When shopping for the best extension monitor for your laptop or the for your next picnic, consider the similarities and differences, so you know what you’re looking for. Just because you play games on your TV or watch shows on your computer monitor doesn’t mean they are the same thing. TVs and monitors have very different designs and features. However, there are also a few things they have in common. Size Monitors generally have a smaller screen than TVs. A 30-inch monitor is significant, while a 42-inch HDTV is on the low end of the spectrum. People sit closer to their computer than to the TV, so it doesn’t need to be visible from a distance. Ports There isn’t much of a comparison in a monitor vs. TV when it comes to ports. They both support HDMI, VGA, USB, and DVI. You could use either to connect a multitude of other components like DVD players, Roku, Chromecast, flash drives, and much more. Types Each device serves its unique purposes, but these may overlap. For instance, there are LCD TVs and plenty of smart TV options that allow you to stream your content while we generally use monitors for gaming. However, a TV can be used for gaming, too. Modern monitors and TVs have flat-panel displays, and you would rarely find a new CRT monitor or TV. It’s possible at exclusive stores that cater to the types of gamers who prefer CRT setups, but unlikely. Keep in mind that monitors and TVs have a very different refresh rate, aspect ratio, resolution, and display specifications. A gaming monitor is likely your best bet when it comes to gaming on a screen. You can still have a pleasant gaming experience on a TV with a high Hz refresh rate, though, even if you’re doing console gaming. Buttons In their most basic form, monitors and TVs have buttons and screens. At the very least, you’ll find power buttons and menu buttons, but a TV usually also has a remote with buttons, whereas a monitor does not. HDTVs and more complicated devices have additional buttons that help you control brightness and other settings. This control can improve your image quality or picture quality. Speakers All TVs have built-in speakers, but only some monitors do. However, you can upgrade or attach different speakers to either to improve your sound quality. For monitors that do have built-in speakers, they are generally basic and don’t sound nearly as good as TV speakers do. Interchangeability Monitors and TVs are interchangeable when doing many things, including gaming, photo editing, or streaming shows. The important things to keep in mind are the kind of ports you need to connect your components. If you need an HDMI port to connect your Amazon Fire Stick, make sure you purchase either a TV or a monitor with that kind of connection. TVs are for comfort and visibility, so the viewing angles are broader and more conducive to a living room setting. However, the refresh rate is much slower, making it hard to game in certain situations. The post appeared first on .
Internet providers are real bastards: they have captive audiences whom they squeeze for every last penny while they fight against regulation like net neutrality and donate immense amounts of money to keep on lawmakers’ good sides. So why not turn the tables? Here are 13 ways to make sure your ISP has a hard time taking advantage of you (and may even put it on the defensive). Disclosure: Verizon, an internet provider guilty of all these infractions, owns TechCrunch, and I don’t care. 1. Buy a modem and router instead of renting The practice of renting a device to users rather than selling it or providing it as part of the service is one of the telecommunications industry’s oldest and worst. People pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars over years for equipment worth $40 or $50. ISPs do this with various items, but the most common item is probably the modem. This is the gadget that connects to the cable coming out of your wall, and then connects in turn (or may also function as) your wireless and wired router. ISPs often provide this equipment at the time of install, and then charge you $5 to $10 per month forever. What they don’t tell you is you can probably buy the exact same item for somewhere between $30 and $100. The exact model you need will depend on your service, but it will be listed somewhere, and they should tell you what they’d provide if you ask. Look online, buy a new or lightly used one, and it will have paid for itself before the year is out. Not only that, but you can do stuff like upgrade or change the software on it all you want, because it’s yours. Bonus: The ISP is limited in what it can do to the router (like letting other people connect — yes, it’s a thing). 2. Avoid service calls, or if you can’t, insist they’re free I had an issue with my internet a while back that took them several visits from a service tech to resolve. It wasn’t an issue on my end, which was why I was surprised to find they’d charged me $30 or so every time the person came. If your ISP wants to send someone out, ask whether it’s free, and if it isn’t, tell them to make it free or ask if you can do it yourself (sometimes it’s for really simple stuff like swapping a cable). If they charge you for a visit, call them and ask them to take it off your bill. Say you weren’t informed and you’ll inform the Better Business Bureau about it, or take your business elsewhere, or something. They’ll fold. When someone does come… 3. Get deals from the installer If you do end up having someone come out, talk to them to see whether there are any off the record deals they can offer you. I don’t mean anything shady like splitting cables with the neighbor, just offers they know about that aren’t publicized because they’re too good to advertise. A lot of these service techs are semi-independent contractors paid