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May 24, 2020 - Episode 562 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, cops can't see your screen, Facebook can sell your products, and Netflix cancels inactive subscriptions.

Intel Core i9 10900K - Episode 228 (Piltch Point)

Intel has released its newest processor, the Comet Lake-S Core i9-10900K. This new processor is intended to help fight off the rising threat of AMD's Ryzen processors. AMD has seen a huge rise, especially in the realm of high core count. The new Intel processor attempts to match this move, by including ten cores and, out of box clocks in at 4.9 GHz.

Obviously, with specs like that, the processor is not intended for an average consumer. The 10900K is aimed at enthusiasts, power users, and gamers. While it doesn't match AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X in terms of threaded performance, it does make it for it in overall performance as well as price. The Ryzen 3950X is currently retailing for $709, while the Intel 10900K is retailing for $529.

Intel's newest processor does have some downsides, however. First and foremost, it still uses 14-nanometer architecture, which is generations behind where AMD is on its 7-nanometer architecture. This means that to produce the same result, the power consumption is lower. This is a standard rule of processors - smaller transistors use less power. This processor does not buck that trend at all, being the most power-hungry processor that Tom's Hardware has seen in recent times.

With more power consumption comes more heat generation. That means that it takes more work to keep the processor cool. If you're going to build a quiet PC, either for streaming or just to maintain your own sanity, this processor will provide a bigger challenge. Intel rates the processor for 250W at peak performance, and the review even measured peaks as high as 325W at out-of-the-box settings. That is a massive increase over the previous generation, caused almost entirely because of the continued use of the 14-nanometer architecture design decision.

For the full review, head over to Tom's Hardware.

Since the rise in popularity of biometric security features on mobile devices, whether fingerprint or facial recognition, the legal ramifications have been front and center. While forcing someone to reveal a password or PIN was legally identified as revealing personal and proprietary information, what about looking at a camera? That is not an extraordinary action, similar to walking a line during a traffic stop. Luckily, last year, that issue was laid to rest, with a court decision saying that it required a warrant.

However, there is still some information that can be retrieved without unlocking a device. That information is contained on the lock screen and notification tray. It requires nothing more than the push of a button by anyone nearby to reveal text messages, emails, missed calls or voicemails, and more. The legality of law enforcement being able to retrieve this information without a warrant has been a grey area, but that seems to have come to an end - somewhat.

According to a legal ruling this week, the simple act of turning on the screen of a mobile device is classified as a search and, as such, requires a search warrant. The ruling comes through a District Court in Seattle, who was petitioned to suppress mobile phone data obtained via the lock screen of the device without a search warrant. The judge, John C. Coughenour, ruled that the data was obtained illegally, with the search violating the petitioner's 4th Amendment rights.

This ruling is important, especially for the district over which the court presides. Because of the level of the court, it is far from a standing precedent, but can be used in other courts as past evidence of support. It does not mean that any court, either at the same level or above, is required to follow this ruling. It is the beginning of a very positive legal movement of protection against overreaching law enforcement at a time when the government is trying to expand the capabilities of law enforcement.

May 17, 2020 - Episode 561 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Microsoft is seeing double, Epic Games' licensing is getting Unreal, and Google is in the crosshairs.

NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit - Episode 227 (Piltch Point)

NVIDIA has added a new developer kit to its hardware lineup, called the Jetson Xavier NX. This new board is designed to allow developers to integrate artificial intelligence skills into a hardware project without the need for internet access or custom-designed hardware. Built in to the kit is a couple of common demoes, such as human detection, skeleton mapping, and attention tracking.

In addition to the included models, the Jetson Xavier NX is able to be trained for any AI workload. Perhaps you're building a scanner for an airport that verifies official identification versus forged documents. Or, maybe you're letting passengers know that their driver's license doesn't conform to the new REAL ID system, which will be required in 2021. You can train your system on-board or through an external AI training system and import the model into the device.

The most exciting aspect of this product is the ability to do all this AI training and processing live on the device without internet access. Because connectivity is never guaranteed, and speed and access can vary based on time of day, relying on internet access can be a limiting factor for AI. If you're building hardware for a factoring or manufacturing facility that may be deployed in a developing country, being able to use AI while off the grid can be the difference between market success and a bricked platform.

Once you have developed your application and are ready for system deployment, you can get just the Jetson Xavier NX deployment board and integrate it into your own custom hardware. This reduces the size and cost of the device, plus gives you greater flexibility in your deployment scheme. The developer board is available now for $399 and the deployment module will be available soon.

Surface Duo leak suggests a unique, but basic Android device

2019 began the era of the folding phone. Samsung took a side by side approach to the concept, while Motorola took a top to bottom approach. While both were different, they were variations on the same theme: one piece of bendable screen. Microsoft also announced an entry in the folding phone category, but they took a very different approach to the concept. Rather than trying to bend glass and LCD panels, Microsoft's Surface Duo decided to take a page from the Kyocera Echo's book and simply have two distinct screens.

