Tags hardware

Google has a new plan to bring gigabit internet to your home, and it doesn’t involve wires

Google Fiber Speed Price
Google Fiber is the ISP that everyone wants -- absurdly fast, unlimited internet for a reasonable price. It could legitimately be called the anti-Comcast, and that name now works in more ways than one. A new FCC filing reveals that Google is exploring new technology to bring internet to users' home without having to dig up streets. Google wants to conduct an experimental trial of new wireless technology in California, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, which could bring Fiber without any actual fiber cables.

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Chris Mills

August 12th

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A close-up look at the F-35A, the Air Force’s next-gen jet

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The U.S. Air Force declared its first squadron of fifth-generation fighter jets, the F-35A Lightning II, combat ready earlier in August.

This remarkably advanced and powerful single-seat, single-engine fighter features advanced situational awareness, stealth, speeds of about 1,200 mph and much, much more— and it’s designed to be capable of a range of missions with just one aircraft.

The next-gen jet is designed to strike highly-defended targets anywhere on Earth and provide the U.S. military with an aircraft that can fly into enemy space and attack with precision weapons at long ranges— without ever being detected.

The 34th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing, based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the service’s first operational F-35A squadron. To reach the Initial Operational Capability milestone, the base needed at least twelve combat-ready jets capable of global deployment for missions involving basic close-air support, air interdiction, and limited suppression and destruction of enemy air defense.

During the final few weeks of testing, I had the chance to visit, spend time with the squadron, and take a close look at the F-35A.

Fighter pilot Captain James Schmidt, of the USAF 388th Fighter Wing, gave me a thorough and detailed overview as we walked around the aircraft.

Stealth and design

What is 5th-generation stealth? The F-35 can go where legacy aircraft cannot.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II is a 5th-generation stealth fighter developed to safely penetrate areas without enemy radar seeing it— an enhanced degree of “invisibility” that the 4th-generation cannot achieve.

The F-35's advanced stealth capability, called Very Low Observable (VLO) stealth, is achieved through advances that work to dramatically reduce detection by enemy aircraft and defense systems.

“So what makes the F-35 so unique and so effective is its stealth capabilities,” Schmidt said. “And that’s just one of the things that makes the F-35 unique.”

Stealth was built into this aircraft from the very start. Walking around the aircraft, Schmidt broke down some of the stealth features.

“You notice the shape of the aircraft. You notice how the doors have angles,” he said. “You’ll notice the lining of the wings and how the engine is buried in a curved inlet. All of these things. The special radar absorbing material that’s put on the jet— what we would call RAM— all of these things give the jet the ability able to evade modern-day radars.”

“When people ask us where do we see this jet? I see this 2050 and beyond,” Schmidt added. “It’s the jet that we’re going to need, the multirole platform to complement the F-22 and B-2 as well as we continue in today’s contested environment.”

Next-gen situational awareness

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the F-35’s state-of-the-art helmet that allows pilots to look down and essentially “see” through the aircraft to the ground below.

Schmidt explained the fundamentals of the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) and how the aircraft uses cameras and interacts with the helmet to achieve this effect.

“There are cameras all over the jet. What this does is it gives me the 360 degree of coverage….where the jet is looking outside for me,” he said. “The jet takes all these cameras and it stitches them together and then it superimposes that image on the visor of my helmet. As I turn my head to look around, the cameras are looking at that one section of space but it’s stitching them together so it looks like one seamless picture as I look around the jet.”

And it is indeed true that the pilots can see through to the ground.

“So I could look down and it would superimpose the picture that camera is taking onto my visor,” Schmidt confirmed.

Weapons

The F-35s for each service have been tailored to meet specific needs. The Air Force, for example, required a gun.

So how can the aircraft carry weapons and stay stealthy?

“That is the unique thing about the gun or even about the weapons… You can see that the weapons bay door are closed,” Schmidt said. “That allows us to maintain our stealth ability while carrying weapons into combat. So we can carry missiles, we can carry bombs, and it’s all tucked up in there, and when we need to get the weapon away or we need to prosecute a target, the doors will open, weapon away, doors will close again keeping our stealth abilities.”

Cooling fire

F-35s can reach speeds of about 1,200 mph—  and that requires a very powerful engine. The heat from such an engine would be a signature adversaries would try to identify.

So how can the F-35s maintain stealth?

“In addition to the Radar Absorbent Material that they have on the F-35 [there is also] a heat reducing coating or signature reducing coating material on the exhaust or the tailpipe,” Schmidt explained. “How do you cool down fire? Lockheed Martin found a way to coat this with a special coating that will actually reduce the temperature of the exhaust coming out the back, which helps us fight IR threats or infrared missiles that would launch.”