by the call, and their pay has nothing to do with which service you have or choose. They have no reason to upsell you and every reason to make you happy and get a good review. Sometimes that means giving you the special desperation rates ISPs withhold until you say you’re going to leave. And as long as you’re asking… 4. Complain, complain, complain This sounds bad, but it’s just a consequence of how these companies work: The squeaky wheels get the grease. There’s plenty of grease to go around, so get squeaking. Usually this means calling up and doing one of several things. You can complain that service has been bad — outages and such — and ask that they compensate you for that. You can say that a competing ISP started offering service at your location and it costs $20 less, so can they match that. Or you can say your friend just got a promotional rate and you’d like to take advantage of it… otherwise you’ll leave to that phantom competitor. (After all, we know there’s often little or no real competition.) What ISPs, and, more importantly, what their customer service representatives care about is keeping you on as a customer. They can always raise rates or upsell you later, but having you as a subscriber is the important thing. Note that some reps are more game than others. Some will give you the runaround, while others will bend over backwards to help you out. Feel free to call a few times and do a bit of window shopping. (By the way, if you get someone nice, give them a good review if you get the chance, usually right after the call or chat. It helps them out a lot.) Obviously you can’t call every week with new demands, so wait until you think you can actually save some money. Which reminds me… 5. Choose your service level wisely ISPs offer a ton of choices, and make it confusing on purpose so you end up picking an expensive one just to be sure you have what you need. The truth is most people can probably do pretty much everything they need on the lowest tier they offer. A 1080p stream will work fine on a 25 Mbps connection, which is what I have. I also work entirely online, stream high-def videos at a dozen sites all day, play games, download movies and do lots of other stuff, sometimes all at the same time. I think I pay $45 a month. But rates like mine might not be advertised prominently or at all. I only found out when I literally asked what the cheapest possible option was. That said, if you have three kids who like to watch videos simultaneously, or you have a 4K streaming setup that you use a lot, you’ll want to bump that up a bit. But you’d be surprised how seldom the speed limit actually comes into play. To be clear, it’s still important that higher tiers are available, and that internet providers upgrade their infrastructure, because competition and reliability need to go up and prices need to come down. The full promise of broadband should be accessible to everyone for a reasonable fee, and that’s still not the case. 6. Stream everything because broadcast TV is a joke Cord-cutting is fun. Broadcast TV is annoying, and getting around ads and air times using a DVR is very 2005. Most shows are available on streaming services of some kind or another, and while those services are multiplying, you could probably join all of them for well under what you’re paying for the 150 cable channels you never watch. Unless you really need to watch certain games or news shows as they’re broadcast, you can get by streaming everything. This has the side effect of starving networks of viewers and accelerating the demise of these 20th-century relics. Good ones will survive as producers and distributors of quality programming, and you can support them individually on their own merits. It’s a weird transitional time for TV, but we need to drop-kick them into the future so they’ll stop charging us for a media structure established 50 years ago. Something isn’t available on a streaming service? 100 percent chance it’s because of some dumb exclusivity deal or licensing SNAFU. Go pirate it for now, then happily pay for it as soon as it’s made available. This method is simple for you and instructive for media companies. (They always see piracy rates drop when they make things easy to find and purchase.) This also lets you avoid certain fees ISPs love tacking onto your bill. I had a “broadcast TV fee” on my bill despite not having any kind of broadcast service, and I managed to get it taken off and retroactively paid back. On that note… 7. Watch your bill like a hawk Telecoms just love putting things on your bill with no warning. It’s amazing how much a bill can swell from the quoted amount once they’ve added all the little fees, taxes and service charges. What are they, anyway? Why not call and ask? You might find out, as I did, that your ISP had “mistakenly” been charging you for something — like equipment — that you never had nor asked for. Amazing how these lucrative little fees tend to fall through the cracks! Small charges often increase and new ones get added as well, so download your bill when you get it and keep it somewhere (or just keep the paper copies). These are really handy to have when you’re on the phone with a rep. “Why wasn’t I informed my bill would increase this month by $50?” “Why is this fee more now than it was in July?” “Why do I pay a broadcast fee if I don’t pay for TV?” These are the types of questions that get you discounts. Staying on top of these fees also means you’ll be more aware when there are things like mass refunds or class action lawsuits about them. Usually these have to be opted into — your ISP isn’t going to call you, apologize and send a check. As long as you’re looking closely at your bill… 8. Go to your account and opt out of everything When you sign up for broadband service, you’re going to get opted into a whole heap of things. They don’t tell you about these, like the ads they can inject, the way they’re selling this or that data or that your router might be used as a public Wi-Fi hotspot. You’ll only find this out if you go to your account page at your ISP’s website and look at everything. Beyond the usual settings like your address and choice of whether to receive a paper bill, you’ll probably find a few categories like “privacy” and “communications preferences.” Click through all of these and look for any options to opt out of stuff. You may find that your ISP has reserved the right to let partners email you, use your data in ways you wouldn’t expect and so on. It only takes a few minutes to get out of all this, and it deprives the ISP of a source of income while also providing a data point that subscribers don’t like these practices. 