Weekend tech reading: Six 3D printers tested, Assange 'arbitrarily detained', MIT's hack-proof RFID

By Matthew
Feb 7, 2016
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  1. Six 3D printers from 400 to 2500 Euros reviewed 3D printers are slowly becoming more mainstream. Over the past few years, prices have dropped and now you can buy a ready-to-go 3D printer for 400 Euros. That's a good reason for us to test six different 3D printers. Earlier this year, we wrote an extensive article about the rise of 3D printers. We looked at different printing techniques, and how to make, edit and download 3D models. We also looked at the practical uses of 3D printers.

    Ubuntu 6.06 To Ubuntu 16.04 LTS performance benchmarks: 10 years of Linux performance As I'm in the process of retiring an old AMD Opteron dual-socket system, prior to decommissioning it, I figured it would be fun to go back and re-benchmark all of the Ubuntu LTS releases going all the way back to the legendary 6.06 Dapper Drake release. So here are some fresh benchmarks of this AMD Shanghai system with eight cores and 16GB of RAM when re-benchmarking the releases from Ubuntu 6.06 through the latest Ubuntu 16.04 LTS development state. Phoronix

    ASRock A88M-ITX/ac gives AMD APUs a fun-sized foundation AMD's affordable CPUs can be a great fit for an HTPC or a NAS server. ASRock is likely thinking along the same lines, as it's just released the A88M-ITX/ac Mini-ITX motherboard. As its name implies, the A88M-ITX/ac is a Socket FM2+ motherboard built with AMD's A88X chipset. Despite the board's diminutive size, the CPU is still fed by a five-phase VRM setup, which could help with overclocking. The Tech Report

    GitHub is undergoing a full-blown overhaul as execs and employees depart -- and we have the full inside story We've been hearing about a lot of drama going on at $2 billion startup GitHub, the hugely important and popular site used by millions of computer programmers where 10 or moreexecutives have departed in recent months. The more we write about the inner turmoil, the more people step forward to share details and opinions. We're hearing these themes repeatedly: Business Insider

    Why Google's artificial intelligence boss is taking over the search empire As it ballooned, Google’s research group has nabbed a shocking number of computing’s biggest brains. Geoffrey Hinton. Peter Norvig. Ray Kurzweil. Titans of the field. And it held onto its homegrown talent younger minds, like Jeff Dean, a fabled technician. All of them worked the tech and research circuits, got their faces out there. But all of them work for a much lower-key engineer: John Giannandrea. Recode

    Windows 10 telemetry network traffic analysis, part 1 Like many of you, I am concerned about the telemetry, spying and other surveillance features, known or unknown, of Windows 10. It has concerned me enough to push me to Linux Mint as my main operating system. Even so, I wanted to better understand Windows 10, but internet search results for a decent windows 10 traffic analysis leave a lot to be desired. CheesusCrust @ Voat

    Robot chameleon changes colour to blend into its surroundings Take a look at this colourful character: it’s a robot chameleon. Guoping Wang of Wuhan University, China, and his colleagues created it to show off their camouflage technology, which could one day allow military vehicles or body armour to blend perfectly into the background. The chameleon is a 3D-printed model covered in plasmonic displays, which produce colours by exploiting the interactions between nanoscale structures and electric fields. New Scientist

    Film coating transforms contact lenses into computer screens A polymer film coating with the ability to turn contact lenses into computer screens is set to transform the wearable visual aids into the next generation of consumer electronics. Scientists from the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute have successfully completed "proof of concept" research on a polymer film coating that conducts electricity on a contact lens, with the potential to build miniature electrical circuits that are safe to be worn by a person.

    Energy-friendly chip can perform powerful artificial-intelligence tasks In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence have come courtesy of convolutional neural networks, large virtual networks of simple information-processing units, which are loosely modeled on the anatomy of the human brain. Neural networks are typically implemented using graphics processing units (GPUs), special-purpose graphics chips found in all computing devices with screens. MIT

    No more deceptive download buttons In November, we announced that Safe Browsing would protect you from social engineering attacks - deceptive tactics that try to trick you into doing something dangerous, like installing unwanted software or revealing your personal information (for example, passwords, phone numbers, or credit cards). You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date. Google

    Scientists decode brain signals nearly at speed of perception Using electrodes implanted in the temporal lobes of awake patients, scientists have decoded brain signals at nearly the speed of perception. Further, analysis of patients’ neural responses to two categories of visual stimuli -- images of faces and houses -- enabled the scientists to subsequently predict which images the patients were viewing, and when, with better than 95 percent accuracy. University of Washington

    The man who made the Whac-A-Mole has one more chance Those in Orlando who had seen the unmarked face of the warehouse at 47 W. Jefferson St. probably considered the property abandoned. And then, on that Thursday afternoon in 2013, it blew up. Witnesses are scarce two years later, but here are the undisputed facts: A ruptured tank storing an experimental cooking gas called hyrdillium was the source of the eruption. Popular Mechanics

    Scientists in Germany switch on nuclear fusion experiment Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Wednesday on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power. Following nine years of construction and testing, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald injected a tiny amount of hydrogen into a doughnut-shaped device -- then zapped it with the equivalent of 6,000 microwave ovens.

    Hack-proof RFID chips Researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments have developed a new type of radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that is virtually impossible to hack. If such chips were widely adopted, it could mean that an identity thief couldn't steal your credit card number or key card information by sitting next to you at a café, and high-tech burglars couldn’t swipe expensive goods from a warehouse and replace them with dummy tags. MIT

    The prickly genius of Jonathan Blow In 2008, on the eve of the release of his debut video game, Jonathan Blow stood drinkless in a murky corridor at an industry party in England, performing what appeared to be Tai Chi poses in the half-dark. He was exhausted but driven to this exercise by exhilaration. The game, Braid, had been in development for three years, an unthinkably protracted production time for an independent, self-funded project. The New Yorker

    Apple's declining software quality Software quality is a nebulous and divisive topic. There are many parameters to software quality -- reliability, speed, user experience, design, discoverability, and more -- and a move towards any of these virtues leads to sacrifices in others, especially on a limited time schedule. Additionally, a number of forces influence software quality over time... Sudo Philosophical

    Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition," a short story written for Laura Poitras's Astro Noise exhibition, which runs at NYC's Whitney Museum of American Art from Feb 5 to May 1, 2016. Boing Boing

    Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tells us his successor is doing great, except for 2 small things Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stepped down two years ago this week, but as the company's largest individual shareholder, he still keeps a close watch on what it's doing. By and large, Ballmer told Business Insider, he's happy with Microsoft's progress under Satya Nadella. Business Insider

    Here's how Twitter's new algorithmic timeline is going to work Twitter went into an uproar Friday after a BuzzFeed report that the social network was on the brink introducing an algorithmic, more Facebook-style feed. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tried to calm fears this morning in a series of tweets, but he did not deny the substance of the report. The Verge

    Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained, U.N. panel finds Julian Assange — the founder of WikiLeaks who sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden — has been arbitrarily detained in violation of international law, a United Nations human rights panel has concluded. The NY Times

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