Pixelmator 2.4 for iOS brings full iOS 11 compatibility, including HEIF and Drag and Drop support


 

The iOS version of the image editing tool Pixelmator received an update on Tuesday, with version 2.4 “Cobalt” making the app fully compatible with iOS 11, including support for the HEIF format for images and the ability to Drag and Drop files into Pixelmator projects.

A useful addition for iPad users and part of the productivity additions introduced with iOS 11, the ability to use Drag and Drop makes it easier for users to incorporate other media into their Pixelmator compositions. Files can be moved individually or as a group into Pixelmator, including from Split View and the recent files pop-up window from apps located in the Dock.

The addition of High Efficiency Image File (HEIF) support means that Pixelmator is able to use photographs taken on an iPad or an iPhone using the format, instead of JPEG images. Apple introduced HEIF in iOS 11 to improve the compression of images, reducing the amount of an iPhone or iPad’s storage that photographs consume without losing quality, though apps also have to be updated to support images using it.

The Cobalt update also incorporates a number of bug fixes and other improvements, with the developers highlighting four of the main changes in its release notes. One fix related to the app unexpectedly quitting when “zooming in after starting a selection,” while another solves a problem where Pixelmator would occasionally stop responding after the user immediately tries reopening an image after closing it.

The development team also fixed an error where the composition would randomly disappear when layers are added or removed. Lastly, an issue where buttons in the Color and Format popovers would not respond to touches by the user has been cleared up.

Pixelmator for iOS is available in the iOS App Store for $4.99. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 9.1 or later, and takes up 138 megabytes of storage.

The update to the iOS version of Pixelmator echoes similar changes made to the macOS edition earlier in October. Version 3.7 “Mount Whitney” updated the image editor to be fully compatible with macOS High Sierra and added support for HEIF photographs, as well as a number of other integration and performance improvements.

NVIDIA Scores 2 Drone Wins — Including the AI for an E-Commerce Giant’s Delivery Drones | Business Markets and Stocks News

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) is on track — or perhaps we should say on a flight path — to conquer the small unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, space. Within the past month, the graphics-chip specialist has scored two notable artificial-intelligence (AI) wins in this realm.

This is a great news for investors, because the drone space is already rapidly growing — research firm Gartner estimates that the global civil drone market grew 36% to $4.5 billion last year — and is widely expected to explode in size in the coming decade, as companies increasingly adopt drones for deliveries, industrial inspections, and agricultural, entertainment, security, and other purposes.   

It seems to largely fly under many investors’ radars that along with driverless cars and trucks, NVIDIA’s graphics processing units-based approach to deep learning — a burgeoning category of AI in which a machine is trained to make inferences from data as we humans do — can also be used to smarten up drones. 

Here’s what you should know.

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is using NVIDIA’s Jetson AI supercomputer to help usher in a Jetsons-like reality. Image source: Getty Images.

Drone delivery is coming — and NVIDIA is poised to profit 

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com selected NVIDIA’s AI supercomputer Jetson — the name a fun nod to the classic sci-fi cartoon The Jetsons — to power its drone and ground robot delivery initiatives, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced at the company’s recent graphics processing units technology conference in Beijing. 

This partnership presents a huge opportunity for NVIDIA, as JD.com is the second-largest online retailer behind Alibaba in the fast-growing Chinese market. Moreover, the company is 12.1% owned by Wal-Mart — which has steadily been increasing its stake — suggesting to me that if JD.com is pleased with NVIDIA’s products, the world’s largest retailer could adopt the company’s AI for its drone deliveries in the future. 

JD.com’s innovation lab, JD X, has created two delivery vehicles. JDrover is a 4-wheeled robot that JD X is testing for so-called “last-mile deliveries” on college campuses. Turning to JDrone, which is our focus, JD X has launched a pilot program in various Chinese provinces, including Beijing, to use the drones for delivery, agricultural, and search and rescue applications. The lab estimates that it will release more than 1 million drones over the next five years.