9. Share your passwords Your friend’s internet provider gets him streaming services A, B and C, while yours gives you X, Y and Z. Again, this is not about creators struggling to get their content online, but rather all about big media and internet corporations striking deals that make them money and harm consumers. Share your (unique, not reused!) passwords widely and with a clean conscience. No company objects when you invite your friends over to watch “Fleabag” at your house. This just saves everyone a drive! 10. Encrypt everything and block trackers One of the internet companies’ many dirty little deals is collecting and selling information on their customers’ watching and browsing habits. Encrypting your internet traffic puts the kibosh on this creepy practice — as well as being good security. This isn’t really something you can do too much to accomplish, since over the last few years encryption has become the rule rather than the exception, even at sites where you don’t log in or buy anything. If you want to be sure, download a browser plug-in like HTTPS everywhere, which opts you into a secure connection anywhere it’s available. You can tell it’s secure because the URL says “https://” instead of “http://” — and most browsers have other indicators or warnings as well. You should also use an ad blocker, not necessarily to block ads that keep outlets like TechCrunch alive (please), but to block trackers seeded across the web by companies that use sophisticated techniques to record everything you do. ISPs are among these and/or do business with them, so everything you can do to hinder them is a little mud in their eye. Incidentally there are lots of ways you can protect your privacy from those who would invade it — . 11. Use a different DNS Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch On a similar note, most ISPs will usually be set up by default with their own “Domain Name Service,” which is the thing that your browser pings to convert a text web URL (like “techcrunch.com”) to its numerical IP address. There are lots of these to choose from, and they all work, but if you use your ISP’s, it makes it much easier for them to track your internet activity. They also can block certain websites by refusing to provide the IP for content they don’t like. TechCrunch doesn’t officially endorse one, but lots of companies offer free, fast DNS that’s easy to switch to. ; there are big ones (Google, Cloudflare), “open” ones (OpenDNS, OpenNIC) and others with some niche features. All you need to do is slot those two numbers into your internet configuration, following the instructions they provide. You can change it back at any time. is another option for very privacy-conscious individuals, but it can be complicated. And speaking of complicated… 12. Run a home server This is a bit advanced, but it’s definitely something ISPs hate. Setting up your home computer or a dedicated device to host a website, script or service seems like a natural use of an always-on internet connection, but just about everyone in the world would rather you sign up for their service, hosted on their hardware and their connection. Well, you don’t have to! You can do it on your own. Of course, you’ll have to learn how to run and install a probably Unix-based server, handle registry stuff, install various packages and keep up to date so you don’t get owned by some worm or bot… but you’ll have defied the will of the ISP. That’s the important thing. 13. Talk to your local government ISPs hate all the things above, but what they hate the most by far is regulation. And you, as a valued citizen of your state and municipality, are in a position to demand it. Senators, representatives, governors, mayors, city councils and everyone else actually love to hear from their constituency, not because they desire conversation but because they can use it to justify policy. During the net neutrality fight, a constant refrain I heard from government officials was how much they’d heard from voters about the issue and how unanimous it was (in support, naturally). A call or email from you won’t sway national politics, but a few thousand calls or emails from people in your city just might sway a local law or election. These things add up, and they do matter. State net neutrality policies are now the subject of national attention, and local privacy laws like those in Illinois are the bane of many a shady company. Tell your local government about your experience with ISPs — outages, fees, sneaky practices or even good stuff — and they’ll file it away for when that data is needed, such as renegotiating the contracts national companies sign with those governments in order to operate in their territories. Internet providers only do what they do because they are permitted to, and even then they often step outside the bounds of what’s acceptable — which is why rules like net neutrality are needed. But first people have to speak out.
