Smart small appliances to connect your countertop – CNET

June Intelligent Oven Second Generation

With a built-in camera and Wi-Fi connectivity, the June oven will recognize your food and figure out the best way to cook it. June can bake, broil, roast, toast, air-fry and more — and all of that functionality is packed into a machine the size of a toaster oven.

June Intelligent Oven Second Generation

With a built-in camera and Wi-Fi connectivity, the June oven will recognize your food and figure out the best way to cook it. June can bake, broil, roast, toast, air-fry and more — and all of that functionality is packed into a machine the size of a toaster oven.

Published:August 14, 2018Caption:Photo:JuneRead the article

Thor’s roommate Daryl survived Thanos’ deadly Infinity War snap – CNET

So half of the universe survived Thanos’ deadly snap in Avengers: Infinity War. As far as we know, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was one of them — and so, apparently, was his Australian roomie Daryl.

So half of the universe survived Thanos’ deadly snap in Avengers: Infinity War. As far as we know, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was one of them — and so, apparently, was his Australian roomie Daryl.

Actor Daley Pearson, who plays Daryl in a serious of funny short films with Hemsworth, posted a Twitter video on Sunday wishing Thor a belated happy birthday. (Hemsworth turned 35 on Saturday.) In the video, he said that while Daryl survived Thanos’ massacre, many of his co-workers did not, which means weekend work shifts for poor Daryl.

“Happy Birthday Thor,” Pearson’s character Daryl wrote. “Sorry it’s late, but I’m working weekends since ‘The Snap.'”

Daryl’s a little irked at the God of Thunder, though, pleading for his roomie to get on Wi-Fi somewhere and transfer him some rent money.


32
Flip through 32 Marvel-ous images from this super new exhibit

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Add 4 Wi-Fi smart plugs to your home for $19.39 – CNET

A few weeks back I invited you to try a Wi-Fi smart plug for just $9. The bad news: They sold out quickly. The good news: Now you can get a four-pack for under $20.

A few weeks back I invited you to try a Wi-Fi smart plug for just $9. The bad news: They sold out quickly. The good news: Now you can get a four-pack for under $20. It’s a different brand, but pretty much the same basic product.

That product is this: The Lightstory Smart Plug four-pack for $19.39 with promo code 50JJ9HAH. It’s normally $38.79. Sorry to say I don’t know how much inventory is available at this price.

See it at Amazon

Incidentally, you can also get a three-pack for $14.44, a two-pack for $9.49 or one for just $5.29 — all using that same code. I say buy what you need, but with a price point of under $5 apiece, why not stock up?

If you’ve never used plugs like these before, they connect to your home Wi-Fi network, thus affording control via an Android or iOS app. You can set schedules and timers — great if you want to switch lamps on or off at designated times or if you’ve got a crock pot you want to kick on midway through the day.

It’s hard to tell from the photo whether these small, circular plugs will block a second outlet, but at least one customer photo (shown in the reviews) suggests they do not. That’s good. A lot of early Wi-Fi outlets were big and bulky.

Also of note: These are compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, meaning you can say things like, “Alexa, turn on the lamp in the living room.”

If there’s one thing that gives me pause, it’s that there’s no mention of UL certification or surge-protection circuitry. There is, however, a one-year warranty, and the 170 user reviews average out to 4.3 stars.

So if you’ve been waiting on a way to join the smart-home revolution, here’s your chance to add smarts to four lamps, appliances or whatnot for just under $5 each.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: If you’re going to buy an inkjet printer — and I’m squarely in favor of choosing a color laser if you can — you might as well get one that does all the things. At a steep discount.

Like this one: For a limited time, Best Buy has the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 all-in-one for $99.99 shipped (plus tax). It normally sells for $200.

See it at Best Buy

The WF-4730 can print, scan, copy and fax. It has dual paper trays, an auto-document feeder and support for Ethernet, Wi-Fi and even NFC connectivity. You can get remanufactured and third-party ink cartridges for far less than what Epson charges.

Over 200 buyers collectively rated the WorkForce Pro 4.5 stars out of 5, so it’s a good bet you’ll find this a solid performer — especially knowing that you saved as much as 50 percent.

Bonus deal 2: Get a Tobox 2.2-quart digital air fryer for under $37 with a CNET exclusive discount code.

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!

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The best Windows 10 antivirus in 2018

Windows PCs have always been a significant target for hackers – it’s no surprise considering the massive market share the Microsoft operating system still has. The reality is that you still need a regularly updated antivirus software package to keep you safe from the very latest threats.

