Leaked FAA Proposal Forecasts Turbulence For Drone Rules

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:14pm

Federal guidelines for commercial-drone use may be even harsher than expected, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The WSJ apparently got hold of the FAA’s drafted rules through anonymous sources. Among other restrictions, the prospective rules would require drone operators to hold a pilot’s license and would ban drone flights outside of daylight hours.

Currently, the FAA requires would-be commercial-drone operators to obtain case-by-case basis approval. Efforts to lift the restrictions have been slow. The FAA has been working on guidelines for the better part of two years and plans to have them finalized by September 2015.

See also: Why Commercial Drones Are Stuck In Regulatory Limbo

However, recreational drone use has surged. Aircraft pilots are increasingly reporting drone sightings alongside planes, and are concerned about collisions. However, some drone supporters believe the FAA’s intense restrictions, including the need for a manned pilot’s license to operate a small drone, have gone too far. For example, the ruling would group all drones weighing 55 pounds or less under one set of rules. That would impose the same rules on hobbyist machines and significantly larger commercial drones alike.

“[The rule will be] so divorced from the technology and the aspirations of this industry … that we’re going to see a loud rejection,” Michael Drobac, executive director of the Small UAV Coalition, an advocacy group for drone makers, told the WSJ.

To be fair, the WSJ story has the hallmarks of a leak from drone proponents, quite likely one intended to help organize opposition to the FAA rules. We may not be getting the whole story, and we won’t know for sure until the FAA discloses its final decision.

Photo by Don McCullough

Categories: Technology

NASA Offering Contracts To Encourage Asteroid Mining

Slashdot - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:38am
An anonymous reader writes "Two private companies, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, have received contracts from NASA to study asteroid redirection and will pursue their plans of asteroid mining. From the article: "Deep Space Industries is planning to build a number of dense spacecrafts called FireFlies, and they plan on sending the satellites on one way missions to gather information about the density, shape, composition and size of an asteroid. They also have plans to build a spacecraft called Dragonfly, which has the purpose of catching asteroids. The asteroid material will be collected and returned to Earth by 'Harvesters'. Planetary Resources, on the other hand, plans to build a number of middle sized and small telescopes that will be capable of examining asteroids near the planet Earth for economic potential. They already have the telescopes Arkyd 300, Arkyd 200 and the Arkyd 100, each having its own specific systems."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Tips for Designing a Connected Home That Isn’t Chaos

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:30am

Not much is certain in technology and design, except for one pattern we’ve seen time and again: whenever a new class of technology becomes available, everyone wants a piece of it. In the late ’90s it was websites, then it was apps, and now it’s connected everything, aka, the Internet of Things (IoT). But there’s […]

The post Tips for Designing a Connected Home That Isn’t Chaos appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Magnified Plankton Looks Just Like Outer Space

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:00am

When photographed through a microscope, drops of seawater look like the outer reaches of the cosmos.

The post Magnified Plankton Looks Just Like Outer Space appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Here’s a New Tricked Out Version of the Origami-Inspired Oru Kayak

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:00am

A couple years and plenty of trips on the water later, Anton Willis is introducing new details. Perhaps most notably, the new Oru has a foam chair with adjustable back support.

The post Here’s a New Tricked Out Version of the Origami-Inspired Oru Kayak appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

8 Things Startups Should Consider Before Entering A Collaboration

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:00am

Guest author Scott Gerber is founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.

Partnering with another company can be great for both parties involved—or it can end in disaster. Collaboration can be tempting for a quick sales fix, but do your due diligence first.

To learn more, we polled eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) on the questions you should ask before saying yes to collaboration, and the red flags to look out for during early discussions. Their best answers are below.

Figure Out Why They Want to Collaborate

Sometimes the answer is as simple as "to increase sales." But sometimes it's because of an internal political struggle, a desire to compete with you, or even just to look like they are doing something.

Beware of people who seem to be too eager to work with you. That usually fizzles out at some point, either quickly or after they have wasted a lot of your time.

Jessica Richman, UBiome

Work With Doers

Ideas are easy. Everyone has them.

If you're talking with a company and their focus is strictly on how big and successful the partnership will be, but there is no discussion about how the partnership will actually happen in reality, run and hide. These are talkers, not doers.

Adam Stillman, SparkReel

Look at the Size of the Project

I like a challenge, but I also think it's prudent to first prove the need. If a company proposes a collaboration in which both parties would be required to invest 40 hours of work, be prepared to rebut with an idea that will only take five hours of work.