Thanks to Jetson’s high performance, low power consumption, small form factor, and advanced vision abilities, JDrones sport impressive capabilities. They can currently fly at up to 100 kilometers per hour, or about 62 miles per hour, and deliver packages weighing up to 30 kilograms, or about 66 pounds. Early test results have been terrific: JD.com has been able to reduce its logistics fees by 70% in rural areas, which have presented a challenge for e-commerce companies because of poor transportation infrastructure. 

Within the next decade or even sooner, it should be a common sight to see drones darting through the skies carrying packages, according to many industry watchers. Despite some challenges, the super-fast speeds at which some consumers will be able to receive their online orders by drone promises to make it a popular delivery method. Amazon.com, for instance, touts that once regulations allow it to roll out Prime Air, the drone service will deliver packages weighing up to 5 pounds within 30 minutes. 

Image source: Getty Images.

GE Venture company deal opens the door to the $40 billion industrial inspection space

Early last month, NVIDIA and Avitas Systems, a General Electric (NYSE: GE) venture, announced that Avitas will use NVIDIA’s AI to optimize its use of drones and other robotic forms for industrial inspections.  Specifically, Avitas is using NVIDIA’s DGX-1 AI supercomputer for AI training and inferencing in the data center, and — because high-speed connectivity to data centers can sometimes be out of reach — it’s also using NVIDIA DGX Station right at the inspection location for making inferences from the video and images obtained by the drones and other robots.  

“Using our latest DGX systems to help train robots and better predict industrial defects increases worker safety, protects the environment, and leads to substantial cost savings for companies,” Jim McHugh, general manager of DGX Systems for NVIDIA said on the company’s blog.

Globally, industrial companies reportedly spend about $40 billion per year to inspect their physical assets, and select huge companies can spend upward of $100 million every year on their industrial inspections. Of course, drones and other robotic forms aren’t likely to entirely replace humans for all industrial inspections, so the total addressable market should be less than $40 billion. In addition to size, the fairly non-elastic nature of this market makes it attractive. Many industrial companies can’t lessen their inspection efforts without falling afoul of regulations and/or risking serious or even catastrophic consequences. 

Wrapping it up

Drones are not new, as the military has used them for some time. However, thanks to several factors, including rapidly decreasing costs and a vast improvement in sensors and AI computing power in recent years, the applications for civil drones are already expanding and are expected to explode as regulations around the globe — particularly in the U.S. — become more favorable. 

While projections for the drone market vary quite a bit by source, Gartner estimates that global revenue from sales of drones for the civil market will grow 34% to $6 billion in 2017 and then nearly double to $11.2 billion by 2020. 

While it’s still early in the game, NVIDIA is positioning itself to profit from the fast-growing drone space.

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Apple reveals new emojis coming with iOS 11.1, including “I love you” hand sign

Apple released iOS 11 barely a month ago, but emoji lovers are eagerly awaiting its first major update. Apple revealed a bunch of new emoji that will come to iOS devices with the release of iOS 11.1. The new characters are adaptations from Unicode 10, which added 56 new emoji.

A quick look into Apple’s new emojis shows a triad of new “genderless” emoji with various skin colors and age differences. The release also brings a group of new clothing emoji, which include a hat, scarf, gloves, and trench coat.

New food icons include broccoli, dim sum, pie, and a traditional “takeout” container. There’s also a selection of new mythical characters, including a fairy, mermaid, vampire, and wizard, for those of us who would rather live in a fantasy world whenever possible. Apple will also include some emoji announced on World Emoji Day (July 17), like Woman with Headscarf, Bearded Person, and Breastfeeding.

Arguably one of the most useful new emoji is the American Sign Language hand sign for “I love you.” It’s a welcome addition to the emoji library, as many activists have petitioned for it for a while now (just don’t confuse it with the “rock on” metalhead emoji that already exists).

Developer and public betas of the iOS 11.1 update will be pushed out next week, but there’s no word on when the update will be officially released to the public.

