Missouri Governor Wants to Prosecute Journalist for Warning That State Left Teachers’ Data Exposed

Missouri Governor Accuses Journalist of Hacking

Granted, state and local government employees are not known for their advanced technological prowess. But, unless there’s a whole lot we’re missing about this episode, Parson seems to have really stepped in it. Even if the governor isn’t super well-versed in computer science, state governments also have IT departments with staff that should be able to explain to leaders how websites work and why a person like Renaud would probably be considered a helpful good samaritan—not a “hacker.”

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We reached out to both the Missouri Information Technology Services Division and the Governor’s Office to inquire about the incident and will update this story if they respond.

HTC’s New VR Headset Leaked, and It’s the Weirdest-Looking One Yet

HTC Vive Flow Leaks, and It’s the Weirdest VR Headset Yet

That’s also not taking into consideration how ridiculous this thing looks. To be fair, no VR headset looks “cool,” but this headset is downright silly. Despite the leaked lifestyle shots, I’m almost positive I can guarantee that no one will wear the HTC Vive Flow to bed. And that when it comes to meditation, the Calm app is $70 a year, has a huge library of content, and is available directly on your phone. Most of what’s being presented here can be found elsewhere for less money, greater convenience, and significantly less teasing.

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It’s not that mixed reality is doomed. On the contrary—just about every tech company out there is convinced this is the future. Facebook just dropped its “smart” glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban, Apple is rumored to be working on a pair, as is Samsung, and Google and Microsoft have been out here for years carving their own niche in the mixed reality enterprise space. Somehow, Magic Leap found another $500 million in funding and is barreling ahead with another headset. Razer, Bose, and a bunch of smaller brands are also putting out their own audio sunglasses. Like it or not, virtual and augmented reality is happening. Someone someday is going to crack the winning combination of hardware, software, and use cases.

But every company in this space is facing the same problems: how to stand out from the crowd and how to convince the average person that this is better than the devices they already have. In both cases, the HTC Vive Flow’s probably the funniest-looking VR headset we’ve seen in some time. But the Vive Flow is going to need more than just a distinctive design to convince people it’s worth buying without impressive features.

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It Looks Like Apple Is Hoping to Postpone Opening Up the App Store to Third-Party Payment Portals

Apple Asks Court to Halt Order Requiring It to Open App Store

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“Apple filed a peel,” Sweeney wrote.

Sweeney then lambasted Apple’s claim that “links and buttons to alternate payment mechanisms are fraught with risk,” because the company can’t guarantee that the third-party platform is safe.

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“But seriously guys buttons are really dangerous, as Apple explains. Some buttons are big and red. Some buttons launch nuclear missiles. If software is allowed to include buttons, they could maybe cause iPhones to explode and kill you or, worse, void your warranty,” he added.

The Perfect iPhone 13 Case Holds a Bunch of Candy and Shoots It Into Your Mouth

The Perfect iPhone 13 Case Shoots Candy Into Your Mouth

The case originally started out with a fairly simple design 3D-printed from flexible TPU filament so that it would simply snap onto the iPhone 13 and absorb the impact of falls and drops, protecting the device inside. But why stop there? A smartphone case is an opportunity to express yourself, and given Benedetto is a creator of unnecessary inventions, what better way to do so than with some pointless functionality?

Attached to the back of their original iPhone 13 case is an extension that can both hold a stash of small candies, and fire them through the air with the addition of a spring-loaded plunger mechanism—similar to what launches balls onto a pinball table. When you pull back the plunger, a piece of candy is loaded, and when you release it, the treat is either launched clear across the room or into a waiting mouth. It’s a snacking solution as much as it is a weapon, although few would complain about being pelted with delicious Reese’s Pieces.

Samsung Teases Support for Ray Tracing on Its Next Exynos Chip

Samsung Teases Support for Ray Tracing on Its Next Exynos Chip

Unfortunately, while Samsung did not name a specific chip that will be getting ray tracing or a timetable for its release, many are predicting that this chip could be the upcoming Exynos 2200, which is expected to be featured in some versions of the Galaxy S22. North American Galaxy S phones have typically featured Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, while international variants get Exynos processors.