Windows PCs have always been a significant target for hackers – it’s no surprise considering the massive market share the Microsoft operating system still has. The reality is that you still need a regularly updated antivirus software package to keep you safe from the very latest threats.

That’s because the bad guys are constantly looking for new ways to access your data and control your system. From ransomware to fileless attacks and blended malware, there are plenty of threats out there and there’s the danger is great on Windows 10, no matter how careful you are online.

So which are the best antivirus products for Windows 10 you can get right now, and is Windows Defender sufficient to keep you safe these days? Good questions both – so keep reading to find out the answers.

Best Windows 10 antivirusThis is our best antivirus software buying guideAlso take a look at the best internet security suites

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019

Monitor the testing lab reports on most antivirus products and you’ll normally find results varying over time: one generation works well, the next edition has some problems initially, the company goes to work and performance improves.

Bitdefender is far more consistent. AV-Test, for example, has been running its in-depth antivirus tests since 2010, and Bitdefender has achieved a 100% protection rating in 17 out of the 20 reports produced to date (the last ‘fail’ was in December 2014).

That’s important as it suggests Bitdefender’s products aren’t just accurate right now, but they’re likely to be just as good next month, next year, and on after that.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 combines its excellent core antivirus engine with an array of smart technologies to keep you safe from harm. Accurate web monitoring detects and blocks malicious links, and a vulnerability scanner alerts you to missing security patches or poorly chosen system settings which could compromise your PC.

A secure browser prevents malware from snooping on your banking and online shopping transactions, and specialist ransomware protection ensures that even if something does penetrate your defenses, sensitive documents will still be safe.

Bitdefender’s starter price is pretty competitive too, considering the power of the security tools you get with it. For one device for one year you’re looking at around $25/£25, with extra for more PCs and mobiles and a reduction if you crank up the term.

You can download Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 here

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

Trend Micro may not have the profile of some of the big-name antivirus competition, but don’t let that put you off – its products have a lot to offer.

The baseline Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security has all the essential features you need – antivirus, ransomware protection, email checks and web filtering – but isn’t weighed down by unnecessary extras you’ll never use.

Independent testing reports that Trend Micro delivers excellent results. As we write, the last five AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Tests – September, October and November 2018, along with February and March 2017 – all show Trend Micro protecting against 100% of test threats.

Pricing is fair and transparent. The headline prices aren’t only available if you pay for two or three years up-front, and they don’t suddenly jump up after the first year: they’re just good value, full stop.

A simple one PC, one-year licence is cheap at only £19.95 ($28). Extend the term and add support for more PCs and the costs fall even further, so for example a three computer, three-year licence costs only £53.27 ($74.60), or £5.92 ($8.29) per year per PC.

Moving up to the top-of-the-range Trend Micro Maximum Security gets you protection for Android, iOS and Mac, as well as Windows, and adds features including parental controls, password management, social media monitoring, device optimization and more. Prices start at £34.95 ($48.93) to cover any mix of five devices for one year.

You can download Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security here

Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Kaspersky has been one of the top antivirus companies for a very long time, and its products regularly appear at or near the top of the scoreboard for most of the main testing labs.

Kaspersky Free Antivirus gives you the company’s top-rated antivirus engine and intelligent blocking of malicious links for absolutely nothing. You don’t even have to put up with ads – just leave the app running in your system tray and you’ll barely know it’s there.

Kaspersky’s commercial antivirus and security suite products add features including online banking protection, parental controls, password management, file backup, and coverage for your Windows, Mac and mobile devices. They’re priced from £22.49 ($30) for a one computer, one-year licence.

You might have seen Kaspersky making the headlines for less welcome reasons, recently, with both the US and UK governments restricting the use of Kaspersky products by some government agencies to avoid possible security risks.

While this is a concern, as we’ve seen no evidence to support the restrictions, we’re not going to allow them to influence our current thinking. We suspect you’re far more likely to be targeted by hackers and malware than Kremlin surveillance, and overall Kaspersky does an excellent job of keeping you safe.

You can download Kaspersky Free Antivirus here

Panda Free Antivirus

Panda Security has been developing quality antivirus software for many years, and its latest Windows detection engine is one of the best around.

For evidence, just point your browser at the results for AV-Comparatives Real Word Protection tests. These are a tough check of antivirus ability, but the last summary report (July – November 2017) ranked Panda Free Antivirus in first place as the only product to receive a consistent 100% protection score.