They say that cleanliness is next to godliness and if that’s true you want the that will make you feel like Zeus on top of a sparkling clean Mount Olympus. Me too. That’s why I recently tested the ILIFE V5s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Water Tank Mop. This robotic mop/vacuum is said to do a good job on hardwood floors, has a low price and is both a vacuum and a mop with water tank. You have to love that 2in1 functionality. But does it live up to the hype? Read my vacuum guide below to find out. Does This Mop And Vacuum Robot Suck? Or Is It A Clean Purchase? This little robot will clean your floors like a champ. $196.17 The ILIFE V5s Robotic Vacuum works well if you have various hard floor surfaces and want them to be as clean as possible. It is primarily a mop and so it has an interchangeable 0.3-liter water container that is actually larger than most of the competition and easy to clean. Pros: Mops hardwood floors beautifully Great value Also a top-rated vacuum Cons: Sometimes can’t find charging base Cheaper than a Roomba ILIFE V5s Robotic Vacuum Build Quality And Design As far as robot vacuum cleaners go, this one seems pretty durable. Your pets won’t be able to break it and it should hold up well enough to give you years of cleaning. The design stands out as it has a gold-like face on the top and isn’t all black or all white. If looks are important to you, this model is a winner already. Cleaning Power The ILIFE V5s has a charing time of 250-300 minutes, which gives you a cleaning time of 90-110 minutes. In my tests, I cleaned the kitchen, mudroom, dining and living room, which is about 1000 sq feet in one charge. I would guess this cleaning robot could handle at least 1200. When you want to vacuum just replace the tank with the dirt bin, then attach the side bristles/cleaning brush. Even though it is mostly for hardwood floors, it is a good carpet cleaner that can vacuum low-pile carpets with fairly strong suction. The wet cleaning mode works using a mop mat holder that holds a mop pad that is continually soaked by the water tank. This gives you a damp mop. Performance I have a few different floor types of hardwood in my house and they all look beautiful thanks to this little robot vacuum and mop. The mopping function on the v5 pro works flawlessly as does the vacuum function. It has a more powerful suction than I expected, sucking up pet fur, debris, dust, and dirt easily and efficiently. On 2 occasions out of three weeks of use, it could not find it’s charging base, so most of the time it works perfectly. Aside from that, the mop cleaning pad sometimes gets stuck on some surfaces, and you also can’t charge it with the water tank inside. So it requires some maintenance. Bottom Line The ilife v5s pro has both auto charging or manual charging, while modes include everything from spot and edge cleaning to auto and scheduled cleaning, It does an excellent job on hardwoods and I highly recommend it for that. As I said, it does require some maintenance, but it is still a top-rated vacuum and mop in our section. Plus, you can’t beat the price. I actually love how it gets the floors clean and it is a great value for your money. If you’re looking at for a robot vacuum with other features, the Roomba s9, iRobot Braava 380t, Chuwi ilife, or any other home gadget, you can always consult a vacuum buying guide from . That is also true for other . Related Posts: The post appeared first on .
Taking care of your newborn child is one of the hardest jobs there is. Some statistics say that over 85% of women experience anxiety while taking care of their newborn. Naturally, this is this bad for the mother’s health, and it doesn’t do the baby any good. Both of you should be enjoying this special time. And parents may need to look at . from Levana can help. Levana is made up of all the kinds of people who have experience with newborns: Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. They have all been there and have plenty of experience with newborns. And this led to the creation of Oma Sense, a simple and reliable breathing movement monitor. Oma Sense Is Peace Of Mind This breathing monitor doesn’t need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and is completely safe for the baby. This device will monitor your baby’s breathing movements and alert you if no movement is detected. So you can rest easy knowing that your child is being looked after. How it works is very simple. If the device does not detect any breathing for 15 seconds, Oma Sense will vibrate, while LED lights and audible alerts help stimulate the child and encourage them to begin moving again. If the baby does not begin moving after 5 seconds, the device will sound an alarm that you can hear with LED lights. The device is for infant from 0-6 months old. It takes much a new parent’s worries away. There’s no need to worry while Oma Sense is watching out for your child. You only need to worry if the alarm goes off. Just look for the blue LED light that flashes every 30 seconds. This tells you that the device is working and monitoring your child. Oma Sense is battery powered and can go wherever your baby goes, whether in the crib, a playpen or beside you on the bed. This helpful child aid will help relieve parents of unneeded stress and anxiety, allowing them to just enjoy their newborn child and rest easy. Frankly, that’s worth much more than the asking price. Worry when you need to and relax the rest of the time. Check out our for a restful night’s sleep. Our and sections can help keep you healthy. And check out for the latest news. Related Posts: The post appeared first on .