Listing image by Apple

The 4 Biggest iPhone X Unknowns, Including Face ID’s Performance

There are plenty of good reasons to think the iPhone X will at least be Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) biggest hit since the iPhone 6. In terms of looks, it’s hands-down Apple’s most stunning iPhone to date. And for anyone looking to upgrade from an iPhone 6S or older phone — that’s most of the addressable market, given the pace of smartphone upgrade rates — it delivers big improvements in display and camera quality, traditionally the two biggest drivers of smartphone upgrades. There’s also a major processing power boost, improved battery life and a few neat augmented reality features.

But there are also a few big remaining question marks for Apple’s latest flagship phone. Some have gotten a decent amount of attention, others much less so. They go as follows:

1. How quickly supply constraints will lift.

Widespread reports of iPhone X production challenges have dinged Apple shares the past two weeks, The Wall Street Journal reports of major challenges related to assembling the infrared dot projector modules (codenamed Romeo) that make up part of 3D face-mapping system used to enable the X’s Face ID face-unlocking system. Japan’s Nikkei also reports of limited production for 3D-sensing parts, and cites one source as saying the X is “being produced in small quantities, around tens of thousands daily.” That fits with what KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo previously suggested.

Raymond James, Rosenblatt Securities, Digitimes and others have also reported of production issues. RJ indicates iPhone X mass-production is due to start in mid-October, or about 2 months later than was expected at the end of June; Digitimes reports orders to component suppliers have been slashed.

Major supply constraints on Oct. 27 — the day iPhone X pre-orders start — won’t necessarily do massive damage, particularly given how much pent-up interest there is in the X. But if major constraints persist into December and consumers start wondering whether iPhone X orders will ship in time for their purchases to be unwrapped on Christmas morning, some of those consumers just might start exploring their options.

2. How reliably Face ID will perform.

Face ID, which relies on the front camera, a dot projector, an infrared camera and (at night) an infrared flood illuminator, is easily much more advanced than the face-unlocking features built to date into Android phones. Apple insists one can’t trick Face ID with a user’s photo, nor can it work when a user’s eyes are closed. The company also promises Face ID can work if a user is wearing a hat or glasses, or if he or she attempts to unlock a phone at an angle.

But it isn’t enough for Face ID to be better than face-unlocking alternatives. It also needs to be as quick and reliable as the Touch ID fingerprint sensors built into iPhones and iPads in recent years, given that the iPhone X lacks a Touch ID sensor (the company reportedly encountered issues in its attempts to put one underneath the X’s OLED display). That’s plausible given all of the technology Face ID relies on, but it’s also a high bar.

Apple has had plenty of controversies over the years about unexpected problems (sometimes exaggerated in scope) with new iPhones. The 2012 Apple Maps debacle is probably the biggest of the bunch, but we’ve also seen things like bendgate and and antennagate. Hopefully “facegate” or something to the effect won’t be added to the lexicon of Apple customers and investors.

3. How much steep overseas prices will act as a deterrent.

With its 64GB model going for $999 and its 256GB model for $1,149, the iPhone X’s pricing already pushes the envelope in the U.S.. But things are often much worse overseas, due to steep sales taxes and/or tariffs.

The 64GB model sells for the U.S. equivalent of $1,280 in China, $1,325 in the U.K., $1,390 in India and over $1,300 in many eurozone markets. More modest price deltas can be found for Canada and Japan.

To be fair, U.S. sales taxes will tack on about $60 or $80 to iPhone X prices for many stateside consumers. But on the whole, the phone is still meaningfully cheaper in the U.S. than in most overseas markets.

Thanks partly to installment plan adoption, high-end phone buyers have been getting more comfortable paying over $800 to get their hands on flagship devices — a fact reflected not only by the iPhone X’s pricing, but that of phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, LG’s V30 and (reportedly) Alphabet Inc./Google’s (GOOGL) Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. But the laws of price elasticity still apply to this market, and Tim Cook’s company seems to be testing them in certain foreign locales.

4. Whether the iPhone X’s design and user interface changes will cause headaches.

This is unlikely to be a major problem, but it could annoy some early iPhone X buyers and produce some negative press. Since it didn’t provide the iPhone X with a home button (or the fingerprint sensor normally built into one) in order to pack an edge-to-edge display, and since the phone also doesn’t support the touch-based buttons (softkeys) found at the bottom of Android phone displays, Apple requires X owners to swipe up from the bottom of the display to access the home screen, and to swipe up halfway to switch between open apps. And users have to swipe down from the top right-hand corner to access iOS 11’s Control Center.

That’s going to take some getting used to for many iPhone owners. And in the short-term, the swipe-up gestures will likely lead to accidental presses of controls placed at the bottom of iOS apps. Apple has issued new app design guidelines meant to address this issue, but some developers are bound to adopt them sooner than others.

Likewise, the notch protruding into the top of the X’s display — it houses the front camera and 3D-sensing modules — could obscure part of a video or game’s imagery, as well as portions of other content viewed in landscape mode. Once more, developers should eventually fix this issue, but some complaints are likely to pop up in the interim.

Apple macOS Software, Including High Sierra, Affected by Bug

A security researcher has uncovered a vulnerability in Apple’s Mac operating system that could expose passwords stored in the software’s Keychain. The discovery comes just as Apple launched its newest version of macOS, called High Sierra, on Sept. 25.

Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack, posted a video demonstrating the bug on Sept. 25 and reported the issue to Apple earlier this month, according to reports from ZDNet and Gizmodo which first reported the findings. The video shows how an app could be used to extract plain text passwords for services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Bank of America from a Mac’s Keychain without requiring a master password. Apple is currently investigating the proof-of-concept shown in Wardle’s video.

The Keychain is an encrypted container in Apple’s macOS software for storing passwords and account information so that the user doesn’t have to remember and manage them. Although Wardle exploited the issue in High Sierra, he noted that other versions of macOS are also vulnerable.

Both signed and unsigned apps can exploit this vulnerability, Wardle said on Twitter, meaning that even apps with Apple’s stamp of approval that are distributed through the App Store may be able to carry out an attack. But Apple said in a statement that running an app like the one in Wardle’s video would require “explicit approval” from the user. “macOS is designed to be secure by default, and Gatekeeper warns users against installing unsigned apps, like the one shown in this proof of concept, and prevents them from launching the app without explicit approval,” an Apple spokesperson said to TIME. “We encourage users to download software only from trusted sources like the Mac App Store, and to pay careful attention to security dialogs that macOS presents.” Apple also has the authority to revoke developer certification for signed apps at any time if program is found to be behaving maliciously.

Apple launched a bug bounty program in 2016 to encourage developers and researchers to report security issues. But a report from Motherboard indicated the program may be faltering since hackers can get more money by selling their discoveries elsewhere.

This isn’t the first time researchers have discovered security flaws in Apple’s Keychain. Back in 2015, University of Indiana computer science professor XiaoFeng Wang found that hackers could access the Keychain and interfere with a user’s passwords.

New details about the cancelled Pilotwings game for Wii, including head tracking glasses peripheral

New details about the cancelled Pilotwings game for Wii, including head tracking glasses peripheral

Posted on September 23, 2017 by Brian(@NE_Brian)
in News, Wii

Factor 5 almost delivered a new Pilotwings game on two separate occasions. The first instance was during the GameCube era, when the studio imagined a title that would have taken place in the real world during the height of the Cold War.

The second time a partnership with Nintendo almost emerged was following Factor 5’s relationship with Sony and after the release of Wii. In contrast to what had been planned for the GameCube, the Wii project had a lighter tone. Factor 5 was interested in creating an open world loosely based on Earth with various aircraft and missions.

One of the most interesting details to have been uncovered is a potential new Wii peripheral. Factor 5 wanted to work with Nintendo on a licensed glasses accessory that would be able to track head movement. By tilting your head, you’d be able to control the in-game camera.

Nintendo ultimately turned down Factor 5’s potential Pilotwings game for Wii. However, the team continued to work on the project, and wanted to rework it into an original IP. The game was first known as Sky internally, then Wii Flight, and later WiiFly. The final name change was WeFly with Nintendo saying that WiiFly would have infringed upon the trademark for the “Wii” series.

