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Windows Mixed Reality headsets

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Made by Microsoft’s PC maker partners, the designs for the new headsets were shown at IFA Berlin, one of the world’s biggest consumer technology trade shows. Prices start at $299 for the headsets, but expect to pay an additional $100 to get them bundled with motion controllers. Those Windows mixed reality headsets Microsoft teased nearly a year ago are now shipping with the rollout of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.  Although the pricing was initially more affordable than competitors, once the Windows Mixed Reality headsets are bundled with controllers they cost the same or more than the current $399 Oculus Rift bundle. They are still cheaper than HTC Vive, and they don’t require a super-powerful PC to run them.

Also, unlike Oculus and Vive, WMR headsets use a pair of front-mounted cameras and a set of built-in sensors to map your physical position. Called inside-out tracking, the design allows for six-degrees-of-freedom movement tracking without the need to buy external sensors and set them up in a dedicated space. They’re made to be plug-and-play for the most part, too, so you can be up and running in minutes just about anywhere. However, since they’re all designed to meet Microsoft’s specific requirements, there aren’t huge differences between the headsets. The first five headsets announced have the same basic set of specs:

  • Two high-resolution 1,440×1,440-pixel LCDs with up to 90Hz native refresh rate
  • Front-hinged display for quickly lifting the viewer up and out of the way
  • Built-in 3.5mm jack for audio and microphone support
  • Single cable with HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 for video and data
  • 4-meter (13.1-ft.) cable

Samsung’s Odyssey headset offers a slight variation to the formula by using 1,440×1,600-pixel AMOLED displays and skipping the flip-up design. Otherwise, at least for this first batch, the differences seem to come down to overall design. And even those don’t vary too much. Lenovo’s entry into the headset market is perhaps the most boardroom-ready in appearance. The Explorer follows the same design and feature sets as the others. One nice little extra, though, is that Lenovo will have a set of its own apps available for use with the headset through its own entertainment hub. The Lenovo Explorer is available now for $399 with a set of motion controllers.

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Wi-Fi security flaw puts wireless devices at risk of hijack

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Researchers have discovered a flaw in the security protocol that’s a fixture in almost every modern Wi-Fi device, including computers, phones and routers. A weakness in the WPA2 protocol, meant to protect both wireless networks and devices, was discovered by computer security academic Mathy Vanhoef, and is being nicknamed “KRACK,” short for Key Reinstallation Attack. The bug ultimately could allow hackers to eavesdrop on network traffic — bad news for anyone sending sensitive or private information over a Wi-Fi connection. These days, that’s pretty much all of us, although this could hit businesses using wireless point-of-sale machines particularly hard. You use Wi-Fi every day you may even be on it right this very moment and that means the device you’re using is at serious risk of being hijacked.

In May and June, ransomware attacks locked up computers around the world, demanding payment from people and companies in return for renewed access to vital information and systems. More recently came the hack at Equifax, which compromised the person details of 145 million Americans, and the latest shoe to drop in the matter of Yahoo’s massive hack, which hit a breathtaking 3 billion accounts. And it comes on top of a seemingly endless string of bad news in general about security vulnerabilities, whether still in a potential state or actually exploited by hackers.

In the case of KRACK, hackers would have to be within physical range of a vulnerable device to take advantage of the flaw, but if they’re in the right spot, they could use it to decrypt network traffic, hijack connections and inject content into the traffic stream. To do so would involve effectively impersonating a user who had already been granted access to the network so as to exploit a weakness in the secure four-way handshake that acts as its gatekeeper.

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4 Great things about IPHONE X Face Scanner

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Convenience is perhaps the stickiest sticking point of all: Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader is already able to quickly and easily unlock the phone. But the iPhone X strips away Touch ID and leaves you completely reliant on Face ID. Apple thinks you won’t miss scanning your finger one bit. Apple’s new method for unlocking the iPhone X, called Face ID, certainly raised some eyebrows. Is it secure? Is it necessary? And is really going to be as convenient as unlocking the phone with your fingerprint? Could it even be better? I worry that Face ID won’t be as accurate, speedy or dependable as Touch ID. I worry that with just a passcode PIN as your backup, any time Face ID fails is a time you’re punching in that PIN.