If you’re on a budget, then, Panda Free Antivirus may be your best option, but the company also produces more powerful commercial tools which could be interesting.

Panda Dome Essential takes the core antivirus features and adds a personal firewall, Wi-Fi protection and a secure browsing environment to protect online shopping and banking activities. It’s priced at £26.24 ($36.75) a year for a one device, one-year licence, rising to £34.99 ($48.99) in year two.

Moving to a higher plan could get you specialist ransomware protection, parental controls, app locking, a call blocker, anti-theft, device optimization, remote device management, unlimited VPN use and more.

Dome can be licenced for 1, 3, 5, 10 and even an unlimited number of devices, and these can be any mix of Windows, Mac and Android systems.

For us, Panda Free Antivirus is the star product here, but if you’re looking for more of a security suite, the Dome range may also be interesting. Take the free month trial for a spin if you’d like to find out more.

You can download Panda Free Antivirus here

Windows Defender

Windows Defender has been trying to protect PCs from viruses since the days of Vista, but originally with little success. Independent testing regularly placed Defender at the bottom of the protection rankings, with detection rates as low as 60-70 per cent.

Today’s product is very, very different. Check out AV-Comparatives’ Real-World Protection Tests and the last summary report (July – November 2017) gave Microsoft a 99.1 per cent protection rating. That translates to 13th place out of 21, so plainly isn’t ideal, but still outperformed several big-name commercial engines: ESET, McAfee, Emsisoft, Fortinet, Adaware and more.

There are plenty of other reasons to like Windows Defender. It arrives with your PC and is enabled by default, so there’s nothing to learn or configure. It’s lightweight, grabs very few system resources and is most unlikely to conflict with anything else. All you need to do is get on with using your PC, and Defender handles everything else in the background.

Windows Defender still has its issues. Test results can be inconsistent over time and between labs, and most reports suggest it raises more false positives than average. But even with these problems, it’s clear that Defender now offers genuinely useful protection at a similar level to many commercial products. If your needs are simple, or you’re familiar with and like the package, it could be a sensible choice.

You can download Windows Defender here

Best of the rest

If none of these take your fancy, you can always try out Avast Free Antivirus, which has more than 400 million users, or upgrade to Avast Internet Security if you need additional protection

Lifecell choisit Odine Solutions et Affirmed Networks pour fournir des services virtualisés aux abonnés des secteurs des entreprises et des consommateurs en Ukraine

ISTANBUL, August 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

Ce déploiement représente le premier réseau central LTE commercial virtualisé en Ukraine

Odine Solutions, le principal intégrateur de systèmes NFV de la région EMEA, a annoncé qu’il avait déployé avec succès, en collaboration avec Affirmed Networks, leader des réseaux mobiles virtualisés, un réseau virtualisé pour lifecell, un opérateur de réseau mobile de premier plan couvrant l’Ukraine.

ISTANBUL, August 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

Ce déploiement représente le premier réseau central LTE commercial virtualisé en Ukraine

Odine Solutions, le principal intégrateur de systèmes NFV de la région EMEA, a annoncé qu’il avait déployé avec succès, en collaboration avec Affirmed Networks, leader des réseaux mobiles virtualisés, un réseau virtualisé pour lifecell, un opérateur de réseau mobile de premier plan couvrant l’Ukraine. Ce déploiement, qui représente le premier réseau central LTE virtualisé en production en Ukraine, permet désormais à lifecell de transformer son réseau afin de pouvoir fournir divers services mobiles de nouvelle génération.

(Logo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/729451/Odine_Solutions_and_lifecell_Logo.jpg )

Pour assurer un déploiement efficace et une migration transparente, lifecell a choisi Odine Solutions en raison de son expérience éprouvée en matière d’intégration de systèmes de bout en bout et de services gérés pour les opérateurs de réseau mobile déployant des fonctions et des infrastructures réseau virtualisées dans la région EMEA.