It’s also somewhat unclear from the post if the image is an actual screenshot from a game or if the image was simply created to better illustrate the power of ray tracing, which renders more realistic scenes by calculating and tracing the path of light as it bounces around a given environment, hence its name.

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To add even more fuel to the rumors, leaked benchmarks that appear to be from the Exynos 2200 started making the rounds this summer showing GPU performance similar to Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which is quite promising given that Samsung still had months to tune and optimize the performance of its upcoming SoC.

That said, it’s important to keep expectations in check, because back in July, Ice Universe posted a diagram of the Exynos 2200’s chip design showing what appeared to be 384 Stream processors, which is significantly less than what you get in one of AMD’s modern desktop GPUs. Those typically have around 2,000 to 4000 Stream processors.

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With Google having created its own custom-designed chip for the Pixel 6, called Google Tensor, and Samsung partnering with AMD to build GPUs for its mobile chips, the battle for mobile silicon supremacy is clearly heating up as smartphone makers try to keep pace with and possibly outdo Apple’s powerful A-series chips.

And with Samsung and AMD poised to bring ray tracing to mobile chips for the first time, things are about to get even more interesting.

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It’s Impossible to Spill on Your Keyboard When Your Drink Is Your Keyboard

Google’s Gboard Yunomi Is a Cylindrical Keyboard

Two types of custom PCBs were created for the cylindrical keyboard, which acts as a sort of extra-functional drink koozie (minus the insulating capabilities). There are 12 longer strips that the actual keys attach to, and a hexagonal base where you’ll find a ATmega32U4-AU microcontroller that makes the whole thing work. Google has no intentions of mass producing and selling this creation, but it has made the firmware, build instructions, and other plans available for download on GitHub for anyone who wants to go to the trouble of making their own.

Given it was created by Google Japan, the Gboard Yunomi features keys with Japanese characters on it, but customizing it to other alphabets should be relatively easy. The hard part is learning to effectively type on this thing. Even if you’re able to more or less preserve the QWERTY layout, wrapping your brain around how to type with all the keys positioned vertically will be challenge. If you’re so worried about spilling, might I suggest wearing one of those Camelbak hydration packs and sipping your morning coffee or afternoon tea through a straw.

Crypto Company Accidentally Gives Users $90 Million, Politely Asks for It Back

Crypto Company Accidentally Gives Users $90 Million, Asks for It Back

Compound is a crypto lending platform, allowing both investors and borrowers to exchange assets without the traditional services of a bank. Such platforms have been characterized as risky—given the lack of regulatory safeguards that pad traditional banking services—and this recent episode seems to show why.

The money was apparently unleashed via a mistake in what was supposed to be a standard upgrade to Compound’s smart contract (such contracts are used to facilitate crypto transactions). Instead, the alleged flaw caused certain users to be flooded with “far too much” COMP—the platform’s native crypto token. One person, for instance, claims they were gifted approximately $20 million in COMP in one go.

Platforms like Compound have been through this sort of thing before. In May, crypto lender BlockFi accidentally sent out approximately $20 million in Bitcoin to its users and subsequently begged for it back. Not long afterward, another lender, Alechemix, suffered a similar problem.

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Leshner subsequently backtracked on his threat to dox users who wouldn’t return funds—calling the idea “bone-headed.” That was probably a smart move, since doxxing is largely considered a huge betrayal in the crypto community, given the industry’s ethos of privacy, anonymity, and security.

As financial experts who talked to CNBC seem to imply, there is no legal requirement for the recipients of the payout to give it back.

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Interestingly, a decent amount of users seem to be going along with the CEO’s request to return funds, as Leshner can be seen thanking various individuals on Twitter:

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Yes, 0x2e4a, good sir, I too salute you. If some person sent me $20 million, my first order of business would be to skip all the way to the nearest ATM—or the nearest crypto exchange, as it were. We reached out to Compound for comment on this whole situation and will update our story if they respond.