Of course, we’ll give Face ID a fair shake when the iPhone X comes out it might convince us that face scanning is the best unlocking measure since, well, since Touch ID. And when we do finally go eye-to-eye with Face ID, here are the four things that’ll convince us Apple made the right choice.

Face ID will have to be fast and accurate – Iris scanning is almost instantaneous when it works the first time, but even if Face ID is just as fast to unlock, I’m betting that the whole unless process isn’t. After all, with a fingerprint reader, you’re just pressing down on a device that’s already in your hand. On top of that, the second generation of Touch ID on the iPhone 6S and above is so fast, you hardly know it’s there. Face ID will have its work cut out for it.

Face ID’s accessibility features must work well – Face ID needs your eyeballs looking at the array. So what about blind people, and those wearing sunglasses and eyepatches? Apple’s thought of this. Face ID will work with some sunglasses, depending on the material. You can also disable the requirement that the iPhone X needs to see your attentive eyeballs, in the accessibility options. Will disabling Face ID make the iPhone X more susceptible to break-ins? We don’t know, but it’s a necessary concession for Apple to make.

Face ID must be quick to trigger and easy on the arms – If you usually keep your iPhone next to you on a table or desk, you already know how quickly you can unlock it with your thumb, even when it’s flat on its back. And with a quick thumb-press as you’re sweeping it out of your pocket or purse, it’ll be ready to go by the time you’re ready to read the screen. Iris scanning takes longer, at least on the other phones I’ve tested. Unless you’re leaning over the target, you’ll need to lift the phone up to your face and bring it back down again before you’re ready to go.

Apple Pay will have to be seamless – Using mobile payments gets a whole lot less convenient when you have to fuss with setting up the app. Face ID will only win over Touch ID fans if Apple Pay is just as quick and easy to use as it is on an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8. If it takes too long, if it isn’t reliably accurate, or if you wind up having to enter your backup PIN again and again, using your credit card might wind up being faster.

Face ID certainly seems just as secure, if not more so, than Touch ID. As for the speed and convenience, until we can test for ourselves, we just have to hope. Couldn’t Apple have given buyers more options by putting Touch ID on the back like so many Android phones? And that’s one of Face ID’s other challenges: getting home button die-hards to love the new feature that exists at the expense of another. The only cure for that is time.

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The Cloud! What is it? – The Cloud Explained

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

The new technical term which is spreading all over the world like wild fire is the “cloud”.  Join IT GURUS OF ATLANTA, a Microsoft Partner on this journey to show how we arrived at the Cloud, its importance, and why companies are running to get their data on the cloud.  So, let’s start from the top, to figure what people think of when hearing the words “The Cloud”.  When at first hearing the term, the typical mind may go to the thoughts of cloud in the sky and a more technical mind would think virtual. Well to be honest, both answers are not too far from each other. The cloud in more technical terms is the elimination of physical equipment such as servers which are typically used on-premise such as in server rooms which a lot of companies and government agencies house their pertinent data. All traffic goes from the user, computer, over the internet or intranet, and then ends up being housed somewhere. From the websites that we all visit such as Google, Yahoo, CNN, or our favorite channels such as HBO, Showtime, and more are located on servers. These huge data storage devices can be further divvied up into other storage devices such as SAN (Storage Area Network) or NAS (Network Attached Storage). All data from the internet, a person’s computer is all stored somewhere and these serves store the data from the devices.

Another thought that people have is, what happens to the data that is stored on my computer? Well the storage on your computer is very limited. This means that even the larger computer storage that can be installed on laptop or desktop such as 1TB (1 terabyte) or 3TB (3 terabytes) of data is still not enough to house all the data that a company or a user may have. This causes for companies to seek out other means of storage. Years, ago companies went to portable storage devices such as disks, CDs, and portable storage devices. Then the industry realized that trusting users to handle the data and its security is where the trust line and ability for accidents gets blurred. A company and individual’s life’s work can be housed in the data that is being tallied by users. That’s where servers came into a big relief. Servers could be stored locally at the company’s designated location where the user data is uploaded and stored. The industry saw the benefit and it wasn’t long before the servers began to run redundancy which means that the servers had a back, and the backup had a backup. This increases the availability of the data in case of natural or unnatural disasters and data breaches. The data can be utilized even if whole data centers housing thousands of servers go down.  The data is immediately available by its counterpart data centers which already backed up the latest data upload. The user on the other end does not experience more than a second or millisecond in lag time between the data centers and accessing the needed data.

Data centers have become the wave of the future by housing servers, NAS, and SANs which have unprecedented amounts of storage. Unfortunately, due to the cost of owning a data center, companies only kept redundant systems at a data center and kept most of their key systems on premise. These key systems involved constant watch of a human eye to ensure high availability and engineers to do maintenance on the servers. Buying a server, maintaining the server, which includes applying the latest security patches, load balancing, error resolution, and hardware updating is a constant cost and struggle for companies to maintain. However, with this cost of doing business, most companies have accepted the cost to maintain data. Data is the heartbeat of any company, organization, or government agency. As everything that businesses and individuals do today become increasingly digital is where the data and the storage of this data becomes increasingly needed.

 

One of the aspects of technology which has taken a huge increase over the years is the ability to go virtual. Companies such as VMWare came out with VMWare, Microsoft with Hyper-V, and Citrix with XenServer. What were these products? Well to be frank, this is another link in the chain for the “Cloud”. These companies came up with virtual servers. These storage and computing devices could be housed on a physical server. This means that one server with enough memory, storage, and processing power could house 2-15 or more servers virtually. So many say, how is that done? Well from a high level, what Microsoft, Citrix, and VMWare did was allow servers to be created from each processor and core on a physical server and virtually partition the space on the physical server to be dedicated to each virtual server. In layman’s terms this means if a server has 4 processors, 16 gigs of RAM (Random Access Memory), and 120 Gigs of physical memory, then the virtual software could dedicate physical attributes to one or many more virtual servers.  An example of this is a virtual server using 1 processor, 2 gigs or ram, and 20 gigs of physical space for the predefined server to a spin up virtual server. This means that the physical server could house multiple virtual servers based on its physical attributes.

This breakthrough quickly became a trend for top companies to follow.  Going virtual saved tons of money on the front end for physical servers and saved money on the back end by eliminating teams of engineers to now only a few engineers that maintain the smaller number of physical servers. In the event of cutting down engineers that maintain and monitor physical servers, the industry changing also increased the need for professionals to learn about virtual technology with architecture, design, and support.  Information Technology is an ever changing and developing industry in which professionals constantly must learn because there are constant updates and inventions that quickly make every day utilized technology obsolete. To stay up-to-date and technologically advanced, professionals must constantly study and learn better ways of utilizing technology to be expert providers.

Even though virtual technology is utilizing physical equipment to maximize and expound servers, it has graduated into virtual desktops. Virtual desktops allow users to go from one computer to another computer and have access to all their data and desktop as if they never left it. They simply need to user their secure logon ID to access their data on a completely different computer. All of this is stemmed from virtual technology. Now with all these advancements in virtual technology from virtual servers to virtual desktops, where is the next unconquered avenue for virtual technology to go? Well this is where the “Cloud” has come into play. The “Cloud” is data centers which we referred to earlier in this article. The” Cloud” is where companies can now eliminate their on-premise servers and have all their data stored at data centers. The businesses don’t own the data centers, nor do they own the servers, but they pay a price to companies that do own the data centers and the physical servers. One of the dominant companies which has taken advantage of the move to the “Cloud” is Microsoft.