« Nous pensons que les réseaux virtualisés offrent d’énormes opportunités de croissance nous permettant de réduire les coûts et de générer une nouvelle croissance des revenus. Notre choix d’Odine Solutions en tant que principal intégrateur, associé à la solution cloud d’Affirmed Networks, nous permet de bénéficier de ces avantages, tout en poursuivant notre évolution vers la transformation numérique et la préparation à la 5G », a déclaré Mahmut Ünsal Erüreten, directeur technique de lifecell. « Un intégrateur de systèmes régional de confiance ayant fait ses preuves en matière de déploiement NFV était pour nous essentiel afin d’assurer une transformation en douceur tout au long de ce parcours et c’est la raison pour laquelle nous avons choisi Odine Solutions. »

« Lifecell est un exemple d’opérateur véritablement innovant, pionnier dans sa région en ce qui concerne la fourniture d’un réseau de nouvelle génération qui permettra à ses clients de tirer parti de la nouvelle génération de services possibles dans les domaines de la 4G et de la 5G », a déclaré Mohammed Shanableh, vice-président des opérations mondiales d’Affirmed Networks.

« Nous sommes fiers de prendre la tête du déploiement d’une solution entièrement virtualisée pour le cloud afin de les aider à devenir le premier opérateur à déployer un réseau central LTE virtualisé en Ukraine », a déclaré Alper Tunga Burak, directeur associé d’Odine Solutions, ventes et marketing.

À propos de lifecell:

Lifecell est l’opérateur numérique ukrainien offrant la plus grande liberté de communication. Grâce à son offre Internet mobile haute débit, lifecell offre des capacités de communication mobile avancées à tous ses utilisateurs, quel que soit leur âge ou leur connaissance de la technologie. Lifecell est détenue à 100 % par Turkcell, un important fournisseur de services convergents de télécommunications et de technologies. À la fin du deuxième trimestre 2018, le nombre d’abonnés de lifecell actifs depuis 3 mois est de 7,8 millions d’utilisateurs.

http://www.lifecell.ua/en/

À propos d’Odine Solutions

Odine Solutions est un intégrateur de systèmes leader sur le marché, spécialisé dans la virtualisation des fonctions de réseau mobile de niveau 1 dans la région EMEA, avec une expertise inégalée dans des déploiements de production tels que Red Hat OpenStack, VMware Cloud OS et de solutions VNF telles qu’EPC, GiLAN, DPI et Voice over LTE/WiFi. Odine Solutions possède et gère également une infrastructure de cloud privé permettant des offres PaaS/SaaS pour les fournisseurs de services de communications et les agrégateurs voix/données en gros dans 36 pays par l’intermédiaire de POP régionaux situés aux États-Unis, au Royaume-Uni et en Allemagne.

http://www.odinesolutions.com/

À propos d’Affirmed Networks, Inc.

Affirmed Networks a attiré beaucoup d’attention avec sa solution de virtualisation des fonctions réseau (NFV) qui est devenue la norme pour les principaux opérateurs mobiles du monde entier. La société effectue actuellement des déploiements commerciaux, y compris dans les réseaux mobiles de niveau 1 et de niveau 2, et participe à de nombreux essais à travers le monde.

http://www.affirmednetworks.com

Contact :

Nom : Gokce Bilgili

Numéro de téléphone : +90-530-972-44-31

E-mail: bilgili.gokce@odinesolutions.com

The best Sky broadband deals in August 2018

Sky used to be known best for its TV service, but now its just as synonymous with home broadband internet. Sky broadband is one of the most popular providers in the UK.

Sky used to be known best for its TV service, but now its just as synonymous with home broadband internet. Sky broadband is one of the most popular providers in the UK. So whether you want broadband only, or a package of Sky TV and broadband, we’ll help you find your way to the best broadband deal.

Our postcode checker above will tell you whether the faster Sky Fibre is available in your area. The good news is that Sky has some great prices. And keep scrolling down the page to discover more information about Sky broadband.

Prefer to order by phone? Then call 08000-142-334 and speak to an adviser dedicated to Sky broadband deals.

See also:Broadband deals | BT broadband deals | Virgin broadband deals | Fibre broadband deals

Sky broadband plans compared – what broadband speed can I get with Sky?

Even before you start thinking about whether you want to add Sky TV or mobile to your internet package, you’ll need to decide what speed and data usage best suits your household. Consider whether you want to crank up the speed – and price – with a fibre broadband package.