cars can now take on human players in a game of chess, thanks to a . Its programmers likely didn’t imagine they were designing a chess program to take on the best players in the world, however: U.S. No. 1 ranked chess player Fabiano Caruana (also currently ranked No. 2 in the world) played a Tesla Model 3 in a recent match… but Deep Blue versus Kasparov, this was not. Caruana bests the vehicle in just under five minutes of playing time, and he’s not particularly stressing the time, plus he’s offering a running commentary. The car makes some questionable moves, but to be fair, it’s not a super computer with deep artificial intelligence, and Caruana is one of the world’s best. He also gives it credit at the end, calling the game “challenging” and you can hear it’s probably more than he was expecting from a car’s infotainment system. The car would probably beat me, but I’m unranked and haven’t played a game of chess in probably 15 years, so there’s that.
cars can now take on human players in a game of chess, thanks to a . Its programmers likely didn’t imagine they were designing a chess program to take on the best players in the world, however: U.S. no. 1 ranked chess player Fabiano Caruana (also currently ranked no. 2 in the world) played a Tesla Model 3 in a recent match… but Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, this was not. Caruana bests the vehicle in just under five minutes of playing time, and he’s not particularly stressing the time, plus he’s offering a running commentary. The car makes some questionable moves, but to be fair, it’s not a super computer with deep artificial intelligence, and Caruana is one of the world’s best. He also gives it credit at the end, calling the game “challenging” and you can hear it’s probably more than he was expecting from a car’s infotainment system. The car would probably beat me, but I’m unranked and haven’t played a game of chess in probably 15 years so there’s that.
Sitting at our desks for hours on end can be a real pain in the back, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Flash Furniture Mid-Back Mesh Chair can help. You can also check out our and rest comfortably. No one likes back and joint pain from sitting too long. This Flash Furniture Chair has a lot of great features to help your body sit ergonomically, which is more comfortable and more healthy. It can help you avoid serious issues that come from sitting with improper posture. Read my review below to see how this piece of fared in my real-world tests. Is It Mesh or Meh? Sale 2,301 Reviews A comfortable chair for long hours. $88.00 This Mid-Back Mesh chair offers excellent lower back support without costing a fortune. In fact, it is a very affordable mesh swivel task chair. Under $100. It has built-in lumbar support, a comfortable mesh back and just enough adjustments to make you feel great when sitting for hours at a time. Pros: Easy assembly Built-in lumbar support Comfortable mesh back Cons: Needs more adjustability options No headrest This is not for taller or larger folks Build Quality And Design The design is very modern and stylish. It fits into any office space and easily elevates it. It also looks good in your home thanks to that modern style with black leather and mesh. The build construction feels very heavy duty when sitting in this black mesh-backed chair, without being too heavy as well. Adjustability Sadly, the lumbar support on this task chair is not adjustable, but it works and feels great. You can adjust the height and tilt tension with the adjustment lever, but it needs more adjustable features to accommodate bigger people. It has flipup armrests, but that’s it and the seat is not adjustable. There is no seat height adjustment. Big people will not be comfortable in this chair. Performance Despite the lack of adjustable features, I found this executive office chair to be comfortable and it supported my back very nicely. After a few hours of work, when I would normally feel tense and stiff, I felt pretty great. But again, I am a pretty average size at about 5’8. That mesh back feels great and allows some allows air to circulate, which is a nice feature. The chair is very comfortable and takes the weight off of your joints and back. It is great for long work hours at the computer desk or playing video games or playing with your . Bottom Line You probably can’t get a better midback swivel task chair for under $100. Despite lacking adjustments, this chair is a very good value for your money spent. It’s perfect for anyone on a tight budget who wants some help getting rid of an aching back. This is going to be for people of average size and height though since the lack of adjustable features means that big people can’t get a comfy fit. If you are average size and weight, this is your perfect budget ergonomic swivel task chair. It may not have high-end chair features, but it works. Other top rated office ergonomic chairs that you might want to check out are the Duramont ergonomic, Coavas ergonomic office chair, Ergohuman high back swivel chair, Flash Furniture office chairs, and Herman Miller chairs. has all of the info you need to buy the right chair for you. Related Posts: The post appeared first on .