If that's successful, then you can build up to bigger projects. Otherwise, you'll risk having wasted time on something that ultimately offers little to no ROI. Businesses can fall victim to their own ambition, so beware of the delusional entrepreneur who dreams up new "winning ideas" every few minutes.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

It’s important to make sure the collaboration is on brand for both companies. One party will always have slightly more to gain, but associating with another company whose market perception and/or consumers are noticeably below the level of your own is a big red flag.

Another thing to watch out for is the appearance of playing favorites. Too many collaborations with one brand can have consumers associate you together and you never want your perceived value to be tied too closely to that of someone else’s.

—Jess Levin, Carats & Cake

Make Sure You Are a Priority

When it comes to selecting potential partners, one of the most overlooked issues is prioritization. Make sure the company is vetting you as a partner as much as you are vetting them.

If this partnership is a top priority for the executive team, that is a good sign that they will commit the resources to make it work. Outside of this, you should also research the health, reputation and integrity of the company.

John Berkowitz, Yodle

Check Out Their Core Values

It might sound cheesy, but if a potential partner doesn't have core values defined or smirks when you want to review yours, don't move forward. Would you want to date someone who doesn't have an idea of where he or she is going—or worse, thinks your direction is silly and misaligned?

One of the best new client meetings we ever had was when we said, "Now, we want to talk about our 10 core values," and the client said, "We have 10, too. And look, we have exactly four in common." Shared values are a solid sign of a good relationship to come.

Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications

Ensure ROI on Your Time

Collaborations often sound fun, but they can be incredibly time consuming with little reward at the end. I once set up a special referral program with a company that promised they would send many leads our way, only to see zero sales. We wasted a lot of time on our end setting up that partnership.

Collaborations are fun and can be a huge win for your business, but make sure that you can be very confident that the math will work out before you dive in. Look for a partner that is willing to be open with their numbers about similar partnerships in the past.

Laura Roeder, 

Make Sure They Have Experience

Do they have the experience and can they deliver on what they say? Low rates of repeat purchase, negative feedback online or difficulty getting their customers to take your calls are red flags.

Also, if a potential partner isn’t a culture fit, it’ll never work. That disparity doesn’t make them bad, but might be a sign your ways of working aren’t compatible.

Chris Cancialosi, Gotham Culture

Image courtesy of Shutterstock 

Categories: Technology

Ohio College Building Indoor Drone Pavilion

Slashdot - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:55am
First time accepted submitter Greenargie points out this story about an indoor flying pavilion for drones being built at a college in southwestern Ohio. An indoor flying pavilion for students to test and fly drones will be built at a college in southwestern Ohio. Sinclair Community College officials say the 40-foot high pavilion resembling a traditional aircraft hangar will be built adjacent to a building in Dayton that houses some of its education and training programs in unmanned aerial systems and aviation. The indoor pavilion will allow students to fly drones without having to deal with weather issues or Federal Aviation Administration restrictions on flying them outdoors, said Andrew Shepherd, director of Sinclair's unmanned aerial systems program. Congress has directed the FAA to integrate drones into civilian manned airspace by next fall. The agency currently allows unmanned aircraft to be flown only under controlled conditions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

An iOS 8 Keyboard App That Lets You Draw Your Texts

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:30am

This could very well be the year we get over our emoji obsession.

The post An iOS 8 Keyboard App That Lets You Draw Your Texts appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Class-Action Suit Claims Copyright Enforcement Company Made Harassing Robo-calls

Slashdot - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:12am
An anonymous reader writes Morgan Pietz, one of the lawyers who took on Prenda Law, has a new target in his sights: copyright enforcement company Rightscorp. In a class action suit (PDF) Pietz claims the company made illegal, harassing robo-calls to people who were accused of illegal downloading and by doing so Rightscorp broke the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which limits how automated calling devices can be used. "They robo-called Jeanie Reif's cell phone darn near every day for a couple of months," Pietz said. "And there could be thousands of members of this class."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Meet Regin, Government-Created Spyware That's Been Active Since 2008

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:05am

Symantec has uncovered yet another sophisticated, malware-based spying tool, dubbed “Regin,” apparently the latest spyware tool created by a national government agency.

The company's research, published Sunday, identifies Regin—also known as Backdoor.Regin—as a Trojan virus that exhibits “a degree of technical competence rarely seen” on behalf of its creators. Its purpose appears to be mass surveillance of government organizations, businesses, researchers, and individuals. And it's been on the loose since 2008. Writes Symantec:

It is likely that its development took months, if not years, to complete and its authors have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks. Its capabilities and the level of resources behind Regin indicate that it is one of the main cyberespionage tools used by a nation state.