Sky Broadband Unlimited

If you simply want basic broadband for checking your emails and using the web, then Sky’s entry-level Broadband Unlimited deal is one of the cheapest on the market. With download speeds averaging 10Mb (that’s around 1MB per second) it may struggle a little with streaming, especially if there are lots of devices trying to use it at once. Sky Broadband Unlimited includes:

Avg 17Mb speedSky Q Hub routerUnlimited data usageSky Broadband Shield

Sky Fibre Unlimited

The name’s a bit of a giveaway. It’s Sky’s super fast fibre package and make the data usage unlimited. It’s quite a big jump in price and you’ll be tied into an 18 month contract, but if you’ve got a data hungry household that are all simultaneously downloading, streaming and browsing, you’ll be glad of the extra speed. Sky Fibre Unlimited includes:

Avg 36Mb speedSky Q Hub routerUnlimited data usageSky Broadband Shield

Sky Fibre Max

This is the daddy of the Sky broadband family. The provider cranks up the speed to up to 58Mb, which equates to download speeds of roughly 7MB per second. Rapid. Sky Fibre Max includes:

Avg 58Mb speedSky Q Hub routerUnlimited data usageSky Broadband Shield

Can I order Sky broadband deals over the phone?

You sure can. Bash in the digits 08000-142-334 and talk to an adviser. They will take you through the purchase over the phone if you’d sooner not do it online.

Can I add any Sky TV packages deals?

When you sign up for Sky broadband, the sales pitch for Sky TV quickly follows. As a minimum, you’ll have to spend around £20 to add Sky Entertainment and then you can add further channels from there. Whatever you choose it comes with a Sky Q box, which lets you record up to 1TB worth of programming – that’s around 500 hours – and you can choose from the following bundles:

Entertainment Sky’s most affordable TV bundle throws in around 100 channels, including Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living. This is the base layer to which you can add one or more (or none) of the following.

Sky Cinema Whatever your film tastes, the eleven Sky Cinema channels are likely to have you covered. From Disney and Family to Thriller and Comedy.

Sky Sports Unless it’s on special offer, you’ll have to pay about an extra £20 a month to add Sky’s suite of sport channels. There are dedicated channels for football, cricket, golf and F1, while the main event station carries the headline events of the day.

Kids If there are children in the household, an extra fiver or so a month bags 10+ kids channels and thousands of on-demand episodes of children’s TV. And then there’s the Sky Kids app which features even more shows and games.

Box Sets If you spend your evenings binging on box sets, a fiver a month gives you immediate access to more than 350.

What is the Sky Q Hub router?

All Sky broadband plans now come with a Sky Q Hub. It’s a little bit on the chunky side, but that translates into a more powerful router. If you’re desperate for fast downloads, it connect to 5GHz channels and it has the capacity to connect 64 laptops, tablets, phones and other devices.

How long will my Sky broadband contract last?

If you go for Sky’s most affordable Broadband Unlimited plan, you’ll get a one year contract. With all of the Fibre packages, you’ll be tied into an 18 month commitment to Sky. You may not wish to be tied into a contract that long, but at least you’ll know what you’ll be paying for longer.

Sky Talk – do I get a Sky phone line?

The price you pay for Sky Broadband also includes Sky Line Rental, which lets you retain your existing home phone number.

You can pay an extra premium for a Sky Talk allowance – for example, Sky Talk Evenings and Weekends allows unlimited calls during those windows (evenings are defined as 7pm-7am), Sky Talk Anytime Extra for as many calls as you wish to UK landlines at any time and Sky Talk International Extra if you have friends or family living overseas.

Sky Talk customers also get the benefit of the Sky Talk Shield. It gives you greater control over blocking unwanted calls and numbers.

Do I get Sky email?

If you want it, you’ll be assigned with a Sky Yahoo! Mail account. You can access this email account on any computer, smartphone or tablet – not just your home PC or laptop.

What is Sky WiFi?

As a Sky broadband customer, you’ll get access to unlimited usage of Sky’s wi-fi hotspots that are dotted around the UK. You can connect up to six devices to the thousands of hotspot locations, which include popular coffee and restaurant chains.

What is Sky Broadband Shield?

Access to Sky Broadband Shield is included with every internet plan and adds a layer of security to your online life at home. As well as seeking out malware and phishing scam attempts, the Shield includes parental controls so you can make sure your children aren’t landing on websites they shouldn’t.

Sky broadband help and the Switch Squad

There’s a multitude of online guides, help and support on the Sky website, but you can call Sky Help as well to discuss your broadband on 0330-041-4376.

If you’re having difficulty switching to Sky broadband, the company has a dedicated so-called Switch Squad to get you transferred over from your current broadband provider.

To transfer to Sky Broadband now, you can order online at the Sky Shop.

