Five Phone Accessories That Make Travel Easier

Your phone is already the hub of every trip you take: the carrier of boarding passes and hotel reservations; the holder of books and movies to help pass the time; the conduit through which travel photos are shared on social media.

All by itself, it makes travel easier. But with a few key cell phone accessories, you can travel more easily with your phone. Let’s take a look at the items worth adding to your carry-on bag.

A mobile charger with wall prongs

mycharge-hub-plus

Some mobile chargers, like this one from MyCharge, have built-in wall prongs and cables.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Here’s a no-brainer: You need a mobile power bank to keep your phone running. These come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority require you to BYO wall plug so you can recharge the charger. That’s a hassle: one more thing to remember, one more thing cluttering up your bag.

That’s why I always choose a phone charger that can plug right into the wall unlike a dummy phone that no need to charge. For example, the Romoss UP10 (currently $30 on Amazon) features a 10,000mAh battery, dual USB ports (a 1-amp and a 2.1-amp) and folding wall prongs. And it can charge your phone while it’s plugged in and recharging itself.

More convenient still, the MyCharge HubPlus series provides power, wall prongs and built-in charge cables: Apple Lightning and Micro-USB, for example, or Micro-USB and USB-C. Of course, there’s also a standard USB port for connecting your own cable if need be. These are pricey, usually between $60 and $100, but also compact and super-convenient.

A 2-in-1 sync/charge cable

The Zeus Dual Charger magically fuses a Lightning and Micro-USB connector onto the same plug.

Zeus

One cable to rule them all. That’s the idea behind the Zeus Dual Charger, a fairly standard-looking USB cord — except that it has a Micro-USB and Lightning connector integrated onto a single plug!

I’ve never seen this before; most 2-in-1 cables just have two separate tips (usually with one nested into the other or the two side-by-side). Here you’ve got a single braided 6-foot cable that can plug into an Apple device or just about anything else. The Zeus sells for $20.

Is that any better than, say, a dual-plug cable like this one from Nkomax? Actually, the latter lets you charge two devices simultaneously, so it’s probably the more logical choice. Whatever you decide: one cable is better than two!

A good gripper

ungrip-in-hand

The Ungrip is the kind of product that helps prevent accidental phone drops.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Travel means a lot of phone handling. It’s in and out of your pocket or purse all day; it’s clutched for dear life while you dash to catch your flight. All that hustle and bustle greatly increases the risk of dropping your phone — and that could sour your trip right quick.

Solution: Get a better grip on your phone. There are a variety of products — most priced under $20, many under $10 — that stick to the back of your phone or case and give you a much more secure grip. I’m partial to the Ninja Loop (about $5) and Ungrip (about $10), which are notable for their versatility and comfort, respectively.

A good pen

ace-teah-as-kickstand

This pen is mightier than, well, other pens.

Ace Teah

Wait, a pen? Yeah, you know: that thing you write with sometimes. How can a pen make travel easier? When it’s also a stylus. And a kickstand.

Like this one: the Ace Teah 3-in-1. A longtime favorite of mine, this thick-barreled pen is not only comfy to write with, but also nice to, er, stylus with. (Flip it over and you can use the capacitive tip to scribble on your screen.) Better still, it has a built-in phone stand that can even accommodate a phone in a case. Now you’ve got a way to prop up the screen when you want to watch a movie or read a book. A mere six bucks buys you a pack of six pens in assorted happy colors.

A car mount

Traveling by car? For long trips in particular, when you’re likely to be relying on navigation apps, listening to podcasts and so on, it’s critical to keep your phone out of your lap or center console and up near eye level. That’s not only for easier screen access, but also for safety.

I’m partial to magnetic mounts, but there are a lots of different options. Check out this roundup of three ways to dashboard-mount your phone.

What phone-related travel accessories do you consider essential? Share your picks in the comments!

Source: cnet.com

Matterport grabs $5M more to accelerate deep learning development for their 3D capture tech

3d capture tech

Matterport is picking up new funding as it looks to speed the development of deep learning tech in its capture technology which brings immersive views of spaces into 360-degree 3D

The company, which largely specializes in scanning spaces for commercial and real estate purposes, announced today that they’ve picked up $5 million in funding from Ericsson Ventures. This strategic raise brings the company’s total announced funding to $66 million according to Crunchbase.