Symantec has been unable to identify the origin of the software, but Re/code reporter Arik Hesseldahl suggests that the U.S., Israeli, and Chinese governments all have the technological capability and M.O. to engineer it. Also raising suspicions: not one Regin attack has targeted either the U.S. or China.

See also: The Flame Virus: Spyware On An Unprecedented Scale

Private researchers have uncovered several instances of such government-created spyware over the past few years—most notably, the Stuxnet malware (also discovered by Symantec) that targeted Iran's nuclear program and Flame, a much larger program that infected hundreds of computers across Europe and the Middle East.

In any case, Regin’s targets are decidedly global. Symantec has detected about 100 different infections in ten different countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. Nearly half of all targets for surveillance, 48%, are small businesses and private individuals. In every case identified, Regin attacks systems that are running Microsoft Windows.

Symantec wrote that Regin attacks have been occurring since 2008, and it may have taken this long to discover them since a major function of the software is to cover its own tracks.

Researchers are still unpacking the mysteries of this complicated program. For more technical information, Symantec has published a 21-page white paper.

Photo by nolifebeforecoffee

Categories: Technology

Download Your Google Data With One Click

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:00am
<em>&nbsp;Editor's Note: This post was originally published by our partners at <a href="">PopSugarTech</a><a href="http://Editor's Note: This post was originally published by our partners at PopSugarTech. "></a>.&nbsp;</em>

Nothing is truly permanent—especially on the Internet—so Google is working towards allowing users access to e-mails anytime, even long after the company's online services are gone. Google offers a one-click export system to download a copy of your data from Gmail and Google Calendar.

Previously, users had to turn to not-always-effective third party backup or extraction services. Now, Gmailers can download their entire archive of mail or select labels as an MBOX file. MBOX is a common format for storing email messages, with all of the user's email threads stored in a single, long text file. Many clients, such as Entourage, Eudora, and Mozilla Thunderbird, can recognize MBOX files.

To export your personal data, sign into your Google account, click on the profile thumbnail in the top right corner, and select "Account" just beneath your email address. In the navigation menu on the left, click "Download your data" and select "Create an archive" to begin picking and choosing the Google services you'd like to preserve.

Calendar export is available for all users today, and Gmail export is rolling out over the next month.

Read More: 

Categories: Technology

15 Gifts That Will Definitively Prove You Love Your Dog

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:30am

Do you love your dog? Then you should probably buy him more stuff.

The post 15 Gifts That Will Definitively Prove You Love Your Dog appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Apple To Donate Profit Portion From Black Friday For AIDS Fight

Slashdot - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:30am
An anonymous reader writes Apple will donate a portion of their sales from online and retail stores on Cyber Monday and Black Friday as a contribution to the worldwide fight against AIDS. Apple kicks off a two-week fundraising campaign for RED, the charity started by U2 lead singer Bono and Bobby Shriver. It includes 25 partnering app-makers, from Angry Birds to Toca Boca, which will donate all proceeds from purchases of their apps or in-app upgrades. In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: "Apple is a proud supporter of (RED) because we believe the gift of life is the most important gift anyone can give. For eight years, our customers have been helping fight AIDS in Africa by funding life-saving treatments which are having a profoundly positive impact. This year we are launching our biggest fundraising push yet with the participation of Apple's retail and online stores, and some of the brightest minds in the App Store are lending their talents to the effort as well."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

The 10 Coolest Cars at the LA Auto Show

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:28am

The best concepts, sports cars, and even video game stars we spotted at this year's show.

The post The 10 Coolest Cars at the LA Auto Show appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Multi-National Crew Reaches Space Station

Slashdot - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:07am
An anonymous reader writes A Russian capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, the United States and Italy has blasted off for the International Space Station. Aboard the capsule are Russian Anton Shkaplerov, Nasa's Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy's first female astronaut. "I think that 100 years from now, 500 years from now, people will look back on this as the initial baby steps that we took going into the solar system," Virts told a pre-launch press conference. "In the same way that we look back on Columbus and the other explorers 500 years ago, this is the way people will look at this time in history."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Citizen Explorers, Meet Your New Submersible

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:04am

OpenROV releases the latest version of its remote controlled submersible so you can finally do some science on that stuff growing on the bottom of your pool.

The post Citizen Explorers, Meet Your New Submersible appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

That Time Will.I.Am and a Silicon Valley VC Rapped Together

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:00am

Celebrities dabbling in tech is nothing new, but these days it's different. When the venture capital money dries up in Silicon Valley, when interest rates rise and institutional investors seek safer returns elsewhere, it's the rich and famous who will be left.

