XPRIZE seeks high-tech solutions to California’s fire problems

The fire season is just a few weeks away here in California, and it’s expected to be worse than ever. But there’s a new plan in the works to help catch fires before they get out of control. XPRIZE is organizing a public competition for technology that can quickly find and extinguish wildland fires.

Announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom and XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis on Friday at the Near Future Summit in San Diego, the competition will be open to any company and inventor in the world.

“It’ll be head-to-head between companies, and if one can detect and extinguish a fire in a repeatable fashion, then it becomes technology that every farm, every piece of land [can get],” Diamandis explained on stage. “Let’s reinvent what has been an old form of fire suppression — of people putting themselves in danger.”

Instead of the remote (and decaying) fire lookouts like the one that Jack Kerouac lived in on Desolation Peak, this wildland firefighter turned tech writer imagines Internet [...]  read more

How technology has transformed workplace communication

Technological innovation has driven human progress for hundreds of years, with the pace of advancement continuously increasing. In the last two centuries we’ve gone from steam-powered machines and the industrial revolution to the internet and the information age, with the worldwide web now connecting nearly every corner of the globe. Thanks to this period of …

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Millions of Hacked Routers, Apple’s Court Troubles, and More News

Your Cisco routers aren’t safe, the Supreme Court voted against Apple, and the nostalgic Tomagotchi has returned. Here’s the tech news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

Today’s Headlines

Hackers found a way into Cisco devices. Millions of them

Everyone uses Cisco routers, including institutions that deal with hypersensitive information. Researchers have now disclosed a remote attack that would allow a hacker to take over some of these routers and compromise all the data and commands that flow through them. The hack undermines a security feature that has been in nearly every Cisco device since 2013, which puts hundreds of millions of devices at risk.

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to Apple

The case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper, concerns a group of iPhone users who are accusing Apple of driving up the price of apps by charging third-party app developers a 30 percent commission. The case had been struck [...]  read more

4K vs 8K: Is it worth upgrading to Full UHD?

We all know the feeling: you’ve saved up all your dollars and cents in order to buy that state-of-the-art new television you’ve had your eye on, and shortly after you’ve purchased said TV, a new wave of next-generation TVs is announced which promises to outperform your set in absolutely every way.

Where currently in that situation with 4K vs 8K TVs, and while having widespread access to true 8K UHD content is a long way off (we’re talking years here), many TV manufacturers are hoping that the impressive upscaling and greater clarity offered by this first wave of 8K sets will be enough to convince enthusiasts that they can already benefit from owning one.

In an effort to demonstrate the difference in visual fidelity between its top 4K and 8K TV models, we were invited to Samsung’s Australian headquarters to spend a few hours viewing both sets side-by-side. Here’s what we took away from our time comparing Samsung’s Q9F [...]  read more

WhatsApp exploit let attackers install government-grade spyware on phones

WhatsApp just fixed a vulnerability that allowed malicious actors to remotely install spyware on affected phones, and an unknown number reportedly did so with a commercial-grade snooping package usually sold to nation-states.

The vulnerability (documented here) was discovered by the Facebook-owned WhatsApp in early May, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. It apparently leveraged a bug in the audio call feature of the app to allow the caller to allow the installation of spyware on the device being called, whether the call was answered or not.

The spyware in question that was detected as having been installed was Israel-based NSO Group’s Pegasus, which is usually (ostensibly) licensed to governments looking to infect targets of investigations and gain access to various aspects of their devices.

This is, as you can imagine, an extremely severe security hole, and it is difficult to fix the window during which it was open, or how many people were affected by it. Without knowing exactly what [...]  read more