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AT&T raises data caps for U-Verse and GigaPower to 1TB per month

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in mobile on (#1NZJ6)
AT&T announced on Friday that the company will be providing 1TB of data a month to U-Verse customers, at speeds up to 300 megabits per second starting August 21st. This should be enough data to stream more than 13 hours of HD video content per day.

AT&T will, however, charge customers if they go over their monthly allowance. For $10, customers can get an additional 50GB of data during the current billing cycle. According to the company, the maximum monthly overage charge is $100, which works out to 500GB of additional data. Customers will not be charged overage fees during the month they initially break through the data cap. In the following month, customers will receive warnings when they hit 65-percent, 90-percent, and 100-percent overages, but won’t see overage charges on their bill.

To bypass all this data limit mess, U-Verse customers without DirecTV or the U-Verse TV service can get unlimited data in the home for an additional $30 a month. Cheryl Choy, VP of data and voice products, said that these customers can switch to the unlimited plan anytime they want, even during the middle of a billing cycle.

Device makes single doses of drugs on demand

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in science on (#1NWXS)
A portable device may allow doctors to create single doses of biopharmaceutical medications on demand, potentially speeding the treatment of diseases that include diabetes and cancer. The system, described in the journal Nature Communications, can currently produce two biologic drugs from a single yeast strain in the device, creating near-single-dose production in less than 24 hours with limited infrastructure.

The potential use for the device is significant, as it can be used for everything from treatments on a battlefield where immediate care is required to prevention of a disease outbreak in a remote village, said Tim Lu, an associate professor of biological engineering and electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

"Imagine you were on Mars or in a remote desert, without access to a full formulary, you could program the yeast to produce drugs on demand locally," Lu said.

Serious limitations In Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Iris Scanner

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in security on (#1NS07)
The iris scanner in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a welcome step forward in device security, but according to Samsung it comes with a long list of caveats. The iris recognition system uses three lenses to capture the image signal, but iris scanner may not work if you wear glasses or contacts, use it in low light conditions, if you've had eye surgeries such as LASIK, LASEK, intraocular lens implants or if you've had iris scar treatment. The performance of the iris scanner may also be affected if the user has an eye disease that affects the irises. You also need to be able to position the phone "25 to 30 centimeters from your face" with your eyes in the on-screen circles so the front-facing scanner can register your iris, something that may be awkward to do in a moving vehicle or while walking.

The Coming Internet-Of-Things Horror Show

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in internet on (#1NNSC)
Like many others, Bruce Schneier is sounding the alarm that the Internet of Things security nightmare isn't just about things like poor or non-existent security for thermostats: rather, that "software control" of an ever-widening pool of interconnected devices and systems designed to act without human intervention creates an urgent threat the likes of which we've never seen.

Schneier says, "A recent Princeton survey found 500,000 insecure devices on the internet. That number is about to explode. Autonomy. Increasingly, our computer systems are autonomous. They buy and sell stocks, turn the furnace on and off, regulate electricity flow through the grid, and—in the case of driverless cars—automatically pilot multi-ton vehicles to their destinations. Autonomy is great for all sorts of reasons, but from a security perspective it means that the effects of attacks can take effect immediately, automatically, and ubiquitously."

Yahoo sells internet business to Verizon in $4.8B deal

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in internet on (#1NFC8)
Yahoo has sold off its operating business for about $4.8 billion to Verizon Communications in a cash deal that will reduce the storied tech company to mainly holding its cash, valuable stake in Alibaba, Yahoo Japan and non-core patents. Once a mainstay of the internet, Yahoo steadily declined in popularity and relevance as it failed to keep up with its competitors. For $4.8 billion, Verizon will get Yahoo’s 1 billion monthly active users, its internet properties and key applications like search, email, and Yahoo's advertising systems. Yahoo will get yet another chance to reinvent itself and possibly find a way to make itself relevant in today's market. No word on if president and Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer will be retained.

Low earth orbit Is getting crowded and no one is directing traffic

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in space on (#1NF9E)
story imageCompanies around the globe are launching an increasing number of satellites, crowding Earth’s orbit in an effort to satisfy the ravenous on-demand desire for more broadband, satellite television and communications, but there's nobody directing the traffic. Although the Pentagon tracks objects orbiting the globe and warns of close approaches, some members of Congress say a civilian agency, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, should be made responsible for managing satellite traffic.

There have only been three relatively minor collisions from space junk in the last 20 years, and only once have two intact satellites crashed into one another by accident. The problem is expected to get worse as more companies scramble to expand their fleets of satellites. For example, Boeing filed an application last month with the FCC that would allow it to send up nearly 3,000 satellites for broadband services.

In an effort to help manage the rapid expansion of satellites, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) has introduced legislation that would give the FAA authority to monitor objects in space and play the role of traffic cop. “As space becomes more congested and contested and competitive, there needs to be an agency with unambiguous authority that can compel somebody to maneuver,” Bridenstine said. Douglas Loverro, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, agrees: “It’s clear that we’re going to need a way to regulate that traffic just as we have a way to regulate air traffic,” he said.

Google tweaks Play Store algorithm to shrink app updates by up to 50 percent

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in code on (#1NCXD)
Google is claiming that updates to apps in the Android Play Store may soon become much smaller due to their use of a new algorithm named “Courgette” developed from bsdiff. The algorithm can reduce the size of patches by up to 50% according to Google, and they have previously been using it for updates to the desktop Chrome browser.

Previously when an app needed to be updated the entire app would have to be downloaded and installed, essentially replacing the existing version. Google has been using diff versioning since 2012, but this new algorithm takes advantage of the ways in which compiled native code changes between versions. This is most effective when libraries are stored uncompressed, but even compressed code can still potentially see a 5% decrease in data usage. Although a 5% savings isn't a dramatic change, every little bit helps, especially with limited data plans.
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