The post That Time Will.I.Am and a Silicon Valley VC Rapped Together appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

How Starbucks Could Take Wireless Charging Mainstream

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 9:00am

Offering a shot of one-stop convenience, Starbucks began its roll-out of free Powermat wireless charging last week. The Seattle, Wash.–based coffee purveyor equipped roughly 200 stores in San Francisco with the technology, ahead of a nationwide launch next year.

I stopped by a location in Levi Plaza to check out the system and see if it lives up to the promise. There could be no in-between: It would either be a cool new convenience or a lame, over-hyped feature. 

See also: How To Boost Your Phone's Battery Life

Sitting in the cafe, with my phone resting on the table that piped juice to it, the answer was clear. Starbucks should consider extra security; Frapuccino-fueled patrons are destined to jockey for a seat at one of these tables. After years of trying, wireless charging could finally be on the verge of going mainstream in a big, caffeinated way. 

Getting Juiced Up At Starbucks

Wireless charging seems like a misnomer. People who have bought Powermat and similar products know that the main charging mat connects to a wall outlet with a cable. But it’s still considered “wireless” because phones, handheld gaming machines and other devices can power up just by sitting on top of it.

At Starbucks, the mats (or "Powermat Spots”) are built into some of the tables and countertops. Despite reports to the contrary, Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat Technologies, claims the charging speed rivals cabled connections. I gave it a try, and found the charging action to be pretty speedy. 

 The downside is that few phones support Powermat charging out of the box. Some Lumia phones have it built in, and compatible backplates, phone cases, batteries and small Power Ring attachments are available under the joint Duracell-Powermat brand. The system offers some backward compatibility—if you have one, even an older unit, you'll be able to charge your device on Starbucks' tables. 

If not, you can still use the Starbucks charging surfaces. The store loans out Power Rings for free on the spot and sells them there too for about $10, if you'd like to own one. Duracell-Powermat also sells them online

“You’ve got to have a complete system,” said Matthew Guiste, Starbucks’ vice president of in-store digital. “No one has taken the plunge, [but] we want to start giving manufacturers a reason to put it in their phones.” The retailer has a habit of pushing technologies into the mainstream. Back in 2001, the business proselytized Wi-Fi, being among the first to offer it for free.

The chain’s knack for popularizing tech was the main reason Powermat partnered with it. “Wi-Fi was not a known commodity then,” said Schreiber. “They’re in a place to educate consumers.” 

Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat Technologies, at Starbucks wireless charging roll-out

Education is needed. Wireless charging has been around for quite a while, but despite that, it still hasn’t managed to gain traction with consumers yet. 

Why Isn’t Wireless Charging A Thing Yet?

Even though the electromagnetic technology behind wireless charging goes back a century, people still mess with cables and power adapters—now more than ever. 

See also: If The Future's Battery-Powered, We're Screwed

Poor battery life forces the hassle. Today, huge phones with larger batteries and power-saving tactics, like Android’s Project Volta, try to prolong the longevity of our devices, but these are workarounds for batteries that just can’t keep pace with advancements in mobile technology. 

Processing power, new features and our demanding requirements for connectivity make us "more dependent on our devices,” said Schreiber. “[But] it’s reached a crisis point where the industry is bringing us new uses that we routinely disable to give us more battery life.” The issue becomes worse with wearables, as tiny gadgets leave little space for big power cells.

<a href="">Some reports</a> say the system won't work with iPhones. Don't believe everything you read.&nbsp;

Wireless charging’s convenience can help ease the pain of short battery life. Unfortunately, like the old video rivalry between VHS and BetaMax, warring factions within the industry prevent a universal standard from paving the way for wider adoption.

Earlier this year, two of the leading power consortiums—Powermat’s Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)—made some headway by joining forces. Reinier H.M. van der Lee, director of product marketing at Broadcom, a key member of A4WP, told me then that it would lead to "dual-mode receivers,” or gadgets that support both PMA’s open standard and A4WP’s Rezence standard. 

But the deal left out a third, the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi—currently the most popular wireless charging option available in mobile devices. Devices like Samsung's Galaxy, Motorola's Droid and some Lumia phones offer built-in support. 

All three standards essentially rely on the same technology. Coils (in mats) create electromagnetic fields that transmit electricity when receivers (in gadgets and accessories) sit on top. But their approaches vary, and none work directly with either of the others. 

