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Robotics

MIT's Ori Robotic Modular Furniture Is Designed To Make Small Places Feel More Roomy (archpaper.com) 67

An anonymous reader writes: MIT's Media Lab has produced Ori, a range of robotic, modular furniture designed to make small places feel more roomy. The Architect's Newspaper reports: "With its name coming from the Japanese word 'origami,' the furniture system combines robotics, architecture, and design to let interiors double-up as bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, and offices. Teaming up with Swiss product designer Yves Behar, founder and CEO of Ori and research scientist at MIT Hasier Larrea has his eyes set on fundamentally altering the 'experience and economics of the urban built environment.' Speaking in a press release, Larrea added that 'Ori's systems make possible the effortless and magical transformation of interior spaces, providing the totally new experience of having our interior space intelligently conform to our activities, rather than our activities being forced to conform to our interior space.' A movable mainframe, containing a variety of concealable furniture and storage, is the core concept in Ori's modular and mechatronic furniture. Using the wall mounted control panel, the module can move across the floor and deploy different pieces of furniture. This can all be done remotely through the Ori app as well." Ori is not on the market yet, but inquiries can be made via Ori's website.
Data Storage

Researchers Develop Atomic-Scale Hard Drive That Writes Information Atom By Atom (techcrunch.com) 68

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Researchers in the Netherlands have created a microscopic storage system that encodes every bit with a single atom -- allowing them to fit a kilobyte in a space under 100 nanometers across. That translates to a storage density of about 500 terabits per square inch. For comparison, those 4-terabyte hard drives you can buy today are about 1 terabit per square inch. That's because, unlike this new system, they use hundreds or thousands of atoms to store a single bit. "Every bit consists of two positions on a surface of copper atoms, and one chlorine atom that we can slide back and forth between these two positions," explained Sander Otte, lead scientist at Delft University of Technology, in a news release. Because chlorine on copper forms into a perfectly square grid, it's easy (relatively, anyway) to position and read them. If the chlorine atom is up top, that's a 1; if it's at the bottom, that's a 0. Put 8 chlorine atoms in a row and they form a byte. The data the researchers chose to demonstrate this was a fragment of a Feynman lecture, "There's plenty of room at the bottom" (PDF) -- fittingly, about storing data at extremely small scales. (You can see a high-resolution image of the array here.) The chlorine-copper array is only stable in a clean vacuum and at 77 kelvin -- about the temperature of liquid nitrogen. Anything past that and heat will disrupt the organization of the atoms. The research was published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft's New Xbox One S Will Go On Sale On August 2 -- Will You Buy One? (betanews.com) 107

Microsoft announced on Monday that its new Xbox One S console will go on sale on August 2. To recall, the Xbox One S is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One (also the power supply packed in the console itself), and has the processing muscle to stream video in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. BetaNews reports: August 2 is the big date which also sees the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The Xbox One S also features up to 2TB of storage. In all, three versions of the console are available. It's the 2TB model that's grabbing the headlines and the attention of keen gamers, and this model will launch in "limited numbers" priced at $399. The console will launch in Australia, Canada, UK and United States among several other regions. For anyone looking for a slightly cheaper option, the 1TB model will cost $349, while $299 will get you a 500GB version. If you want to add to the single Xbox Wireless Controller included as standard, this will set you back a further $59.99.Are you planning to purchase one of these?
Businesses

Bird-Shaped Drone Symbolizes New Forms Of Covert Surveillance To Come (mirror.co.uk) 95

One security writer in Somali recently discovered a downed metal drone that had been carefully disguised as a bird, a reminder that drones will bring powerful new forms of surveillance. Slashdot reader Stephen Sellner also shares an article by the CEO of one unmanned systems company who's predicting that the commercial drone industry will create more than 100,000 new jobs and generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy, and suggesting "security of industrial areas (shipyard, storage facility, etc.) can now be augmented by drones to provide a quick eye in the sky."

But it may be inevitable that drones will be used in a variety of unexpected ways. Airbus is also testing the use of drones for quality inspections on their commercial aircraft. In Iowa, a drone helped lead first-responders to a man suffering from a heart attack. And the U.S. wildlife service is planning to drop peanut-butter pellets onto northeastern Montana to deliver vaccines to prairie dogs -- so that they can then in turn be eaten by Montana's population of endangered black-footed ferrets. Any predictions about drone news we'll be seeing in the future?
Data Storage

Encrypted DNA Storage Investigated by DOE Researchers (darkreading.com) 42

Biological engineers at a Department of Energy lab "are experimenting with encrypted DNA storage for archival applications." Slashdot reader ancientribe shares an article from Dark Reading: Using this method, the researchers could theoretically store 2.2 petabytes of information in one gram of DNA. That's 200 times the printed material at the Library of Congress... Instead of needing a 15,000 square-foot building to store 35,000 boxes of inactive records and archival documents, Sandia National Laboratories can potentially store information on much less paper, in powder form, in test tubes or petri dishes, or even as a bacterial cell... "Hard drives fail and very often the data can't be recovered," explains Bachand. "With DNA, it's possible to recover strands that are 10,000 to 20,000 years old... even if someone sneezes and the powder is lost, it's possible to recover all the information by just recovering one DNA molecule."
Open Source

A Smaller Version of Raspberry Pi 3 Is Coming Soon (pcworld.com) 89

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A smaller version of the popular Raspberry Pi 3 will go on sale in a few months. Raspberry Pi is developing a new version of its Compute Module, a single-board computer that plugs into specific on-board memory slots. The new Pi will be more like a mini-computer inside a computer, and it won't come with a power supply. The Compute Module will have similar circuitry to that of Raspberry Pi 3, a wildly successful computer that can be a PC replacement. But it will be smaller, with the memory, CPU, and storage embedded tightly on a board. While the Compute Module will have a 64-bit ARM processor like the Pi 3, it won't have Wi-Fi, Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi, said in an interview with IDG News Service. The Compute Module could ship as soon as this quarter, Upton said. It will be priced similar to its predecessor, the 2-year-old Compute Module, available from reseller RS Components for about $24. The older Compute Module is based on the original Raspberry Pi. Like Raspberry Pi 3, the new Compute Module will work with Linux and Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core, Upton said. A Compute Module Development Kit, in which the Compute Module can be slotted for testing, may also be sold. The Development Kit could have multiple connectivity and port options, much like the Raspberry Pi 3. Last month, the biggest manufacturer of the Raspberry Pi, Premier Farnell, was acquired by Swiss industrial component supplier Daetwyler Holding AG for roughly $871 million.
Microsoft

Microsoft To Begin Reducing Your Free OneDrive Cloud Storage Starting Today (betanews.com) 212

For those of you who forgot -- or didn't bother -- to keep the 15GB worth of OneDrive storage, starting today you will see a big change in your account. On Thursday, Microsoft will begin shrinking your 15GB OneDrive free storage to 5GB, and also cancel the 15GB storage it gave you as part of camera roll backup bonus. For its part, Microsoft did warn about the changes to people a couple of times over the past few months. It all started when Microsoft gave Office 365 subscribers unlimited OneDrive storage space. Many people abused this, uploading over 75TB worth of movies and other files in some cases. BetaNews reports: If you log into your OneDrive account and find that you still have the full storage quota available, don't be lulled into a false sense of security. The cuts are actually being spread out between July 13 and July 27. Unless you opted out of the change, you're out of luck.
Data Storage

UW, Microsoft Successfully Encoded 200MB of Data Onto Synthetic DNA Molecules (seattletimes.com) 46

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Seattle Times: Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington said Thursday that they had successfully encoded about 200 megabytes of data onto synthetic DNA molecules. The information included more than 100 books, translations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a high-definition music video from the band OK Go. Previously, the record was 22 megabytes encoded and decoded on DNA, said the researchers. Microsoft's lead researcher on the project, Karin Strauss, said DNA storage of the type demonstrated in the UW lab could, theoretically, store an exabyte (one billion gigabytes) of data in about one cubic inch of DNA material. "Our goal is really to build systems to show that it is possible," she said. DNA is also very durable. If stored in the right conditions, data encoded on DNA could be readable for thousands of years, compared to typical hard disks or flash drives that can fail in a few years.
Data Storage

Samsung Unveils World's First UFS Storage Cards, Could Replace MicroSD (pcworld.com) 221

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung has unveiled the world's first UFS card that could one day replace microSD cards in devices. The UFS card is based on the Universal Flash Storage 1.0 Card Extension standard and will be available in capacities from 32GB to 256GB. With a UFS card, users will be able to read 5GB of data, or a full resolution movie file, in 10 seconds, Samsung claims. For comparison, a UHS-1 microSD card would take 50 seconds to do the same. UFS cards will be able to fit into a wide range of devices like smartphones, tablets, cameras, and drones, but the devices will need a specific UFS card slot, which could take some time. Samsung claims the 256GB UFS card has a sequential read speed of 530MBps. The random read speed is 20 times faster than a microSD card. The sequential write speed is about 170MBps, which Samsung estimates is two times faster than microSD cards. The random write speed is 350 times faster than microSD, Samsung claims. The Universal Flash Storage 1.0 Card Extension standard is intended to replace the eMMC standard, which is used in low-cost laptops and Chromebooks. Samsung didn't disclose pricing or availability for the UFS storage cards. It's worth noting that Toshiba does also make UFS storage cards, but they have yet to release any based on the UFS 1.0 Card Extension standard.
Iphone

iPhone 7 To Start at 32GB Storage, Says WSJ (time.com) 235

An anonymous reader writes: It appears Apple has finally decided to do something about the not-so-enough 16GB storage on its base iPhone model. According to a report on WSJ, the Cupertino-based company's next smartphone -- expected to be named iPhone 7 will have 32GB internal storage on the base model.For years, Apple has offered a 16GB iPhone version for those who were on a budget or just didn't necessarily need too much storage. But as we moved forward -- the iPhone got better cameras and improved video recording capability and apps became more sophisticated and ate more storage -- we really reached a point where 16GB wasn't enough for most people. In many cases, people were unable to update their iPhone to the latest version of iOS because there wasn't enough storage left on the device. It's a welcome move, and something millions of people will appreciate.
Australia