In extreme situations, it’s all about creative thinking – CNET

We certainly live in interesting times. Every day there’s news about how we’re coping with natural disasters, working to save endangered species and tackling new challenges on Earth — and beyond.

We certainly live in interesting times. Every day there’s news about how we’re coping with natural disasters, working to save endangered species and tackling new challenges on Earth — and beyond.

While some people might say these days are playing out that old Chinese curse, I think Robert Kennedy had it right when he focused on the opportunities of living in interesting times: “They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.”

Make that men and women — with a little help from smartphones, lasers, robots and other everyday tech.

After months of research and planning, we sent more than a dozen reporters, photographers and videographers around the world to check out some extreme — you could say insane — situations and report back on how tech is helping creative men and women problem solve and bring about change.

Welcome to Road Trip 2018: Taking It To Extremes.

We met with scientists in the Mojave Desert, where they are working to save the Devils Hole pupfish, one of the rarest fish on the planet, so we can learn how the millennia-old species survives water that would be lethal to most fish. We got in the water with the USA Surfing Team to see how they’ve re-created the perfect waves as part of their training for the 2020 Summer Olympics. And we crunched numbers with Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champ Robert Whittaker to learn the low-tech secret behind his successful training program.

But that’s not all. We visited the Petrified Forest to see how rangers are using microchips to keep visitors from taking the park’s treasures and toured custom bomb shelters that mega rich Silicon Valley executives are installing to prepare for worst-case scenarios. And we learned how firefighters are using drones and infrared cameras to help fight California’s wildfires.

This is the fifth year I’ve had the privilege to oversee our Road Trip adventures. Each summer, our reporters and editors have gone on assignment to meet the people, companies and tech reshaping our lives.

Last year, we met people working on the future, today. In Road Trip 2017: The Smartest Stuff, we focused on the kind of gee-whiz, cool stuff that inspires a sense of wonder, changes our perceptions and makes a difference in the way we live and work as we move into a world of smart, connected devices.

In 2016, we wanted to see firsthand whether tech was helping in the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. The result — Road Trip 2016: Life, Disrupted — led to dozens of stories, photo galleries, videos and essays about how smartphones, Wi-Fi and social media are being used by millions of refugees in camps and makeshift shelters, from Greece to France to a remote island off the coast of Australia. And we saw for ourselves how tech sometimes fails them.

Road Trip 2018: Taking It to Extremes kicked off this week with a deep dive by CNET News Senior Reporter Claire Reilly into Coober Pedy, where survival depends on jury-rigging a combination of high- and low-tech solutions for living in their Mad Max-esque underground city.

“In the middle of the South Australian desert and an eight-hour drive in either direction from the nearest capital city (Adelaide to the south or Alice Springs to the north), Coober Pedy is off the grid and mostly hidden underground,” Reilly writes. “More than half the residents live buried in the bedrock in cavelike homes called dugouts in order to escape freezing winters, scorching summers and the occasional cyclone. Often, the only sign you’re walking on someone’s roof is the air vent that’s sprouted up next to your boots.”

As always, we hope you’ll join us on this year’s adventure — and see for yourself why living in interesting times is an opportunity to turn extreme situations into an exercise in creative problem solving.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

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Samsung SmartThings Wifi is a mesh router for your smart home

If you’re underwhelmed by the current mesh wireless routers on the market, Samsung’s might finally have you what you’re looking for.

The router, called the Samsung SmartThings Wifi, is a refresh of last year’s Samsung Connect Home but instead uses Plume’s AI-based mesh technology over Samsung’s in-house tech.

If you’re underwhelmed by the current mesh wireless routers on the market, Samsung’s might finally have you what you’re looking for.

The router, called the Samsung SmartThings Wifi, is a refresh of last year’s Samsung Connect Home but instead uses Plume’s AI-based mesh technology over Samsung’s in-house tech. On top of providing a formidable 4,500 square feet of coverage, the SmartThings Wifi can also act a SmartThings IoT hub.

Each individual unit packs a Qualcomm (Quad 710MHz) processor, 512 MB of RAM and 8GB of Flash memory and speeds of up to 866 Mbps on 5GHz and 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz channel – giving it more than enough juice for 4K streaming and gaming.

Setup for the router can be done from either an iOS or Android device running iOS 10 or higher or Android OS 5.0 or higher, respectively, and the routers support Bluetooth 4.1, ZigBee and Z-Wave standards.