Sprint announced the Echo in February 2011 and made it available for sale in April 2011, and the phone was the first dual-screen Android device. It folded in the middle and looked similar to a Nintendo DS. Microsoft's Surface Duo is a significantly updated version of the concept which is scheduled to release later this year. Despite the looming release and the device being used daily by Microsoft employees, we have heard very little from Microsoft on the specs of the device.

So far we know that the device has two 5.6-inch displays, each with a resolution of 1800x1350. The screens support Surface Pen, which makes it worthy of the Surface name. The width of the device is 4.8mm. And that's all we have known for some time. That changed this week, in a way, with a leak to Windows Central. The leak comes care of someone testing the device and likely shows the final hardware for the product.

The missing specs include a Snapdragon 855 SoC, 6GB of system RAM, and configurations including 6$GB and 256GB of storage. Like too many modern phones, it will offer no external storage. It will, however, offer a USB-C connector, something that Microsoft is finally coming around on with its modern devices. The phone will feature a single 11MP camera on the back, meaning that it will likely not have any facial recognition capabilities. It will, however, offer fingerprint security.

With the specs finally out, though unofficially, we can assume that Microsoft is close to complete on the device. That could mean that the rumors of an earlier launch of the Surface Duo might be true.

May 3, 2020 - Episode 560 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Steam is leaving the orchard, Bezos is headed to Congress, and Universal is not invited to the AMC party.

Great Raspberry Pi Projects for May 2020 - Episode 226 (Piltch Point)

Whether you're a regular maker or you're looking for new things to try while in lockdown, the Raspberry Pi is a great platform to expiriment with. This board is made for both prototyping as well as learning, and this week, Tom's Hardware has some great advanced projects as well as simple projects.

In the more advanced project category, there are truly a ton of interesting and unique projects. Some are more conceptual while others are designed to improve your daily life. Take, for example, Raspbian XP - a version of the Raspbian operating system designed to look like Windows XP. If you miss the bizarre blue taskbar and green Start button, then this project is for you. However, it's not going to change your day. However, if you're looking to get into shape, HIIT Pi: The Raspberry Pi Personal Trainer might be a legitimate project for you. This uses computer vision to make sure you are doing the moves correctly, like how a personal trainer would in a gym.

If you're looking for a simpler project, perhaps one you can do with your kids, then the second category is intended for you. These projects take advantage of a diverse add-on board, known as the Sense HAT. This board has sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure, magnetic forces, orientation, acceleration. In addition, it has an 8x8 LED pixel matrix which can be used for pictures, words, and more. Learning to use the sensors is easy and can be done using the Scratch 3 block-based programming environment.

Tom's Hardware will help walk you through setting up the device, adding the HAT, and working with the sensors. Like any new technology, making the screen say "Hello, World!" is the place to start, and it's where they start. Once you've got that working, you can move on to learning about the joystick and the temperature sensor. Then, you get to learn the accelerometer. With that knowledge, you should be able to master the device and create your own projects.

Clearview AI wants to add facial identification to contact tracing

Since the concept of contact tracing was first announced, it has faced privacy and accuracy concerns. While Apple and Google addressed concerns, other firms who have been tapped for additional technologies are still under fire. One of the most recent to draw attention is a company that is used to the negative spotlight - Clearview AI. Many people around the world have been worried about the privacy and accuracy of the technology. These are definitely two topics that should stay as far apart as possible.

However, despite the obviousness of the fallout here, Clearview has been in talks to use its facial recognition technology in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. A lot of people see this as a ploy by the company to get involved in government processes so that they can work their magic in selling their law enforcement products. One of the loudest oppositions to Clearview being involved in this fight is Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who sent a letter to the company asking for information on their discussions and plans. In fact, he demands that the company turn over the names of any agencies they are in discussions with, and any contract terms they are working on or have signed.

The rationale behind this demand is the fear of Clearview's technology. For starters, the accuracy of the technology has been questionable at best, and basing a medically-focused program around dubious tracing could be harmful to people. Using their facial identification in large crowds to determine who has been in contact could inaccurately mark people as sick and spread false panic.

More importantly, however, is the increase in public privacy violations. Clearview stores all images it is sent for analysis indefinitely, meaning that any image captured and processed by this system would be stored forever and used to expand its facial identification system. By installing cameras attached to the system in high trafficked areas, Clearview would have a better idea of who it has NOT identified. This will certainly be contested by more than just a single Senator. Expect privacy and consumer advocacy groups to be right behind.

April 26, 2020 - Episode 559 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Nintendo's giving up the details, Messenger is giving new ways to connect, and AT&T is giving away customers.

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