Flying Foam Case Promises to Protect Your Smartphone While Capturing Aerial Footage

Here’s a Flying Foam Case for Filming Aerial Footage on a Phone

The AER’s creators are back, and this time they’ve brought an updated version with a redesigned nosecone that’s designed to securely hold a smartphone at the perfect angle for its rear camera to capture compelling aerial footage. The phone gets sandwiched between two large pieces of foam which are held together with a velcro strap wrapped around them. A foam tail is then attached, making the AER TYP ready for flight.

Sending your smartphone hurdling through the air requires even more faith in the energy-absorbing properties of foam than with an action camera, but the AER TYP’s creators promise they’ve spent years perfecting its design, finding the most resilient foam materials, and testing it, even to the point of dropping it off a building onto a concrete surface. The promotional videos created for the AER TYP do appear to protect smartphones from several cringe-worthy crashes, but with Apple officially cautioning users against strapping iPhones to bikes and motorcycles, you do have to wonder what repeated crashes are doing to the internals of a smartphone, even if the outside remains in pristine condition.

As with the original AER, the creators of the AER TYP have opted for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help put their creation into production. The cheapest way to pre-order one is with a pledge of about $69 (full retail pricing is expected to be closer to $100) with delivery expected as early as May next year. However, during an ongoing pandemic where manufacturing and supply chains have been thrown into chaos, it’s especially important to take delivery dates and estimated timelines of crowdfunded products with a grain of salt, given even large multinational companies are struggling to get products out the door on time. But this isn’t the first product the AER team has successfully crowdfunded, and if you’re willing to trust your $1,000+ smartphone to a foam football, punctual delivery dates don’t seem like something you’d worry about.

10 Absolutely Cursed Gadgets That Live in My Head Rent-Free

Nintendo Knitting Machine

It’s easy to forget that when video game consoles first made their way into our living rooms, they weren’t geared toward just kids. Atari, Nintendo, and others marketed them as home entertainment systems, something multiple generations under the same roof could enjoy (in fact, the Nintendo Entertainment System’s original name in Japan, Famicom, literally stands for “family computer”). With companies targeting such a broad audience, early game consoles got some bizarre accessories like this knitting peripheral for the NES.

The Nintendo Knitting Machine could hook up to your console via an NES controller and would convert whatever pattern was up on screen into a knitted design on a textile. Nintendo demoed a prototype of the peripheral for its business partners in the late ‘80s, but it never made it onto store shelves, according to former Nintendo exec “Gamemaster” Howard Phillips, who first shared a brochure confirming its existence and cringey tagline: “Now you’re knitting with power.”

The Discontinued Oculus Go Will Get New Life As an Unlocked Headset

Facebook Is Unlocking the Discontinued Oculus Go

The outlook for most connected gadgets is normally not so rosy. Generally, when a product is discontinued, a company will pledge to support updates and security fixes for a limited period of time. How long that period is will depend on the company, but once it’s over, the product is effectively “dead.” This can be true even if the device’s hardware is perfectly fine and capable of running newer software.

The Oculus Go was introduced in 2018 and was the company’s first standalone VR headset. But in 2020, Oculus said it was discontinuing the device to focus more on the Oculus Quest. At the time, Oculus promised bug fixes and security patches through 2022.

Unlocking the Go means that anyone with a bit of gumption can continue using the device or repurpose it. Carmack noted that “a randomly shrink-wrapped headset 20 years from now will be able to update to the final software version, long after over-the-air update servers have been shut down.”

That said, there was no official announcement from either Facebook or Oculus. Carmack said he expected the update would come from the Oculus website but didn’t elaborate on a timeline. He did note that this would be specific to Go headsets, with the hope that it might one day set a precedent for future unsupported headsets.

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It’s unlikely that most people will go through the trouble of sideloading the unlocked OS, but it’s welcome news for modders—and a subtle hint that discontinued gadgets can find a second life if users are given the right tools.