Add Samsung’s SmartThings IoT platform to the mix that allows you to control smart lights, thermostats, locks, etc… and you’ve got a mesh router that gives the smart home crowd something to write home about.

A three-pack of the Samsung SmartThings Wifi is available now for $279 (around £220, AU$385) while a single device retails for $119 (around £90, AU$165) on its own.

Into mesh routers? Don’t miss our Google Wifi review

Samsung Connect Home gets new life as SmartThings Wifi – CNET

Samsung’s mesh Wi-Fi system debuted last year as Samsung Connect. Today, Samsung announced the release of its second-generation mesh system, rebranded under the SmartThings umbrella as SmartThings Wifi.

Samsung’s mesh Wi-Fi system debuted last year as Samsung Connect. Today, Samsung announced the release of its second-generation mesh system, rebranded under the SmartThings umbrella as SmartThings Wifi. Along with new hardware, the company is partnering with Plume, a cloud-based Wi-Fi management system.

Plume technology

Plume works in the background to manage bandwidth, monitoring how much data each device is using and sending, then selecting the most effective band and frequency channel, depending on your needs. You’ll also be able to set parental controls, manage device screen time, and set up special passwords for guests.

Plume has its own app, where you can view a detailed analysis in real time and diagnostics for your network. The app isn’t necessary, though. Users with the SmartThings app will still have the benefit of a Plume-managed network. Plume is transitioning into a membership-based service, but customers who purchase SmartThings Wifi won’t need to worry about membership fees.

Networking specs

Technical specs for processing, memory and speed in the SmartThings Wifi mesh system are identical to the last generation, save for the addition of Plume as a network manager. Here’s a look at the numbers:

Dimensions (D x W x H)

4.72 x 4.72 x 1.16 inches

Processor

Qualcomm (Quad 710MHz)

Memory

512MB (RAM) + 8GB (Flash)

Wi-Fi standards

2 x 2 MU-MIMO, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac – Wave2

Speed

AC1300 (866 Mbps at 5GHz, 400 Mbps at 2.4GHz)

Antennae

7 (5GHz: 2 ea., 2.4GHz: 2 ea., BT: 1, Z-Wave: 1, Zigbee: 1)

Connectivity

Bluetooth 4.1, Zigbee, Z-Wave

Ports

RJ45 x 2, Power x 1

Operating temperatures

0-104 degrees Fahrenheit

Power source

AC100-240V, 50-60Hz

Like the previous mesh Wi-Fi system from Samsung, SmartThings Wifi comes with a SmartThings hub built in, so you’ll save money there, if you’re planning to go all-in with a Samsung smart home. SmartThings Wifi is managed by the Android- and iOS-compatible SmartThings app.

Each SmartThings Wifi router has a range of 1,500 square feet, and you can expand or customize coverage by purchasing individual routers. The system, available today on Samsung’s website and at retailers, comes in a one-pack for $120 and a three-pack (enough to support 4,500 square feet) for $280. That’s a significant price cut from the original system’s three-pack MSRP of $380. Those prices convert to roughly AU$163 and £94 for the one-pack and AU$380 and £218 for the three-pack.

Wi-Fi isn’t the only SmartThings product Samsung is updating. Today’s announcement also included a new line of SmartThings products, including a wireless SmartThings hub. Last week, Samsung announced the Galaxy Home, a Bixby-powered smart speaker. Can Bixby and the SmartThings ecosystem play catch-up with Google, Alexa and Siri? Only time will tell.

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Are orbiting hotels the next step for space tourism?

Main image: The Aurora Station has room for six space tourists. Credit: Orion Span

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights… from space? The perennial bucket-list experience – seeing the aurora borealis and the aurora australis (Southern Lights) in the night sky – could one day get trumped by the chance to see them from 200 miles up in low-Earth orbit.

Main image: The Aurora Station has room for six space tourists. Credit: Orion Span

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights… from space? The perennial bucket-list experience – seeing the aurora borealis and the aurora australis (Southern Lights) in the night sky – could one day get trumped by the chance to see them from 200 miles up in low-Earth orbit.

Named after the polar phenomena, Aurora Station is a concept from US space company Orion Span to create a ‘luxury hotel in space’. Able to host six people, including two crew members, Aurora Station is slated to begin operations in 2022, with guests paying the suitably unearthly sum of $9.5 million for a 12-day trip. Aurora Station will offer a ‘true astronaut experience’, but is it a viable ‘space tourism’ product?

What is the Aurora Station?