Despite Nintendo not signing off on the game as a new Pilotwings, they were still involved somewhat as they allowed Factor 5 to incorporate Miis, worked with them on using data from the Wii Forecast Channel, and were apparently still on board to produce the head tracking glasses. But in the end, the entire game was scrapped after Factor 5 was forced to close.

You can find more details about the cancelled Pilotwings game for Wii from Unseen64 below.

CCleaner malware operators targeted tech firms including Cisco, Microsoft, Samsung

pd6.jpg

File Photo

The threat actors behind the use of malware embedded in CCleaner have targeted large tech firms for their intellectual property.

According to the security team at Cisco Systems, Cisco was only one of many companies that hackers attempted to compromise. Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Sony, and Intel, among others, were potentially also at risk.

The CCleaner breach, disclosed earlier this week, involved cyberattackers modifying legitimate versions of the software to contain malware. It is estimated that the tainted version of the popular Android and Windows PC cleaner has been downloaded roughly 2.27 million times, or by up to three percent of overall users.

Piriform, the makers of CCleaner, was snapped up by Avast in July this year. Avast believes the platform was targeted before the buyout was complete.

The affected version is 5.33.6162, designed for 32-bit Windows machines, released on 15 August, as well as a version of CCleaner Cloud, released on 24 August.

“The compromised version of CCleaner was released on August 15 and went undetected by any security company for four weeks, underscoring the sophistication of the attack,” Avast said earlier this week. “In our view, it was a well-prepared operation and the fact that it didn’t cause harm to users is a very good outcome.”

The malware’s command-and-control (C&C) server was taken down once the threat was detected; however, Cisco said late on Wednesday that this is not the end of the story.

According to the Cisco Talos security team, the C&C record shows a payload deployment list which includes a list of organizations “specifically targeted through delivery of a second-stage loader.”

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Cisco

Based on a review of the C&C’s tracking database — which covers only four days in September — at least 20 victim machines from these companies were in line to be served secondary payloads.

“This would suggest a very focused actor after valuable intellectual property,” the team says. “These new findings raise our level of concern about these events, as elements of our research point towards a possible unknown, sophisticated actor.”

The C&C server contained PHP files responsible for handling communication between infected PCs and threat actors. The server would implement a series of checks in order to avoid the efforts of security researchers as well as gather information from infected systems, such as OS version, architecture, and whether admin rights were in play. This information was then stored in an SQL database.

If a system met the malware’s requirements, the second payload would be deployed to create a backdoor and potentially pave the way for attackers to steal information and spy on the target companies.

“The web server also contains a second PHP file (init.php) that defines core variables and operations used,” Cisco says. “Interestingly, this configuration specifies “PRC” as the time zone, which corresponds with People’s Republic of China (PRC). It’s important to note that this cannot be relied on for attribution.”

No damage may have been detected as of yet, but the addition of these C&C instructions does suggest the breach is more serious than first believed. Targeting high-profile targets with a seemingly innocuous and innocent piece of software is a clever method, but seeking information from these groups suggests that the general public is not the true focus of the campaign.

While Avast has recommended that consumers update to a clean version of the software and remove the tainted version, Cisco has gone further in recommendations to companies which may have been involved.

“Those impacted by this supply chain attack should not simply remove the affected version of CCleaner or update to the latest version, but should restore from backups or reimage systems to ensure that they completely remove not only the backdoored version of CCleaner but also any other malware that may be resident on the system,” the company said.

Update 11.56BST:

Avast has published additional findings on the situation.

In a blog post, the security firm said 20 machines in a total of eight companies were targeted, “but given that the logs were only collected for little over three days, the actual number of computers that received the 2nd stage payload was likely at least in the order of hundreds.”

“This is a change from our previous statement, in which we said that to the best of our knowledge, the 2nd stage payload never delivered,” Avast added.

In addition, the security firm says that the attack was a “typical” watering hole attack, which deployed malicious DLLs designed to inject malicious functionality into legitimate DLL systems.