Microsoft has well over 42 different data centers around the world and close to a million physical servers as they expand their cloud grasp on the world. Microsoft Office 365 is their flag ship which started by allowing businesses and government agencies to get rid of their physical exchange servers, cut down on the need to keep exchange architects, and allow users to access their mail data from anywhere and on any device securely. This quickly began a wave of movement of companies rapidly signing up for Office 365. The next aspect of their “Cloud” came Azure which allows the use and accessibility of Active Directory in virtually.  The other aspects of the Microsoft Cloud came InTune for MDM (Mobile Device Management), and RMS (Rights Management Suite). It wasn’t long before Microsoft decided to bundle all these products together under EMS (Enterprise Mobility Suite). This comprehensive product currently encompasses the largest products that are completely virtual saving companies millions and billions of dollars while drastically increasing productivity. This is an easy decision which is why government agencies have been signing up by the boatload for the Microsoft Government Cloud space. The stigma of security concerns over the crowd is gradually weaning away as Microsoft has shown that their “Cloud” product not only complies with security requirements of companies and government organizations, but it surpasses it.  Microsoft allows for users to utilize both on-premise and “Cloud” technology in hybrid modes that allow companies and agencies to still utilize their current equipment while still having the ability to access their data via the Microsoft Cloud.

It’s clear the “Cloud” is not going anywhere anytime soon, but in fact is the platform for even greater advancements in virtual technology to come. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is a trusted Microsoft Partner which is certified to service clients wishing to advance to the Microsoft Cloud space. We are also paired with most major manufacturers as a reseller to provide computer hardware solutions to companies, government agencies, and data centers. We pride ourselves as a low cost, thoroughly experienced, certified, and a quantifiable company.  IT GURUS OF ATLANTA delivers services and products that exceed the current standards while proving to be a one-stop IT service and hardware provider.

We hope you enjoyed our journey in learning about the “Cloud”, where it is headed, where it is currently, and how to get the most out of this growing technology.

 

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Is FACEBOOK spying on US?

Monday, October 9th, 2017

The belief that Facebook is actively listening to people through their phones has become a full-on phenomenon. Facebook has, of course, denied it does this. That has done little to dampen the ongoing paranoia around the theory. “It listens to key words. If you say a word enough times, the algorithm catches those words and it sets off targeted ads. Most people using Facebook understand that the social network is a giant data-collecting machine. Some users put Facebook’s monstrous size and unknown goals out of mind, but others find it hard to dismiss. How much does Facebook know about them? What’s Facebook using that information for? And how much of these concerns are paranoia, and how much is real?

In many ways, of course Facebook is spying on you,” said Brandie Nonnecke, research and development manager at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. “It’s not doing it for malicious reasons. It’s trying to tailor content to you and advertisers.” There’s a reason Facebook gets a worse rap for this than, say, Google. With Google, it’s just ads. With Facebook, it’s personal. The ads and creepy suggested friends and prompts to celebrate holidays that may or may not apply all add up to something more unsettling. Barring leaving Facebook and Instagram a choice that would be untenable or extreme for many even privacy-aware users don’t feel like there’s much they can do about it.

Facebook’s just-creepy-enough ads and suggestions are perfectly built to cater to the psychological tendencies we already have. It’s part of the reason why the idea of an all-knowing social network has such staying power even when aspects of Facebook’s reaclike the microphone theory Lama favors—have been debunked. “In their thinking about these kinds of online privacy issues, people rely on heuristics—mental shortcuts or little rules of thumb,” said Shyam Sundar, a professor at Penn State who studies the social and psychological effects of online communication.

All of this wouldn’t be that big an issue if we knew what Facebook was doing. But it’s still murky. Even with all the research explaining how humans interpret these kinds of coincidences, anything could be going on behind closed doors in Menlo Park. One reason people are so sensitive to potential intrusion from Facebook is that they have the sense that something is off. Since Facebook isn’t exactly forthcoming with details, users assume the worst. And they’re not necessarily wrong.

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2018 Range Rover Sport P400e

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Offering 398 horsepower, 472 pound-feet of torque, and 31 miles of pure-electric range, the new PHEV will be called P400e. The model features a 296-hp version of the 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder found in the Evoque and various Jaguar models paired with an 114-hp electric motor. Land Rover says the SUV will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and run to a top speed of 137 mph. For 2018, the entire Range Rover Sport family benefits from a raft of updates, including styling and performance tweaks and perhaps most importantly, Land Rover’s new InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, but that’s not all the big news for this Green Oval luxury bruiser. Land Rover has confirmed that the company’s first plug-in hybrid model will come to the Range Rover Sport family just in time for the 2019 model year.

The Sport interior’s biggest upgrade, though, is almost certain to be Touch Pro Duo, the same twin 10-inch screen infotainment system that I experienced in August in the new 2018 Range Rover Velar. It’ll take a lot more time with TPD to really sign off on its abilities, but it’s a very promising system. Inside, a redesigned cabin features slimmer seats, more storage space, and a new air ionization system. The cabin’s big new party trick? A gesture-controlled moonroof sunshade. That’s right, the blind will whir its way open or closed when you dismissively wave your hand.

Land Rover’s optional Td6 V6 diesel powertrain returns, again offering 254 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque, EPA highway fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon and a bladder-perforating 658 miles of range per tank. Most stateside Range Rover Sport models will be fitted with either Land Rover’s well-regarded 3.0-liter supercharged gas V6 (340 hp/332 pound-feet) or its 5.0-liter supercharged gas V8, the latter of which sees power nudge upward to 518 hp and peak torque set at 461 pound-feet.

Despite all the new equipment, Land Rover has held the line on pricing. A base 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE fitted with the gas V6 starts at the same $66,750 MSRP as its predecessor, with the Td6 diesel coming in at $2,000 more. Stepping up to the V8-powered HSE costs $82,050, and the ultra-lux Autobiography still rings in at $96,650. After driving the stunning new Velar in August, I wondered aloud why buyers might still consider the costlier Range Rover Sport, mainly because of its inferior infotainment tech.

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Spectacles – the beginning of Hardware for Snapchat

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

If you’re not into Snap’s Spectacles, don’t give up on the company’s creations just yet. There’ll be more to come from Snap on the hardware front, said co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel on Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles.

Spectacles, which are glasses embedded with a camera, flopped in sales in the second quarter at $5.4 million, compared to more than $8 million in sales in the first quarter. Those sales represented about 0.02 percent of Snap’s 143 million daily active users. But Spiegel said Spectacles “outsold our expectations. “Hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience, maybe in a decade. But if we believe that it’s going to be important in a decade, we don’t want to be starting a decade from now,” Spiegel said. “We took that first initial leap with Spectacles, and we’re excited to see where it goes from here.”

We’re just beginning to dabble in hardware, he added. Spiegel also announced an art collaboration with Jeff Koons, in which users can see Koons’ sculptures through new Snapchat Lenses. These virtual art exhibits are landing in parks and landmarks across the US, Canada, the UK, Paris, Australia and Brazil starting Tuesday, according to Snapchat. More locations will follow. Snapchat launched the Lenses feature, which adds real-time special effects and sounds to what’s normally seen through a camera, around two years ago. The feature has also been used with advertisers and brands like Bud Light, where a vendor appears and offers users a can of beer.

“Going public was really the right thing for the company, and certainly the right thing for the time,” he said. “We saw a tremendous benefit to transitioning our investor base from short-term venture investors to long-term investors.” Snap faces stark competition from Facebook and its photo sharing app, Instagram. In August, Snap said it had 173 million total users, while Instagram announced its Stories platform had 250 million daily users. Spiegel was careful in answering a question on how “obsessed” he is with Facebook from moderator Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of The Aspen Institute.

“What we found by focusing relentlessly on empowering creativity is that our customers tend to show us what’s next, our customers show us what they want,” Speigel said. “That’s how I think we’ve been able to deliver the future to so many of our customers.”

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NO Cable? No PROBLEMS – NFL Live streams Available

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

You don’t need a cable or satellite subscription, however, to enjoy live NFL action. Cord cutters can watch on the big five streaming services PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, DirectTV Now, Sling TV, and YouTube TV but channel lineups vary by service. For the first, Amazon Prime members will be able to stream games this year, while Verizon Wireless subscribers will again be able to stream games on their phones for free. And, depending on where you live, DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket can be streamed without a satellite dish. You can watch NFL games three nights a week and, of course, Sunday afternoons. Games are broadcast on CBS and Fox on Sunday afternoons, NBC on Sunday nights and ESPN on Monday nights. A Thursday night game is on the NFL Network each week, but five will be simulcast on CBS, followed by another five on NBC.

Non streaming option: Free over-the-air TV – Let’s start with the free option. If you live in an area with good reception, you can get football games for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV. In addition to the games on CBS, Fox and NBC, if your local team is playing on ESPN or NFL Network, that game will usually be simulcast on a local station, too. In other words, you should be able to watch your local team for free every week. You’ll also get to watch the other games on Sunday broadcast on CBS and Fox as well as the 10 Thursday night games that air on CBS and NBC.

PlayStation Vue – PlayStation Vue, Sony’s live TV streaming service, offers all the networks — ESPN, Fox, NBC, CBS and the NFL Network — that show NFL games, and you can add the NFL RedZone channel for $10 a month extra. (NFL RedZone is a channel that springs to life each fall and shows live coverage from around the league with the promise to show you every touchdown from every Sunday afternoon game. If you play fantasy football, NFL RedZone may become habit-forming.) The $45 Core plan is the cheapest option that includes the networks NFL fans need, and the $10-a-month Sports Pack will get you NFL RedZone.

Hulu with Live TV – Hulu with Live TV includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, which means you’ll get games on Sunday afternoon (CBS and Fox), Sunday night (NBC) and Monday night (ESPN). Hulu with Live TV costs $40 a month, and you should check to see which live channels Hulu offers in your area.

DirectTV Now – Direct TV Now includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN. Its basic, $35-a-month package will let you watch games on CBS and Fox on Sunday afternoon, the Thursday night games on CBS or NBC and Monday Night Football on ESPN. The usual caveat applies: Check the channel lineup in your area to make sure you can watch your local TV stations live.

Sling TV – Sling TV splits its live NFL options across its $20-a-month Blue plan and $25-a-month Orange plan, which forces NFL fans into a tricky decision or encourages them to spring for both at $40 a month (you get a $5 discount if you buy both). Here’s the deal: Sling Blue includes Thursday and Sunday games on Fox, NBC and the NFL Network. Sling Orange includes Monday night games on ESPN. And if you want to add the NFL RedZone, you’ll need Sling Blue. Blue — but not Orange — subscribers can add the Sport Extra package for $10 a month, which includes NFL RedZone. Sling TV does not offer CBS, which typically carries AFC games on Sunday afternoons.

Amazon Prime – In addition to free, two-day shipping, Amazon Prime members will get 11 NFL games this season. Last year, Twitter paid $10 million for the rights to stream 10 games on Thursday nights, and this year Amazon reportedly paid $50 million to stream 10 Thursday night games plus a Christmas Day game on Amazon Prime Video. Amazon will stream the Thursday games that will be broadcast by CBS and NBC. You can see Amazon Prime Video’s NFL schedule here.

YouTube TV – YouTube TV is the new streaming kid on the block. It’s currently available in dozens of major metro markets, with more being added all the time, but it includes CBS, Fox and NBC. If you live in one of its cities, you’ll be able to watch games on Sunday afternoon (CBS and Fox), Sunday night (NBC) and Thursday night (CBS and NBC). YouTube TV costs $35 a month.

Verizon Wireless – Verizon Wireless subscribers can stream the local broadcasts of Sunday afternoon games as well as national broadcasts on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights via the NFL Mobile app without any data charges. And a $1.99 in-app purchase will let you watch the NFL RedZone on the app.

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Fly your personal Drone

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Common flying drones is perhaps annoying, unsafe invaders of privateness, however what a few drone you possibly can climb into and fly to the grocery retailer? The appropriately named PassengerDrone firm guarantees simply that with its new two-seater manned plane. It flies with out its passengers having to do something past work together with a touchscreen. Manned check flights occurred in August, however that appears to be so far as the corporate has progressed. It didn’t but reply to additional inquiries on as goal worth, points round rules or an estimated launch date.

Regular flying drones might be annoying, unsafe invaders of privacy, but what about a drone you can climb into and fly to the grocery store? The appropriately named PassengerDrone company, based in Switzerland, promises just that with its new two-seater manned aircraft. It flies without its passengers having to do anything beyond interact with a touchscreen. From the press release: Slightly larger than a small car, the industry-leading PassengerDrone has the potential to change the traditional means of commuter transportation. Utilizing its easy-to-use touchscreen, passengers simply select their destination, sit back and relax, as the drone takes over, eliminating stressful commutes with the ability to travel up to 80 kph (50 mph).

And if you know your pitch from your yaw, there’s a manual mode too.

The drone uses 16 electric engines and is capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Another fun fact: Its internals are entirely fiber optics, without a single wire inside. Because future.

PassengerDrone may have some competitors: The EHang 184 drone taxi simply started testing in Dubai and has been cleared for US trials; researchers at MIT are engaged on wheeled drones as “flying automobiles”; and firms like Kitty Hawk (a venture of Google’s Larry Web page) and Daimler are additionally investing within the expertise.

Living in the flying future won’t be cheap, however. PassengerDrone says the craft is expected to cost between $150,000 and $200,000. Manned test flights took place in August, but a company spokesperson I contacted wouldn’t speculate on when it would come to market. Since the technology is mature, certification in various countries is the biggest obstacle. We hope by end of 2018 to have it approved in USA, Europe and few other major markets.

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First Electric SUV by MERCEDES

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Americans sure do love themselves some SUVs, so it makes sense that Mercedes-Benz’s first foray into the world of electric SUVs would be built in good ol’ ‘Merica. Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, will invest $1 billion in its Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant in order to prepare it for the German automaker’s first electric SUV, which should begin production in the early 2020s. Prior to that, it will also build a facility near the plant that will be responsible for putting together the battery systems that will underpin the electric utes. Mercedes claims this new plant will add approximately 600 jobs in the region.

When the electric SUV comes to market, it will do so under Mercedes’ EQ subbrand. It will be the fourth such subbrand in Mercedes’ portfolio: Mercedes-Benz builds your traditional luxury cars, Mercedes-AMG handles performance vehicles and Mercedes-Maybach is responsible for building ultraposh land yachts. “With production locations for EVs and batteries in Europe, China and, now, the US, our global network is ready for the era of electric vehicles,” said Markus Schäfer, the Mercedes-Benz board member for production and supply chain, in a statement. “Thanks to our plant modernization in Tuscaloosa, we will be able to quickly ramp up US production of EQ models, while also being more flexible to our customers’ demands.”

Rumor has it that the first electric SUV from Mercedes-EQ will be sized similarly to the GLC-Class crossover currently in production. It’s unclear just how much it will take from the Generation EQ concept that got this whole thing started in 2016. With an electric motor at each axle, the Generation EQ put out about 400 horsepower and more than 500 pound-feet of torque. If it were to come to production, those numbers would likely be a bit lower in order to maximize range, which should hopefully be north of 250 miles. The aforementioned electric SUV will be the first of an onslaught of electrified vehicles. Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce dozens of partial or fully electric vehicles over the next decade.

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