As 3D rendering grows more important thanks to spatial computing platforms like VR and AR, Matterport has one of the biggest libraries of 3D environments thanks to its loyal and prolific users who have uploaded over a half million scans of public and private spaces which are already viewable in VR.

A big focus of this new investment is taking these 3D scans and striving to gather more and more insights from them through deep learning-based AI development which will not only help them understand what’s in a space but how to improve the quality of the 3D images themselves.

“Ericsson Ventures saw the tremendous opportunity Matterport has to extend our technology lead by using our massive library of 3D models as a deep learning training dataset to create AI that will be the basis for our next generation products,” Matterport CEO Bill Brown said.

In May the company launched its Pro2 camera, which addressed a big request from existing customers who were excited about the potential of 3D 360 room scans but still needed 2D images to put into print materials. The camera retails for $3,995 and is available now.

Huddesfield Designers Bring New Ginetta Racing Car to Life

The in-house design team at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC) has used 3D technology and augmented reality to help Ginetta fine tune its latest prototype. 

3d racing car

Having already provided a similar service for the launch of its first prototype in 2015, Ginetta approached the 3M BIC design team to animate its £1.3millon LMP1 machine.

This enabled the car manufacturer’s own in-house design team to visualise the cars development, as well as showcase it at a launch event at Silverstone Circuit to potential buyers.

Ewan Baldry, technical director at Ginetta, said: “3D technology is an important part of our design process and marketing. To see something on a flat CAD screen has a few limitations, so being able to see something you can move around is very helpful.

“The main thing with a project such as this, from a marketing point of view, is to show credibility in the early stages to demonstrate to people the direction you are heading in, therefore having 3D visuals was key.”

The animation for the LMP1 car was created using physical STL data (used for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) testing or wind tunnel analysis) submitted to the 3M BIC design team by Ginetta.

Some adjustments had to be made to the original model in order for it to be re-textured with the corresponding racing livery, using Autodesk 3DS Max.

The team then rigged the car for animation and set the lighting for rendering purposes.

Paul Tallon, lead consultant designer at the 3M BIC, said: “3D rendering is a process in which an algorithm calculates the movements of a virtual photon on interaction with a surface of varying qualities.

“With the 3M BIC’s High Performance Computer and the latest Vray rendering software, we were able to get the detail to look as real life as possible in our render. This was particularly important for Ginetta who was looking for a realistic render to show their clients.”

As well as the on-screen render, the design team produced the car in augmented reality (AR) for use with the Microsoft Hololens, enabling people to walk around a scaled down holographic version of the car.

A 3D model was also printed in nylon by selective laser sintering (SLS) using the industrial additive manufacture printer on the 3M BIC’s Innovation Avenue, all of which were showcased at the launch event at Silverstone.

Ewan added: “Having worked with the 3M BIC team previously we knew they’d do the project justice. Again, we were really pleased with the service. We didn’t give them very much time, but they still produced something which was professional and to a high standard.”

Significant interest in the LMP1 has already been expressed following the launch event, from both new and existing customers.

The 3M BIC design team is currently working on the next stage of the process which involves creating a serious gaming experience that allows users, particularly racing drivers, to virtually test the LMP1 car on a track with varying different scenery and weather conditions to enhance the driver experience.

Leeds-based Ginetta, the leading British race car manufacturer, was founded in 1958 and acquired by racing driver and businessman Lawrence Tomlinson in 2005.

Since then it has taken the racing industry by storm, selling cars across the world and training some of the brightest stars in motorsport.

Source: bqlive.co.uk

VR tech helps to develop ships of the future

Tritec Marine is using Virtalis’ new ActiveMove CVR system which integrates a Head-Mounted Display (HMD) to form a small, turnkey VR solution in a box.

Ships VR

David Scott, Director and General Manager, Tritec Marine explained: “We had been investigating Virtual Reality (VR) for some time, ever since we attended an industry conference on the digital enterprise, and we saw real value in bringing our CAD data into 3D to fully communicate our conceptual designs.”