Previous and related coverage

Barclays Proposes Apple Could Lessen iPhone 8 Pricing Impact by Including Apple Music/iCloud Bundle

Leading up to Apple’s September 12 media event, the exact price tag of the upcoming iPhone 8 has been one of the biggest question marks surrounding the smartphone. The latest rumors describe a premium device that will start at $999 (64GB) in the United States, then rise to $1,099 (256GB), and cap at $1,199 (512GB), although of course none of these price points or storage configurations have been confirmed.

Recently, a team of Barclays analysts including Mark Moskowitz have theorized one potential solution for the device’s premium price tag: Apple could debut an iPhone 8 bundle that packs in a year’s worth of Apple Music and a 200GB iCloud subscription into the cost of the smartphone (via Business Insider). In the U.S., one year of Apple Music costs around $120 at $10/month (although Apple sells gift cards that knock the annual price down to $100/year), while a 200GB monthly iCloud subscription runs at $2.99/month, equating to around $36 each year.


Taken from the cost of the alleged “cheapest” iPhone 8 at $1,000, users would actually be paying about $844 for the smartphone and $156 for the bundled services, which the Barclays analysts said would be “more palatable.” Barclays’ prediction is based on a survey of wireless service customers (see results chart below), which found that Apple “might” sell around 40.3 million standalone iPhone 8 devices, but with the Apple Music/iCloud bundle that statistic could jump to 64.4 million iPhone 8 units sold.

“Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz and his team think they have figured that out. Apple will offer free subscriptions to Apple Music and 200GB of iCloud storage for one year, a deal worth $156, to anyone who buys iPhone 8. That will bring the perceived cost of the phone back down to a more palatable $844.

While a bundle like this would be a logical move by Apple, locking iPhone 8 customers into the company’s ever-growing services ecosystem, Barclays’ report is just a prediction and has not yet been corroborated by any other sources as a potential launch plan. In the past, Barclays has gotten close at reporting the facts about unreleased products, but has missed some details. In November 2016, Barclays Research analysts predicted three new iPads would come in March 2017, including refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions and an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model.


Only a new 9.7-inch iPad launched in March of this year, while a 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro debuted at Apple’s WWDC event in June. Analysts at Barclays have made a handful of predictions that can’t yet be rated for accuracy since they concern the iPhone 8, including an expected “limited quantity” September launch, the inclusion of a True Tone display, a Lightning to headphone jack adapter in the box, and faster charging thanks to a 10W power adapter with a USB-C connector and an integrated USB-C Power Delivery chip.

In a separate report today by DigiTimes, Taiwanese supply chain sources have corroborated many of the current rumors surrounding the iPhone 8’s pre-order date and price range. Taiwan is said to be “included in the first group of markets” where the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and iPhone 7s Plus will be made available for pre-order, with customers in Taiwan reportedly able to place their pre-order on September 15, the sources said. This date makes sense when looking back at the past five years of iPhone launch history.

Like previous reports, DigiTimes cites iPhone 8 prices at $999, $1,099, and $1,199 levels, with storage capacities of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB, respectively. Samsung’s monopoly of the OLED supply chain has been rumored as the explanation behind these high iPhone 8 prices. As is typical with new iPhones, the iPhone 8’s launch is expected to be riddled with shortages and shipping delays, and could even ship sometime after the LCD iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s models.

Fortunately, we’re only four days away from Apple’s September 12 event, where the company will reveal more information about the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, 4K Apple TV, Apple Watch Series 3, and more.

Elon Musk promises an update on Mars plan – including how he’ll fund it – GeekWire

SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System liftoff
An artist’s conception shows SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System lifting off with a refueling tanker sitting beside it. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s vision to send a million people to Mars is now in print, but the billionaire visionary says he’s already working on an update.

The newly published print version, appearing on the New Space website, recaps Musk’s 95-minute talk at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico last September – during which he laid out a decades-long plan to develop and launch fleets of giant spaceships to Mars, each carrying 100 passengers at a time.

The presentation has been online in video form for months, with accompanying slides, but the text-plus-graphics version is arguably easier to scan and digest. It’ll be available for free through July 5, after which time it’ll presumably be downloadable for a fee in the range of $51.