Got hardware? Well then, listen up, because our search continues for boundary-pushing, early-stage hardware startups to join us in Shenzhen, China for an epic opportunity; launch your startup on a global stage and compete in on November 11-12. . Why? It’s your chance to demo your product to the top investors and technologists in the world. Hardware Battlefield, cousin to , focuses exclusively on innovative hardware because, let’s face it, it’s the backbone of technology. From enterprise solutions to agtech advancements, medical devices to consumer product goods — hardware startups are in the international spotlight. If you make the cut, you’ll compete against 15 of the world’s most innovative hardware makers for bragging rights, plenty of investor love, media exposure and $25,000 in equity-free cash. Just participating in a Battlefield can change the whole trajectory of your business in the best way possible. We chose to bring our fifth Hardware Battlefield to Shenzhen because of its outstanding track record of supporting hardware startups. The city achieves this through a combination of accelerators, rapid prototyping and world-class manufacturing. What’s more, takes place as part of the larger TechCrunch Shenzhen that runs November 9-12. Creativity and innovation no know boundaries, and that’s why we’re opening this competition to any early-stage hardware startup from any country. While we’ve seen amazing hardware in previous Battlefields — like , , tools, for diabetics and , we can’t wait to see the next generation of hardware, so bring it on! Meet the minimum requirements listed below, and we’ll consider your startup: by August 14th You must have a minimally viable product to demo onstage Your product has received little if any, press coverage to date Your product must have a hardware device or component Here’s how Hardware Battlefield works. TechCrunch editors vet every qualified application and pick 15 startups to compete. Those startups receive six rigorous weeks of free coaching. Forget stage fright. You’ll be prepped and ready to step into the spotlight. Teams have six minutes to pitch and demo their products, which is immediately followed by an in-depth Q&A with the judges. If you make it to the final round, you’ll repeat the process in front of a new set of judges. The judges will name one outstanding startup the Hardware Battlefield champion. Hoist the Battlefield Cup, claim those bragging rights and the $25,000. This nerve-wracking thrill-ride takes place in front of a live audience, and we capture the entire event on video and post it to our global audience on TechCrunch. takes place on November 11-12. Don’t hide your hardware or miss your chance to show us — and the entire tech world — your startup magic. , and join us in Shenzhen! Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Hardware Battlefield at TC Shenzhen? Contact our sponsorship sales team by .
Encryption in space can be tricky. Even if you do everything right, a cosmic ray might come along and flip a bit, sabotaging the whole secure protocol. So if you can’t radiation-harden the computer, what can you do? European Space Agency researchers are testing solutions right now in an experiment running on board the ISS. Cosmic radiation flipping bits may sound like a rare occurrence, and in a way it is. But satellites and spacecraft are out there for a long time and it it only takes one such incident to potentially scuttle a whole mission. What can you do if you’re locked out of your own satellite? At that point it’s pretty much space junk. Just wait for it to burn up. Larger, more expensive missions like GPS satellites and interplanetary craft use that are carefully proofed against cosmic rays and other things that go bump in the endless night out there. But these bespoke solutions are expensive and often bulky and heavy; if you’re trying to minimize costs and space to launch a constellation or student project, hardening isn’t always an option. “We’re testing two related approaches to the encryption problem for non rad-hardened systems,” . To keep costs down and hardware recognizable, the team is using a Raspberry Pi Zero board, one of the simplest and lowest-cost full-fledged computers you can buy these days. It’s mostly unmodified, just coated to meet ISS safety requirements. It’s the heart of the Cryptography International Commercial Experiments Cube, or Cryptographic ICE Cube, or CryptIC. The first option they’re pursuing is a relatively traditional software one: hard-coded backup keys. If a bit gets flipped and the current encryption key is no longer valid, they can switch to one of those. “This needs to be done in a secure and reliable way, to restore the secure link very quickly,” said Armborst. It relies on “a secondary fall-back base key, which is wired into the hardware so it cannot be compromised. However, this hardware solution can only be done for a limited number of keys, reducing flexibility.” If you’re expecting one failure per year and a five year mission, you could put 20 keys and be done with it. But for longer missions or higher exposures, you might want something more robust. That’s the other option, an “experimental hardware reconfiguration approach.” “A number of microprocessor cores are inside CryptIC as customizable, field-programmable gate arrays, rather than fixed computer chips,” Armborst explained. “These cores are redundant copies of the same functionality. Accordingly, if one core fails then another can step in, while the faulty core reloads its configuration, thereby repairing itself.” In other words, the encryption software would be running in parallel with itself and one part would be ready to take over and serve as a template for repairs should another core fail due to radiation interference. A CERN-developed radiation dosimeter is flying inside the enclosure as well, measuring the exposure the device has over the next year of operation. And a set of flash memory units are sitting inside to see which is the most reliable in orbital conditions. Like many experiments on the ISS, this one has many purposes. The encryption tests are set to begin shortly and we’ll know how the two methods fared next summer.