Flying

So what is it like to fly this fifth-generation jet? Schmidt, an experienced pilot, said, “Flying and landing this jet is amazing. It’s super easy to fly. The engineers and designers of this jet wanted to make sure we could focus on what was really important, which is the tactical aspect.”

He explained that the F-35A features advanced autopilot. “So if I want, I can say I want to fly at this altitude, and at this airspeed, or I want you to go from this point to this point and then I can take my hands off the controls and the jet will do exactly what I asked it to do.”

The F-35A benefits from tech developed for the Navy requirements.

“So for landing— because of the Navy variant— we have this special function called Approach Power Compensator and what it does is when I’m ready to land, I get lined up on final,” Schmidt revealed. “I press a button on the jet and the jet does whatever it needs to trim itself up to a perfect landing attitude so then I just fly the jet down. The jet adds power, it reduces power to change the pitch of the jet. So landing, you flare just a little bit and the jet touches down and it’s done.”

Schmidt described how these kinds of tech advance on the F-35 makes a difference for pilots.

“I came from another platform that was a little bit older,” he said. “For me, it's amazing that they’ve built an aircraft that allows me to focus on the tactical aspect and not have to worry about getting to the fight or getting home from the fight. It’s just a matter of focusing on what’s important.”

Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book "Future Weapons: Access Granted"  covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.

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FoxNews.com

August 12th

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Uh-oh! Crowdfunded social robot Jibo won’t now ship internationally

Jibo Jibo, a cutesy social robot pitched to crowdfunders in mid 2014 as ‘the world’s first social robot’ but since delayed and yet to arrive in the market some nine months after its original due date, is now only going to ship to backers in the U.S. and Canada. Read More

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Natasha Lomas

August 11th

Gadgets

Uh-oh! Crowdfunded social robot Jibo won’t now ship internationally

Jibo Jibo, a cutesy social robot pitched to crowdfunders in mid 2014 as ‘the world’s first social robot’ but since delayed and yet to arrive in the market some nine months after its original due date, is now only going to ship to backers in the U.S. and Canada. Read More

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Natasha Lomas

August 11th

Gadgets

Logitech’s new Pop Home Switch simplifies smart home control

logitech-pop Logitech has a new device called the Pop Home Switch, and it’s a bit different from their usual offerings. A company known for Universal Remotes encrusted with physical keys, touchscreen displays and all manner of interaction options is instead going for single-button simplicity. The Pop is a broad button about the size of your palm, which connects to a hub that plugs directly into an… Read More

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Darrell Etherington

August 11th

Gadgets

Mobile

A 60TB SSD is such glorious, beautiful overkill

Largest SSD
No one, not even the most dedicated sysadmin, can justify buying a 60TB SSD. That much data is better stored on a tape deck, or in a giant planet-sized supercomputer à la Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But Seagate clearly disagrees, because it's gone ahead and built it anyway. Let's try and put 60TB into perspective for you. By my back-of-the-calculator math, that's enough for 85,000 TV episodes, 14,000 movies, or 80 years of regular-quality MP3 music. That is, scientifically speaking, quite a lot of music.

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Chris Mills

August 11th

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This has to be the prettiest poster ever designed on an iPad

Stranger Things Poster
Since its inception, critics have derisively labeled Apple’s iPad as a device suitable for consumption but not content creation. Early on, such criticisms were arguably well-founded. But over the years, app developers have continued to push the boundaries of what one can accomplish with an iPad. Further, the release of the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil essentially dispelled the tired notion that the iPad is only useful for watching movies and playing games. Today, a wide assortment of media professionals – from musicians to video editors and of course illustrators – use Apple’s iPad to help them create and bring art into the world. Case in point: the poster design for Netflix’s hit-show “Stranger Things” was initially created on an iPad Pro.

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Yoni Heisler

August 10th

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Microsoft exec points out the major flaw in Apple’s Mac lineup

Microsoft Vs Apple
It’s hardly a secret that Apple’s Mac lineup is in desperate need of a refresh. Mac sales have been slumping as of late and the problem may have nothing to do with a general disinterest in Apple’s Mac platform. On the contrary, interest in the Mac appears to be strong but consumers simply aren’t willing to fork over their hard-earned cash for machines that, in some cases, are four years old. As we highlighted just a few weeks ago, Apple’s current Mac lineup – the Mac Pro, the Retina MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air – is anything but current when you take a look at when Apple last refreshed them. Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pro is a particularly bad offender, with the last refresh occurring more than 1500 days ago.