Tritec is known for naval architecture and embedding teams of engineers to supervise builds in China and Korea, but the company is increasingly moving towards developing concept ship designs which directly solve existing and challenging maritime transportation problems or improve on current practices.

“We have to work on overturning preconceived ideas,” said Scott, “as our design concepts have been developed from first principles, not from what is there already. We realised that VR isn’t just for gaming and consumer sales and that for us the value will lie in being able to walk disparate stakeholders through our concepts. I experienced CyberAnatomy and thought that I very quickly understood more about the human anatomy than I ever could have assimilated from books. Then we discovered that Virtalis already operated in this sector and that its Visionary Render software can take our CAD data and swiftly render it into virtual 3D ships.”

Visionary Render delivers advanced rendering of huge models in real-time with ease of importing from a range of data sources, maintaining naming, hierarchies and the all-important metadata.

ActiveMove CVR combines a best in class consumer headset and a VR-ready Lenovo laptop integrated into a custom designed case to provide a VR solution that can be assembled in minutes.

“Since we have ventured into the virtual world”, commented Scott, “we have had a veritable tsunami of ideas about how we can use the technology, from virtual prototyping before the build to digital twinning for maintenance. It is apparent that VR technology makes cost and time savings from day one, because the snagging is done in the virtual world, not in the real world. So far, we have only shown our models via CVR and Visionary Render to internal stakeholders, but they have been very impressed and it is clear that VR helps us get our message across to different audiences from different backgrounds.”

The first project that CVR is being deployed on involves radical concept designs for ships transporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). With a recognition that autonomous ships are considered by many to be the future of commercial shipping, Tritec is developing a revolutionary ship/port interface that automatically moors and unloads its cargo.

Source: dpaonthenet

3D Simulations Show How Galactic Centers Cool Off

magnetic kink

The most extreme outbursts in the universe are the mysterious jets of energy and matter beaming from the center of galaxies at close to the speed of light. The narrow jets typically form in opposing pairs, and they are associated with supermassive black holes and other exotic objects. The mechanisms that drive and dissipate the jets are not understood.

A team of researchers has developed theories supported by 3D simulations to explain what’s at work.

“These jets are notoriously hard to explain,” said Alexander “Sasha” Tchekhovskoy, a former NASA Einstein fellow who co-led the new study as a member of the Nuclear Science Division at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the Astronomy and Physics departments and Theoretical Astrophysics Center at UC Berkeley. “Why are they so stable in some galaxies and in others they just fall apart?”

This rendering illustrates magnetic kink instability in simulated jets beaming from a galaxy’s center. The jets are believed to be associated with supermassive black holes. The magnetic field line (white) in each jet is twisted as the central object (black hole) rotates. As the jets contact higher-density matter the magnetic fields build up and become unstable. The irregular bends and asymmetries of the magnetic field lines are symptomatic of kink instability. The instability dissipates the magnetic fields into heat with the change in density, leading them to become less tightly wound. (Berkeley Lab, Purdue University, NASA)

Almost half the jets’ energy escapes in the form of X-rays and stronger forms of radiation. The researchers showed how two different mechanisms that are both related to the jets’ interaction with surrounding matter, also known as “ambient medium” and serve to reduce half of the energy of the powerful jets.

“The exciting part of this research is that we are now coming to understand the full range of dissipation mechanisms that are working in the jet no matter the size or type of jet,” he said.

Tchekhovskoy co-led the study with Purdue University scientists Rodolfo Barniol Duran and Dimitrios Giannios. They concluded that the ambient medium itself has a lot to do with how the jets release energy.

“We were finally able to simulate jets that start from the black hole and propagate to very large distances—where they bump into the ambient medium,” said Duran.

Tchekhovskoy has studied these jets for over a decade. He said that an effect known as magnetic kink instability causes a bend in the direction of some jets. This along with another effect that triggers a series of shocks within other jets appear to be the primary mechanisms for energy release. The density of ambient medium that the jets encounter serves as the key trigger for the types of the release mechanism.