A group of sex tech startup founders, employees and supporters gathered outside of Facebook’s NY office in Manhattan to protest its advertising policies with respect to what it classifies as sexual content. The protest, and a companion website detailing their position , are the work of ‘Approved, Not Approved,’ a coalition of sex health companies co-founded by Dame Products and Unbound Babes. These policies are applied have fallen out of step with “the average person’s views of what should or shouldn’t be approved of ads,” according to Janet Lieberman, co-founder and CTO of Dame Products. “If you look at the history of the sex toy industry, for example, vibrators were sexual health products, until advertising restrictions were put on them in the 1920s and 1930s – and then they became dirty, and that’s how the industry got shady, and that’s why we have negative thoughts towards them,” she told me in an interview at the protest. “They’re moving back towards wellness in people’s minds, but not in advertising policies. There’s a double standard for what is seen as obscene, talking about men’s sexual health versus women’s sexual health and talking about products that aren’t sexual, and using sex to sell them, versus taking sexual products and having completely non-sexual ads for them.” Credit: TechCrunch It’s a problem that extends beyond just Facebook and Lieberman says. In fact, her company is for its own ad standards after it refused to run ads for women’s sex toys in their out-of-home advertising inventory. But it also has ramifications beyond just advertising, since in many ways what we see in ads helps define what we see as acceptable in terms of our everyday lives and conversations. “Some of this stems from society’s inability to separate sexual products from feeling sexual, and that’s a real problem that we see that hurts women more than men, but hurts both genders, in not knowing how to help our sexual health,” Lieberman said. “We can’t talk about it without being sexual, and that we can’t bring things up, without it seeming like we’re bringing up something that is dirty.” Credit: Unbound / Dame Products “A lot of the people you see here today have Instagrams that have been shut down, or ads that have been not approved on Facebook,” said Bryony Cole, CEO at Future of Sex in an interview. “Myself, I run Future of Sex, which is a sex tech hackathon, and a podcast focused on sex tech, and my Instagram’s been shut down twice with no warning. It’s often for things that Facebook will say they consider phallic imagery, but they’re not […] and yet if you look at images for something like HIMS [an erectile dysfunction medication startup,], you’ll see those phallic practice images. So there’s this gross discrepancy, and it’s very frustrating, especially for these companies where a lot of the revenue in their business is around community that are online which is true for sex toys.” Online ads aren’t just a luxury for many of these startup brands and companies – they’re a necessary ingredient to continued success. and Facebook together account for the majority of digital advertising spend in the U.S., , and it’s hard to grow a business that caters to primarily online customers without fair access to their platforms, Cole argues. “You see a lot of sex tech or sexual wellness brands having to move off Instagram and find other ways to reach their communities,” she said. “But the majority of people, that’s where they are. And if they’re buying these products, they’re still overcoming a stigma about buying the product, so it’s great to be able to purchase these online. A lot of these companies started either crowdfunding, like Dame Products, or just through ecommerce sites. So the majority of their business is online. It’s not in a store.” Credit: Unbound / Dame Products Earlier this year, sex tech company netted a win in getting the Consumer Technology Association to restore its CES award after community outcry. Double standards in advertising is a far more systemic and distributed problem, but these protests will hopefully help open up the conversation and prompt more change.