Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

'Black Mirror' spinoff will star Latinx influencers

Engadget - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:55
You don't have to wait until June 5th to get your next fix of Black Mirror -- although it might not be what you were expecting. Netflix has announced a trio of Little Black Mirror short films with thematic links to the technology-gone-wrong series....

The A-Team lives on in Opel's 'O-Team' Zafira Life - Roadshow

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:52
I pity the fool who doesn't think this is neat.

Best YouTube cameras and accessories - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:43
Whether you're just shooting for fun or you're a semiprofessional YouTuber, this is the gear you need to make your videos shine.

New Star Trek: Picard trailer works perfectly as a Viagra commercial - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:43
A fan-made mashup video rises to the occasion with a perfect melding of Picard and the little blue pill.

Mark Zuckerberg apparently tried to buy Panic, the creator of Playdate

Engadget - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:33
Buried in Edge Magazine's exclusive feature on Playdate, is an interesting revelation. Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg once expressed interest in buying Panic, the developers behind the new handheld, hand-cranked console. Perhaps even more intriguing, Pa...

The best gas grill sales for Memorial Day 2019 - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:17
Nobody beats our meat-cooker deals.

The Kia Niro EV is relentlessly sensible

Engadget - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:10
The EV market is growing. More people are realizing that the majority of their drives don't stray far from the cities or towns they live in. While a robust charging infrastructure still isn't in place (unless you own a Tesla), topping up the batt...

Huawei is banned from using SD cards in future devices

Engadget - Fri, 2019-05-24 15:05
Things just keep getting worse for Huawei. The company was barred from being a member of the SD Association, the trade group responsible for standardizing SD and microSD cards. The change in status means that Huawei will no longer be able to offer of...

How to make the best cold-brew coffee - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:59
Whipping up your own cold-brew coffee is easy and delicious -- and it saves you money.

Alien at 40: How the space horror classic looks from 2019 - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:58
Ridley Scott's landmark monster movie from 1979 holds up, but its ship could use a new operating system.

No dudes needed: Baby anaconda snakes born in all-female exhibit - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:49
The New England Aquarium welcomes two slithering danger noodles thanks to the rare phenomenon of parthenogenesis.

Control4's new hub connects 13,500 smart home devices on one screen

Engadget - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:48
Smart home connected devices can control everything from lighting and temperature to security systems and music. But with products from so many different companies, they don't always work together. Control4 wants to change that. Yesterday, it debuted...

SpaceX reveals more Starlink info after launch of first 60 satellites

TechCrunch - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:47

Last night’s successful Starlink launch was a big one for SpaceX — its heaviest payload ever, weighed down by 60 communications satellites that will eventually be part of a single constellation providing internet to the globe. That’s the plan, anyway — and the company pulled the curtain back a bit more after launch, revealing a few more details about the birds it just put in the air.

SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk have been extremely tight-lipped about the Starlink satellites, only dropping a few hints here and there before the launch. We know, for instance, that each satellite weighs about 500 pounds, and are a flat-panel design that maximized the amount that can fit in each payload. The launch media kit also described a “Startracker” navigation system that would allow the satellites to locate themselves and orbital debris with precision.

SpaceX kicks off its space-based internet service with 60-satellite Starlink launch

At the fresh new Starlink website, however, a few new details have appeared, alongside some images that provide the clearest look yet (renders, not photographs, but still) of the satellites that will soon number thousands in our skies.

In the CG representation of how the satellites will work, you get a general sense of it:

Thousands of satellites will move along their orbits simultaneously, each beaming internet to and from the surface in a given area. It’s still not clear exactly how big an area each satellite will cover, or how much redundancy will be required. But the image gives you the general idea.

The signal comes from and goes to a set of four “phased array” radio antennas. This compact, flat type of antenna can transmit in multiple directions and frequencies without moving like you see big radar dishes do. There are costs as well, but it’s a no-brainer for satellites that need to be small and only need to transmit in one general direction — down.