Rezence devices don't exist as consumer products yet, but even if they did, single-mode products wouldn’t work on Starbucks’ Powermat charging tables. (They'd have to be dual-mode.) Qi gadgets, the most prevalent so far, won’t directly work either. 

To cut through the complications, Starbucks and Powermat made a smart move: Those free Power Ring loaners come in a choice of micro-USB or Apple’s lightning port. This cross-compatibility should cover most smartphones, and their in-store availability means people won't have to plan ahead. 

This simple decision gives every customer some wireless charging powers. It just so happens to spread the gospel of Powermat to a massive audience as well.  

Powermat's Power Play

After starting out with test roll-outs in select stores in Boston and San Jose, Starbucks is ready to go all in with PMA now. Guiste calls Powermat "the perfect partner," thanks to its focus on commercial installations and managed support.

“What we got is not just a standard,” he said. “We got launch partners and a managed network that can tell us what’s going on, down to the location and the [specific] spot at that location.”

What Powermat got is a direct line to the vast market of coffee drinkers across the country. (Starbucks serves more than 5 million customers per day.) While obviously beneficial to Powermat, the strategy could also raise the profile of wireless charging overall, giving the whole industry a boost. 

It may even compel the various camps to work together on a universal standard. If so, it couldn't come too soon. The already complex landscape of wireless charging could get even more complicated before long. 

As cable-free power-ups work to establish themselves in the mainstream, fringe candidates have been trying to push it in new directions. Startups like Humavox and Ossia want to ditch the mat entirely, using radio frequency technology to transform charging into Wi-Fi-like affairs.

It’s All Up In The Air

Humavox CEO Omri Lachman explained the design strategy behind his Eterna charging platform to me earlier this year: Users don't use mats, he said. Instead, they toss their devices in a box. 

Those devices can vary, not just in variety, but size. With more than a little showmanship, he told me his company "didn’t start off with these devices,” holding up a smartphone. “We started with these,” he said, pointing to a small in-ear canal hearing aid. 

The components were designed to fit inside one of the smallest consumer devices imaginable, so it's not tough to see those tiny receivers embedded inside the compact casings of wearable gadgets, one of Humavox's target areas. 

Another startup, Ossia, believes charging should work entirely over the air.  

Though a bit slower than traditional charging, Ossia's Cota technology can supposedly transmit power safely over a distance. It has been tested at 16 feet, and the company claims it can work up to 30 feet. 

Ossia has been making motions toward the smart home industry, hoping to power battery-operated sensors and other gizmos. In the controlled setting of a retail environment, Cota devices could theoretically start charging your devices the moment you walk in. But that scenario will probably take a lot of convincing to appease public concerns over safety. 

If these emerging companies succeed, or the leading troika of wireless charging proponents get their act together, they could banish the drudgery of plugging in cables and power adapters once and for all. 

We're not there yet. But Starbucks and Powermat took a big step toward that future. And until it gets here, at least now we can sip our lattes and charge on a table while we wait. 

Starbucks coffee photo (cropped) courtesy of Starbucks; Ossia photo courtesy of Ossia; all others by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

Categories: Technology

Researchers Uncover Government Spy Tool Used to Hack Telecoms and Belgian Cryptographer

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 8:59am

Piecing together new information from various researchers, it's clear the 'Regin" malware is one of the most sophisticated nation-state spy tools ever found.

The post Researchers Uncover Government Spy Tool Used to Hack Telecoms and Belgian Cryptographer appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

Slashdot - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 8:47am
MojoKid writes After years of working on prototype vehicles, multiple car companies have announced a major push for hydrogen fuel cell automobiles. At the LA Auto Show last week, Toyota showed off its Mirai, a four-door passenger sedan with a $57,500 base sticker price and a hydrogen-only fuel system. Honda recently delayed its hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle until 2016, while Hyundai is planning to build 1000 fuel-cell powered Tucson's by the end of the year. Currently, most proposed hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are actually combined hydrogen-electric designs. Hydrogen gas, under enormous pressure, is used to drive a generator, which then charges a lithium-ion battery. Toyota plans to sell up to 3,000 Mirai a year by 2017, which would put it well below Tesla's own sales projections for its Model S — but at a lower overall price point. The pressurized fuel tanks in the Mirai can hold a total of 122 liters of hydrogen for an estimated range of 300 miles. A standard gasoline-powered car with a 122L capacity at 30mpg would be capable of traveling 960 miles. Proponents of hydrogen point to the vastly improved fueling time (roughly equal that of gasoline) as opposed to the 20-60 minutes required to recharge a vehicle like Tesla's Model S.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology