like the company's modular cinema cameras, the Hydrogen is all about attaching accessories. You can attach camera extras like "future attachments for shooting higher quality motion and still images as well as Hydrogen format holographic images." The caveat: These accessories won't ship at launch.

Additionally, the Hydrogen can be connected to the company's Scarlet, EPIC and Weapon cameras as a separate control input and camera monitor.

And that's basically it. We have no idea what processor it has, or how much storage, or RAM, or anything else about the camera.

The teaser image clearly shows a headphone jack, USB-C port, and a rather big (and serious) looking camera protruding out of the backside. RED's website says it'll have a microSD card slot.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

There's now a self-driving transport truck that doesn't even have a spot for a human driver.

Most experts believe the first industry to be upended by autonomous driving will be the trucking sector. What better use case for driverless technology than long-haul trucking where most of the driving is confined to the highway?

The Swedish startup Einride certainly buys into this vision. It recently unveiled a prototype of a self-driving truck that completely lacks a steering wheel, pedals, a windshield, and, well, the whole cab really.

The all-electric T-pod is much shorter than your average traditional tractor trailer, clocking in at just 23 feet long, which is likely due to the absence of the cabin. Einride says the T-pod will weigh 20 tons at full load, which is comparable to a Class 8 truck.

The company says the T-pod can be controlled remotely by a human operator, or can operate autonomously without human intervention.

Einride says it aims to deliver “a complete transport system between Gothenburg-Helsingborg” by 2020. This transport system will involve 200 T-pods with associated charging stations on the route.

The system’s first route will have a capacity of up to 2,000,000 pallets per year. The full-scale prototype was on-hand last week at a week-long Swedish political event which took place on the island of Gotland.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

Disappointment as Intel plans to cut jobs from its IoT division.

Intel is shedding nearly 140 staff from its Internet of Things business lines.

The layoffs were probably inevitable, since during June, Intel discontinued three of its IoT product lines – the Joule, Edison and Galileo compute modules and boards.

Those three boards were once the flagships for Chipzilla's pitch to the wearable and maker markets.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal says 100 of the layoffs will be in Santa Clara.

Another 40 staff will be cut in the company's office in Leixlip, Ireland.

The IoT division turned in US$721 million in Q1 revenue this year, up 11 percent year-on-year, but overall that's less than 5 percent of Intel's sales.

Intel employs roughly 106,000 worldwide


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

A German computer company is spinning a new version of Ubuntu to include on their computers.

Tuxedo, a German computer company selling a range of Linux laptops, has announced it is launching it own Ubuntu-based Linux distro.

We've done our best with Google Translate, and in their announcement, they say “We have been working on this project for several months. We have been thinking about the usability of the desktop, have included user feedback in our considerations and made some surveys on desktop usage.”

The computer outfit plan to ship an in-house Xubuntu spin pre-installed on its devices. That spin is called (somewhat confusingly) “Tuxedo Xubuntu 16.04 LTS“.

They say, “What we have done is [deliver a] desktop that is strongly adapted to the needs of our users. With [our] own theme, own icons, own boot logo and […] the latest firmware, the latest NVIDIA drivers (if necessary) and Linux kernel 4.11 preinstalled! Not to mention our configuration adjustments on GRUB and optimizations to other system-relevant files.”

This modified image is said to deliver much lower memory usage (lower than even Ubuntu MATE) and improved battery life.

Hard to imagine, but the company tested its InfinityBook Pro 13 with Linux Mint 18.1, which gave a battery life of 6 hours, and its Xubuntu fork, which saw the ultrabook last almost twice as long, clocking up nearly 12 hours.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Update your Linux distro immediately. The GnuPG crypto library has been cracked.

Linux users need to check out their distributions to see if a nasty bug in libgcrypt20 has been patched.

The software fix, which has landed in Debian and Ubuntu, addresses a side-channel attack published last week.

The researchers published their work at the International Association for Cryptologic Research's e-print archive last week.

What they found is that the libgcrypt library used what's called “sliding windows”, a method for carrying out the mathematics of cryptography – but one that's known to leak data.

The researchers looked at the left-to-right sliding window calculation in libgcrypt, in which the sliding window data leak was tolerated because it was believed only part of a key was recoverable.

What they found was an unpleasant surprise: a complete break of the library's RSA-1024. They say, “We show for the first time that the direction of the encoding matters: the pattern of squarings and multiplications in left-to-right sliding windows leaks significantly more information about the exponent than right-to-left”.

The fix can be added to either Debian or Ubuntu, as well as potentially other distros, by running an upgrade on the libgcrypt20 package.


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