“Publishing this paper provides not only an opportunity for the spacefaring community to read the SpaceX vision in print with all the charts in context, but also serves as a valuable archival reference for future studies and planning,” former NASA executive Scott Hubbard, New Space’s editor-in-chief, said in a news release.

The 16-page printed plan suggests missions to Mars could lift off from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which SpaceX is leasing. “In the future, we expect to add additional launch locations, probably adding one on the south coast of Texas,” Musk wrote.

In a couple of tweets sent out today, Musk said Version 2 will be coming out soon:

In the past, Musk has mentioned three ways to cover what’s sure to be the multibillion-dollar cost of development and operation:

  • Satellite broadband revenue: Once SpaceX’s satellite constellation swings into operation to provide global internet access, the company expects the network to generate tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. SpaceX’s engineering center in Redmond, Wash., is playing a lead role in developing the constellation. When Musk laid out the satellite plan during a 2015 visit to Seattle, he promised the proceeds would “help fund a city on Mars.”
  • Passenger fares: Passengers will pay a six figures for their trips to Mars. Musk said the cost for an Apollo-style trip would be $10 billion or more per person, but he hoped to get the price tag down to $200,000 or less. “This is not easy,” he acknowledged. Musk’s key technologies for economizing include full rocket reusability, in-space refueling and methane propellant production on Mars.
  • Public-private-personal partnership: Musk said there were “many people in the private sector who are interested in helping to fund a base on Mars.” Government funding is likely to be available as well. And Musk noted that “the main reason I am personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this.” His net worth is currently estimated at more than $17 billion.

SpaceX is already laying out money to develop and test the methane-fueled Raptor rocket engines that would be used on Mars-bound spaceships, as well as the giant carbon-composite propellant tanks that would be required. (Not long ago, one tank was “tested to failure” on a barge based at Anacortes, Wash.)

So what else does Musk have up his sleeve? Stay tuned for V2.

Samsung teases the Note 8’s dual-camera features including 3x optical zoom as phone passes through FCC

The revival of the Note series in the Galaxy Note 8 is one of the most highly-anticipated releases this fall, and among other things, one of the phone’s most interesting features is the dual-camera system. While we’ve seen several OEMs adopt this feature to varying levels of success, Samsung’s first mainstream dual-camera is one to be excited about, even though we haven’t known anything about what it can do. That is, until today.

The best gifts for Android users

Samsung-Electro Mechanics is rumored to be supplying the Note 8’s dual-camera system, and recently, some material on SEM’s website revealed a few features that the cameras are capable of. The company highlights four primary uses for the dual-sensors which include zoom, perspective, low light, and depth.

Zoom is arguably the most impressive option here based on the examples shown. SEM details the difference between standard 3x digital zoom and 3x optical zoom in the demo, meaning that this sensor is capable of 3x optical zoom, something that we’ve yet to see. As you can see in the demo, the levels of sharpness seen between digital and optical zoom are very significant.

Another feature detailed is perspective shift. Since the system takes shots from two slightly different angles, Samsung has the option to use software in the Note 8 to create an image which can adjust the perspective slightly with input. This could be a touch-based interaction, but the material hints at the ability to adjust it based on rotating the actual device in its entirety.

Further, low light photography gets an edge thanks to this system, with what Samsung calls “Super Night Shot.” As seen in the demo, a single sensor may not capture enough light, but with two sensors, the device can pull in more light in dark environments. That leads to a more detailed image with brighter colors.

Lastly, SEM details the ability to pull depth from dual-cameras. This is something that’s not new, but with that information, the Note 8 could offer the ability to refocus shots after taking them, or even make measurements. This could come in handy especially if Samsung decides to take a stab at the AR game.

While none of these features are 100% confirmed for the Note 8, it feels likely that we’ll see them. It’s not unlike Samsung to go above and beyond with a new feature, and these abilities seem right up its alley.

Along with that, the Galaxy Note 8 was also recently spotted making a run through the FCC. While it doesn’t provide us with any new information, it does help confirm that the phone’s retail release isn’t too far away.


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