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Yoni Heisler

August 9th

Apple

Mac

‘Mayhem’ rules as DARPA’s battle of the machines hits Las Vegas

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What if machines could outsmart would-be attackers to protect national security?

A system called "Mayhem" has clinched the $2 million top prize in DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge in a competition to use software that automatically defends networks against attacks.

In the Cyber Grand Challenge, DARPA challenged the world to create software that can defend networks against attacks without a human typing at a keyboard. This software is designed to identify threats and react to, defend, and seal off vulnerabilities from future attacks.

Last week, the Paris Las Vegas Conference Center became the battleground for the world's first all-machine hacking tournament, the culmination of three years of development and qualifiers. The cyber challenge took place on the eve of the famous DEF CON tournament, where top code slingers from around the world converge annually.

The winning system, “Mayhem,” was created by a team called ForAllSecure, and scored $2 million in prize money. Xandra (made by TECHx) and Mechanical Phish (created by Shellphish) came in second and third and won their human creators $1 million and $750,000 respectively.

The results of the competition were clear. Computer systems – all by themselves thanks to the extraordinary human talent that created them– have the potential to become a powerful force to defend the United States against cyber attacks.

Seven computers face off

Seven high-performance computers played an all-machine Capture the Flag contest for the nearly $4 million in prizes. The competing teams were comprised of white-hat hackers, academics, and private-sector cyber systems experts developed the computers.

Set against Vegas-style glamour, huge machines dominated the stage and commanded the action. The all-day intense competition drew thousands of spectators, and commentators provided analysis as the battle unfolded. The systems for this battle required more power than the entire hotel itself takes to run.

It also required engineering feats to pull of the event itself, as the machines ran so hot that DARPA was running thousands of gallons of cooled water to keep them fighting fit.

The machines did things like probe the security of opponent software, reverse engineer unknown binary software, defend and generate patches – all by themselves without humans directing their responses in real time.

What’s the threat?

From allegations that Russian hackers are influencing a presidential election by hacking the Democratic National Committee to security concerns over the vulnerability of Hillary Clinton’s personal server, the threat of hacking has been in the news a lot lately.

Adversaries come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it is nation-state actors with advanced abilities and resources, or individuals with rudimentary capability, tens of thousands attacks are launched every single day against just the Department of Defense systems alone, for example.

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Attacks are not limited to government systems and military platforms. Attacks are also launched against U.S. companies and even home computers and appliances – anything connected to the internet can make Americans vulnerable to all sorts of damage and loss.

Bugs can go undetected for years and do vast damage in that time. One example is Heartbleed. It rendered an estimated half million of the internet’s secure servers vulnerable to theft and beyond for about two and half years before it was caught.

The machine advantage?

Currently, the world relies on talented cyber experts to hunt down and capture bugs. Hunting and defeating bugs, hacks and other infections could be characterized as an art that requires intellect, expertise, imagination, extraordinary problem solving, determination, and out-of-the-box thinking— and begs the question whether a machine could ever do it.

Defending against threats and scouring millions of code lines to identify and fix vulnerabilities takes massive amounts of man hours and there are a limited number of humans with the skills to do this. Sometimes it can be done very quickly, but more often it can take a year from detection to solution.

And the time to discovery and defeat is something that adversaries can exploit.

By automating the cyber defense process with machines that can discover, confirm and fix software flaws in real-time, would-be hackers would lose a lot of the advantages they currently exploit.

So the seven competing teams had to successfully tackle the monumental task of creating and training machines to do just that. If machines could accelerate the speed of effective response, then they could lead to a powerful force against cyber attacks.

As Program Director Mike Walker noted, "Challenges work not because of the many who can imagine, but because of the few who dare."

DARPA challenges are renowned for sparking leap aheads in innovation, and the Cyber Grand Challenge seems to have done just that.

Walker explained, “For two decades the hacker community has been perfecting a skills contest that lets their best compete head to head: Capture the Flag. Yesterday, we let machines play this contest in a league of their own. We don't know if this new generation of automated security machines will ever stand up to the abilities of the best hackers of the world, but a spark was lit and the road from here will be exciting to watch."

Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book "Future Weapons: Access Granted"  covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.

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FoxNews.com

August 9th

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Machine learning and “molecular Tinder” may change the game for OLED screens

A blue OLED created by the University of Michigan - one of many over the years that does not quite meet demands. To say there are a lot of molecules out there is kind of an understatement. So searching for one or two in particular is like looking for a needle in a galaxy-spanning haystack. Fortunately, the science of machine learning and the irrepressible need for humans to swipe left and right on things make the search a lot easier, as Harvard and MIT researchers have found. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

August 8th

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