There’s only a single solar array, which unfolds upwards like a map (and looks pretty much like you’d expect — hence no image here). The merits of having only one are mainly related to simplicity and cost — having two gives you more power and redundancy if one fails. But if you’re going to make a few thousand of these things and replace them every couple years, it probably doesn’t matter too much. Solar arrays are reliable standard parts now.

The krypton-powered ion thruster sounds like science fiction, but ion thrusters have actually been around for decades. They use a charge difference to shoot ions — charged molecules — out in a specific direction, imparting force in the opposite direction. Kind of like a tiny electric pea shooter that, in microgravity, pushes the person back with the momentum of the pea.

To do this it needs propellant — usually xenon, which has several (rather difficult to explain) properties that make it useful for these purposes. Krypton is the next Noble gas up the list in the table, and is similar in some ways but easier to get. Again, if you’re deploying thousands of ion engines — so far only a handful have actually flown — you want to minimize costs and exotic materials.

Lastly there is the Star Tracker and collision avoidance system. This isn’t very well explained by SpaceX, so we can only surmise based on what we see. The star tracker tells each satellite its attitude, or orientation in space — presumably by looking at the stars and comparing that with known variables like time of day on Earth and so on. This ties in with collision avoidance, which uses the government’s database of known space debris and can adjust course to avoid it.

How? The image on the Starlink site shows four discs at perpendicular orientations. This suggests they’re reaction wheels, which store kinetic energy and can be spun up or slowed down to impart that force on the craft, turning it as desired. Very clever little devices actually and quite common in satellites. These would control the attitude and the thruster would give a little impulse, and the debris is avoided. The satellite can return to normal orbit shortly thereafter.

We still don’t know a lot about the Starlink system. For instance, what do its ground stations look like? Unlike Ubiquitilink, you can’t receive a Starlink signal directly on your phone. So you’ll need a receiver, which Musk has said in the past is about the size of a pizza box. But small, large, or extra large? Where can it be mounted, and how much does it cost?

The questions of interconnection are also a mystery. Say a Starlink user wants to visit a website hosted in Croatia. Does the signal go up to Starlink, between satellites, and down to the nearest base station? Does it go down at a big interconnect point on the backbone serving that region? Does it go up and then come down 20 few miles from your house at the place where fiber connects to the local backbone? It may not matter much to ordinary users, but for big services — think Netflix — it could be very important.

And lastly, how much does it cost? SpaceX wants to make this competitive with terrestrial broadband, which is a little hard to believe considering the growth of fiber, but also not that hard to believe because of telecoms dragging their heels getting to rural areas still using DSL. Out there, Starlink might be a godsend, while in big cities it might be superfluous.

Chances are won’t know for a long time. The 60 satellites up there right now are only the very first wave, and don’t comprise anything more than a test bed for future services. Starlink will have to prove these things work as planned, and then send up several hundred more before it can offer even the most rudimentary service. Of course, that is the plan, and might even be accomplished by the end of the year. In the meantime I’ve asked SpaceX for more details and will update this post if I hear back.

Netflix film Rim of the World proves kids are best at fighting aliens - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:43
This sci-fi adventure is like Stranger Things meets Independence Day, but Zack Stentz says he wrote the script before the Demogorgon showed its teeth.

Boeing faces SEC investigation over 737 Max wrecks, report says - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:30
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly looking into whether the company properly disclosed potential problems with the plane.

Omura's Series 1 cannabis vaporizer uses 'flower cartridges'

Engadget - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:23
Cannabis vaporizers have come a long way. As weed becomes legal in more states, companies are free to devise new methods to administer the herb. Enter Omura and the Series 1. At first glance, it looks like a conventional — if not more stylish &...

BMW's big-block Concept R18 motorcycle takes Villa d'Este back to the 1920s - Roadshow

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:18
The boxer-twin-powered concept bike harkens back to BMWs of the past, while looking squarely at the future.

BMW's R18 concept motorcycle debuts at the Villa d'Este concours - Roadshow

CNET News - Fri, 2019-05-24 14:16
The big-block-twin concept looks at the future while honoring the brand's rich past.

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