The Fight To Save the Australian Digital Archive Trove (abc.net.au) 87

Slashdot reader sandbagger writes: A digital archive and research tool developed by the Australian National Archives may be the victim of upcoming budget cuts. Used by an estimated 70,000 users per day, the system may be eliminated thanks to a $20 Million (AUD) budget cut to the agency's budget. Since its 2009 launch, Trove has grown to house four million digitised items, including books, images, music, historic newspapers and maps. Critics of the cuts say that such systems should be considered national infrastructure because there's literally no replacement service.
Government

American Cities Are Installing DHS-Funded Audio Surveillance (csoonline.com) 160

"Audio surveillance is increasingly being used on parts of urban mass transit systems," reports the Christian Science Monitor. Slashdot reader itwbennett writes "It was first reported in April that New Jersey had been using audio surveillance on some of its light rail lines, raising questions of privacy. This week, New Jersey Transit ended the program following revelations that the agency 'didn't have policies governing storage and who had access to data.'" From the article: New Jersey isn't the only state where you now have even more reason to want to ride in the quiet car. The Baltimore Sun reported in March that the Maryland Transit Administration has used audio recording on some of its mass transit vehicles since 2012. It is now used on 65 percent of buses, and 82 percent of subway trains have audio recording capability, but don't use it yet, according to the Sun. And cities in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada, Oregon and California have either installed systems or moved to procure them, in many cases with funding from the federal Department of Homeland Security.
Cloud

Microsoft Will Be Largest Infrastructure As A Service Vendor By 2019, Says Morgan Stanley Survey (geekwire.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes from a report via GeekWire: According to Morgan Stanley's 2016 CIO Survey of 100 CIOs (75 CIOs based in the U.S., and 25 based in Europe), Microsoft's Azure will overtake Amazon Web Services (AWS) by 2019 to become the largest Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The survey finds that roughly 31 percent of the CIOs will be using Azure for IaaS, compared to roughly 30 percent using AWS. Today, roughly 21 percent are using AWS and 12 percent are using Azure. According to the survey, Azure is already leading AWS in PaaS, used by about 18 percent of the respondents, versus AWS's 16 percent. Azure's lead will grow slightly by 2019, growing 9.8 percent versus 6.4 percent. Nearly 30 percent of all applications will be migrated to the public cloud by the end of 2017, up from 14 percent today, the survey said. On-premises apps will decline to 58 percent, from 71 percent today. Predictably, hardware vendors, including conventional and flash storage makers, will continue to suffer as their market is eaten by the cloud. Hardware spending growth is down this year to 3.2 percent, from 3.4 percent last year. Microsoft recently announced it will be entering the legal marijuana industry. It will partner with Los Angeles-based startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of marijuana, with Microsoft powering the software through its Azure cloud computing service.
Software

Slashdot Asks: What's Your Preferred Note-Taking App? 286

Earlier this week, popular note-taking app Evernote announced major changes to its service. The company announced that free users on the app will now only be able to sync across two devices. The company also raised the prices of its paid tiers by 40%. This move, as you can imagine, has resulted in Evernote facing a backlash from many of its users. To give some perspective, Evernote paid plans ($36/ $70 a year) now costs as much as Office 365's $70 Personal yearly plan. With Office 365, obviously, you get more stuff -- including access to Microsoft productivity suite, and 1TB OneDrive storage. Microsoft was quick to release a free tool for Evernote users should they want to move their data to its note-taking service OneNote. OneNote is free to use and offers 15GB free storage to all users. Google's Keep is another good option with 15GB of free storage. Which note-taking app do you use? Anyone who still prefers taking notes on a notebook with a pen?
Data Storage

Study: 78% of Resold Drives Still Contain Readable Personal or Business Data (consumerist.com) 207

itwbennett writes: Blancco Technology Group, which specializes in data erasure, bought 200 secondhand PC storage drives (PDF) from eBay and Craigslist to see if they could recover any of the old data saved inside. Their findings: 78 percent of the drives contained residual data that could be recovered, 67 percent still held personal files, such as photos with location indicators, resumes and financial data, and 11 percent of the drives also contained company data, such as emails, spreadsheets and customer information. Only 10 percent had all the data securely wiped, Blancco said. The Consumerist points out that Blancco makes their money from promising secure data erasure, so the company has a "strong and vested interest in these results." As for why so many of the drives contain unwanted information, the report says it has to do with the difference between "deleting" data and "erasing" data. Your files aren't actually deleted when you drag them to the Trash or Recycle Bin, or by using the delete key -- shocking, I know. You can format a drive to erase the data, but you have to be careful of the format commands being used. A quick format, which was used on 40% of the drives in the sample, still leaves some residual data on the drive for someone to possibly access. A full format, which was used on 14% of the drives, will do a better job in removing unwanted files, but it too may still miss some crucial information. The solution Blancco recommends: buy a tool to perform complete data erasure.

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