“For a long time, we have speculated that shocks and instabilities trigger the spectacular light displays from jets. Now these ideas and models can be cast on a much firmer theoretical ground,” said Giannios, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue.

The length and intensity of the jets can illuminate the properties of their associated black holes like their age and size and if they are actively “feeding” on surrounding matter. The longest jets extend for millions of light years into space.

“When we look at black holes, the first things we notice are the central streaks of these jets. You can make images of these streaks and measure their lengths, widths and speeds to get information from the very center of the black hole,” Tchekhovskoy noted. “Black holes tend to eat in binges of tens and hundreds of millions of years. These jets are like the ‘burps’ of black holes—they are determined by the black holes’ diet and frequency of feeding.”

Nothing can escape a black hole’s interior, but jets manage to draw their energy from the black hole. In the black holes, the laws of physics allow them to spew energy and matter even when they suck in surrounding matter.

The friction and heating of gases spiraling in toward the black hole cause extreme temperatures and compression in magnetic fields. This results in energetic backlash and an outflow of radiation that escapes the black hole’s pull.

Earlier studies have shown how magnetic instabilities in the jets can occur when jets run into the ambient medium. A jet experiencing the instability can change direction when it rams into matter outside the black hole’s reach.

The same instability frustrated scientists working on early machines attempting to create and harness a superhot, charged state of matter known as plasma in efforts to develop fusion energy that powers the sun. The space jets, also known as active galactic nuclei (AGN) jets, are a form of plasma.

The latest study found that if an earlier jet had “pre-drilled” a hole in the ambient medium surrounding a black hole and the matter impacted by the newly formed jet was less dense, a different process is at work in the form of “recollimation” shocks.

These shocks, formed as matter and energy in the jet, bounce off the sides of the hole. The jet loses energy with every shock and immediately reforms a narrow column until its energy dissipates to the point that the beam loses its tight focus and spills out into a broad area.

“With these shocks, the jet is like a phoenix. It comes out of the shock every time,” though with gradually lessening energy, Tchekhovskoy said. “This train of shocks cumulatively can dissipate quite a substantial amount of the total energy.”

The researchers designed the models to smash against different densities of matter in the ambient medium to create instabilities in the jet that mimic astrophysical observations.

New, higher-resolution images of areas in space where supermassive black holes are thought to exist—from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), for example—should help inform and improve models and theories that explain jet behavior. Future studies could also include more complexity in the jet models, like a longer sequence of shocks.

“It would be really interesting to include gravity into these models, and to see the dynamics of buoyant cavities that the jet fills up with hot magnetized plasma as it drills a hole in the ambient medium,” Tchekhovskoy said. “Seeing deeper into where the jets come from—we think the jets start at the black hole’s event horizon (a point of no return for matter entering the black hole)—would be really helpful to see in nature these ‘bounces’ in repeating shocks, for example. The EHT could resolve this structure and provide a nice test of our work.”

A paper on this study was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Source: Electronics360

25 Fastest Gaming Laptops Ranked

These are the gaming laptops we’ve tested with the best 3D performance over the past year.

gaming laptops

Gaming on a laptop is no longer the frustrating compromise it once was. Slimmer designs paired with more powerful processors and graphics cards have brought gaming laptops closer than ever to performance previously found only in desktops.

And the pace of innovation hasn’t slowed down. Just in the past year, laptops can now easily support high-end virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and new designs can fit top-tier graphics hardware into very slim laptop bodies, as in the case of the 17mm thick Asus Zephyrus, which is the thinnest laptop with an Nvidia GeForce 1080 GPU.

Putting gaming laptops to the test

For this roundup, we’ve taken all the laptops with discrete graphics hardware tested over the past 12 months, and ranked them based on 3D performance. When testing a gaming laptop or desktop, we run preset tests using several games, including Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Bioshock Infinite, and others, along with standard benchmarks like 3DMark, which is designed to test a computer’s 3D graphic rendering capabilities.

For this list, we’re ranking the laptops in order of 3DMark scores, but the real-world game scores (presented as the number of frames of animation per second the laptop can render) match very closely. Note that these scores are specifically for the exact configurations of each laptop we tested, and almost all can be configured with a wide range of options.

The winners are…

The results offer few surprises. The handful of laptops with dual video cards (rare in a laptop) came out on top, followed by laptops with a single Nvidia 1080 GPU and so on down the list. The No. 1 spot is held by the most expensive laptop we’ve ever reviewed, the $9,000 Acer Predator 21 X. But at more reasonable prices, systems from Asus, Alienware, Origin PC, Lenovo, HP, MSI and Razer, among others, are all represented.

As we test many more everyday laptops than gaming ones, the last few spots get us into crossover territory, with Nvidia and AMD GPUs that aren’t really for gaming, so serious gamers should stick with something that has at least an Nvidia 1050 graphics card.

More details on each laptop, including links to reviews and benchmark scores, are in our roundup gallery, with a top-level overview below. We’ll update the rankings as new gaming laptops are tested in the CNET Labs.

acer-predator-21-x-22.jpg

Acer’s frankly insane $9,000 Predator 21 X was the top performer in this roundup.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Top 25 Gaming Laptop Performers

System Name 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra score Graphics Card
1 Acer Predator 21X 9444 (2) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
2 MSI GT83 8594 (2) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
3 Asus ROG G701V 5226 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
4 Alienware 17 R4 5024 Nvidia GTX GeForce GTX 1080
5 Origin PC Eon17-X (2017) 4970 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
6 Origin PC Eon17-X (2016) 4919 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
7 Razer Blade Pro 4456 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
8 Asus ROG G752VS-XS74K 4126 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
9 Asus ROG Zephyrus 4095 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design
10 Alienware 15 R4 4054 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
11 HP Omen (17-inch) 3816 Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070
12 Origin PC Evo 15-S 2671 Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060
13 MSI GS73VR-7RF Stealth Pro 2647 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
14 Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016) 2609 Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060
15 Razer Blade 2593 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
16 Lenovo Legion Y720 2523 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
17 Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming 1871 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
18 Origin PC EON15-S 1861 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
19 Lenovo Legion Y520 1855 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
20 Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 1822 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
21 Acer Aspire VX 15 -591G 1252 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
22 Dell XPS 15 (2017) 1242 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
23 Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 810 Nvidia Quadro M100M
24 Samsung NoteBook 9 Pro 547 AMD Radeon 540 Graphics
25 HP Spectre x360 357 Nvidia GeForce 940MX

 

Source: cnet.com

What You Can and Can’t Recycle

recycle bin

We recently got new recycling bins at the Lifehacker office, and suddenly realized no one knew all the rules about recycling. Can you recycle plastic bags? Do you have to scrub out your containers? What about paper towels?

Every major curbside recycling program takes clean paper and cardboard, metal cans, and plastic jugs and bottles. Beyond that, things get complicated. But some general rules apply.

First, check your local requirements. Recycle by City has simple visual breakdowns for L.A., Chicago, Houston, Austin, Philadelphia, Flagstaff, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Otherwise, find your city’s sanitation department site. NYC and Phoenix have simple do/don’t guides.

Don’t Recycle:

  • Bubble-padded envelopes
  • Wax paper
  • Dirty napkins, tissues, toilet paper, or paper towels
  • Glass that’s not a bottle or jar
  • Photo paper: Usually not recyclable, but it depends on the brand.
  • Containers with a lot of food or liquid in them: Empty and rinse them, but don’t stress over it; they’re cleaned at the facility.

Do Recycle:

  • Pizza boxes: Unless they’re heavily soaked in oil and solid waste, these are fine. Just throw out the wax liner, and put the tiny plastic table in the plastics bin. When in doubt, rip off the greasy part and throw it out.
  • Paper with clear windows or staples

Recycle Somewhere Else:

  • Plastic bags: They get caught in the recycling machines, and workers have to shut them off and pull out the bags. Most cities only allow “rigid plastics.” Instead, find a recycling center, store, or neighborhood program that accepts them. (There are exceptions! L.A. allows clean bags and other soft plastics.)
  • Clothing and textiles: Look up drop-off options.
  • Motor oil: Your city might require you to put it on the curb separately from all other trash.
  • Batteries and electronics: Take them to a donation center or a store like Best Buy. If you throw out your batteries, at least tape down the terminals to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Appliances: Best Buy accepts many of these too.

Check Your Local Rules:

Including rules from the five biggest U.S. cities as examples.

  • Glass: Houston only takes glass at drop-off centers.
  • Plastics: NYC and L.A. allow all rigid plastics; Chicago only allows bottles. Houston has more complicated rules.
  • Metals: LA takes household metal; Chicago and Houston don’t. NYC, L.A., and Chicago take aluminum foil; Houston and Phoenix don’t address it online.
  • Paper: No dark paper in Houston.
  • Paper cups, If they’re clean and empty, are allowed in NYC, but not L.A., Houston, or Chicago.
  • Hardcover books: Fine in L.A., but not NYC, Chicago, or Houston. Phoenix doesn’t even take paperbacks.
  • Styrofoam: LA takes it; Chicago, Houston, and NYC don’t.
  • Shredded paper: In Chicago and Houston, you’ll need to find a drop-off center.
  • Milk cartons: In NYC, these go with other containers, not paper.
  • Trash bags: NYC takes container recycling in trash bags; Chicago doesn’t.
  • Separation: L.A., Houston, Phoenix, and Chicago take all residential recycling in one bin. NYC separates paper from other recyclables.
  • Commercial recycling: This is often handled differently than residential recycling, so it might come with its own rules. Ask your office manager or building manager.

Source: Lifehacker.com

iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 – All Things You Need to Know

The latest batch of dummy “iPhone 8” and “iPhone 7 Plus” series phones have apparently made their way out of China, as a pair of videos on Wednesday offer hands-on looks at what appears to be identical device mockups.

In a first video, YouTube creator Danny Winget got his hands on what he claims to be an “iPhone 7s Plus” prototype (dummy phone), though the part is almost assuredly a mockup based on leaked CAD renderings and rumors.

Like alleged “iPhone 7s” and “7s Plus” dummy units photographed earlier today, the mockups in Winget’s video are emblazoned with “Conformité Européenne” (CE) and battery disposal iconography. Apple digitized regulatory markings with iPhone 7 in the U.S. and moved the icons to the “About” section in Settings, leaving only the “iPhone” logo above small text reading “Designed in California Assembled in China” and information regarding model number, FCC identifier and IC code. International models incorporate regulatory marks, but are much longer than simply “CE.”

While the dummy unit is probably a knock-off, its design could be based on legitimate schematics. Apple suppliers in China have been known to leak sensitive data, including final design molds, documents and internal components.

As seen below, the “iPhone 7s Plus” dummy unit is expectedly similar to current iPhone 7 Plus hardware in terms of component positioning, bezel design and dimensions. The only obvious difference is a glass back, which appears to sport thinner antenna lines than existing iPhone models. Apple is anticipated to employ a glass chassis in all 2017 iPhone models to facilitate wireless charging.

Winget goes on to compare the “7s Plus” against a supposed “iPhone 8” unit, illustrating the extreme deviation in display size and obvious aesthetic differences. While the “7s Plus” model boasts Apple’s normal thick “chin” and “forehead” bezels, the “iPhone 8” bezels are almost nonexistent.

Notably, Winget’s “iPhone 8” sports white bezels, contradicting recent reports that Apple intends to limitfront face color options to black when the device launches. Whether the company plans to release a version with white bezels, as is available on certain iPhone configurations, is unclear.

A second video from Techtastic, also posted today, reveals what appears to be an “iPhone 8” chassis and front screen assembly. Both the chassis and front face are done in black, consistent with recent rumors.

Not much can be gleaned from the video, but it does give a sense of what the device might look like in a user’s hand.

Closer inspection of Winget’s mockup and the Techtastic unit shows both dummy models are identical to parts featured in today’s image from leaker Sonny Dickson. Further, a separate “leak” on Wednesday featured a gold copper colored “iPhone 8” showing the same “CE” and battery disposal indicia. Considering the timing and apparently identical markings, each of the components seen today seem to originate from a single source.

Apple is expected to debut “iPhone 8” alongside incremental changes to the iPhone 7 series at a special event in September. The new flagship smartphone is thought to include new and exotic technologies never before seen in Apple’s product line. A number of these features, including facial recognition, 3D-sensing cameras, a home button-less display, high-definition video recording, “SmartCam” photo and video capture, and more, have been all but confirmed by Apple’s inadvertent release of HomePod firmware late last month.

Source: Appleinsider.com

Rendering Now Used by Law Enforcement to Solve Plane Crash Investigation

FARO Laser Scanner Render

Investigators will be able to view the entire scene of a recent fatal plane crash on Interstate 15 in extreme detail from any angle they want because of the high-tech equipment used to document the scene.

The FARO X330 uses lasers and a camera to construct any scene around it, resulting in a high-definition 3D map.

Sgt. Randall Akers, the accident investigation program manager for the Utah Highway Patrol, said the department bought seven of the scanners in 2014 and each cost about $40,000.

Akers said the machine takes multiple scans to document a typical crime scene and each scan takes between 4 and 12 minutes.

“Like any laser measurement device it shoots out a beam and gets a return to measure distance,” he said. “It does it in 360 degrees — in a circle.”

Akers said the scanner is particularly useful when it comes to plane crashes because law enforcement responding to the scene aren’t experts in that field. Using the FARO, they can get a true to life 3D rendering of everything — from cars on the side of the road to miniature pieces of debris — and send it off to qualified investigators.

The FARO is about the size of an XBox console and is weather resistant. The data it collects is analyzed with a program called SCENE.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said the machines have been used at major crashes and some crime scenes, and Akers estimated they’re in use about once a week.

Akers said they use the FARO even at small crime scenes because, for instance, sometimes just using a single laser point to measure where a gun sits in a crime scene leaves crucial evidence behind.

“What if there happened to be some element to the handgun that didn’t get captured in a picture or something else?” he said. “Whatever that was, it’s gone.”

Akers said he was initially hoping the FARO would speed up crime scene analysis times to — in the case of the plane crash — speed up road opening times. He said that hasn’t turned out to be the case because of the multiple scans required and time it takes to set up scene markers for easier analysis, but they’re still incredibly useful.

The FARO scanner has other applications aside from accident reconstruction which includes industrial inspections, reverse engineering, and robot calibration, according to the FARO website.

Royce said the FARO renderings will be used by the highway patrol and the State Bureau of Investigation and handed off to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board if requested.

Source: standard.net

African Coffee On The Rise Thanks To Specialty Coffee

african coffees

Preaching the gospel of specialty coffee can often feel like an uphill climb. You can have a beautiful floral Yirgacheffe or a Kenya that just tastes like pomegranate juice that just don’t seem to move because customers favor the comfort and familiarity of a more straightforward Central American profile. It can be frustrating to say the least. But have heart, SCW (specialty coffee warrior), a new article in Grub Street states that thanks to third-wave coffee shops, demand for African coffees is increasing and it is a boon for farmers.

The 70s were the last hay day for coffees coming from Africa; Ethiopia, Uganda, Angola, and the Ivory Coast were all top-ten countries in terms of coffee production. But in the last 40 years, numbers have dropped pretty significantly. As a continent, Africa’s total coffee exports have dropped by 25%, and only Ethiopia and Uganda remain the in top ten.

But the tide is turning. Since 2003, Africa’s global coffee yearly coffee exports have increased by 35 millions bags, from 95 million to 130 million. Leading the charge in this growth is the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, but the article notes that Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, and the Congo are also seeing increases in demand. This increase is crucial, as a Bloomberg article notes that coffee farming in Africa is facing a handful of threats: young would-be farmers are pursuing more profitable careers (the average age of a coffee farmer in Africa is 60), some farms are replacing coffee with subsistence crops, and even more still are choosing to sell their land entirely.

Nonetheless, demand for African coffees is trending upward, and that is thanks in no small part to the growing popularity of specialty coffee. So keep up the good work. Though it may not always seem like it, people are coming around.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

An earlier version of this article stated African coffee exports had reached 130 million bags per year. This statistic refers to all global coffee exports. 

Source: Sprudge.com