Claimed to be the first fully modular space station, the design for Aurora Station has lots of windows, and Wi-Fi so guests can livestream their views of Earth back home. Since it will be orbiting around 200 miles up, guests will orbit the planet every 90 minutes, so 16 times per day, with a sunrise and sunset to watch each and every time.

When that gets dull, there’s a VR holodeck. At first, the VR experience will consist of scenarios where guests can ‘feel as though they were walking on the moon or playing golf back home.’ However, Orion Span plans to eventually offer projected holography, a technology that right now is years away from practical implementation.

Aurora Station is modular, so will be able to be expanded over time. Credit: Orion Span

When will the Aurora Station launch?

Aurora Station is due to launch in late 2021 and open its doors (okay, airlock) in 2022, and Orion Span is now taking returnable deposits of US$80,000 for trips. The total US$9.5 million price of a 12-day stay includes the outward and return journeys, as well as training, astronaut certification, first-class roundtrip airfare and five-star accommodation at the launch site.

Are space hotels the next step for space tourism?

Okay, so this may all be a little premature given that the likes of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin have yet to begin their planned suborbital space tourism flights, but Orion Span is already looking beyond those early space tourism experiences.

“Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are offering thrilling flights that give people a brief taste of space for a few hours,” says Frank Bunger, chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span. “Orion Span is offering an experiential destination in space for days and potentially weeks or more in the future.”

The not-exactly-spacious interior of Aurora Station. Credit: Orion Span

Is the Aurora Station realistic?

The prospect of SpaceX, Boeing and others providing trips into orbit for space tourists seems distant, which makes even getting to the Aurora Station problematic.

“It is certainly premature to speak of space hotels,” says Dr Morris Jones, an Australian space analyst and writer. “We will need a reliable and accessible orbital tourist vehicle before we can seriously consider space hotels.”

Bunger insists that guests will travel to and from Aurora Station on a rocket launch by space agencies, or with companies like SpaceX or Blue Origin. However, a major challenge is that an orbital space station requires the use of fully-tested parts that work continuously for very long periods; ground servicing is not possible.

What’s wrong with the ISS?

Orbiting since 1998 and growing all the time, the International Space Station (ISS) is a space laboratory, not a hotel, although is has played host to several multi-millionaire space tourists. “It has a less-than-desirable environment for discerning travelers, with a utilitarian design, exposed cabling, and a proliferation of Velcro,” says Bunger.

There’s also the small matter of training. “The training program [for the ISS] is extremely lengthy at 24 months, and there is no certification program,” says Bunger. Orion Span plans to conduct online training followed by in-person training at Orion Span’s HQ in Houston, Texas. Part of the reason why that’s possible is the design of the space station hotel itself.

The ISS has been in orbit since 1998. Credit: NASA

“We’ve developed technology to remove moving parts from the exterior of the station,” says Bunger. “By doing that, we eliminated the need for people to go outside and do repairs, and that, in turn, eliminates significant cost and risk of extravehicular activities (EVA).”

Is it cheaper than a visit to the ISS?

It costs a lot more than $9.5 million to stay aboard the ISS. The last ‘space tourist’ – Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté – paid $35 million for his trip to the ISS in 2009, and the current cost is about twice that. “We offer a better price and a far better experience,” says Bunger. “Orion Span will focus on providing guests the luxuries of a fine hotel by incorporating unique and upscale amenities, while also providing an authentic astronaut experience.”

The ISS orbits further from Earth than Aurora Station is planned to. Credit: NASA

Will Aurora Station orbit close to the ISS?

Around 200 miles above the Earth and at 48 degrees inclination, Aurora Station will have a different orbital path to the ISS. First up, it would orbit slightly lower than the ISS does, so the views of Earth will be slightly better – at least in terms of guests trying to photograph their hometown and other landmarks. It will also be observable from Earth, just as the ISS is.

Is Aurora Station just for space tourists?

“The biggest challenge is making a business case for one,” says Jones about space hotels, though Orion Span does have a few plans. One is to sell ‘space condominiums’. “We envision not only a hotel, but ownership possibilities within Aurora Station to help support burgeoning demand in low-Earth orbit,” he says. “Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo.”

Another is to open up the hotel to state-sponsored spaceflight. “Aurora Station is the answer to the world’s expanding demand in space travel,” says Bunger. “That includes tourists, zero-gravity research, as well as national space agencies. We can host their professional astronauts aboard Aurora Station for a fraction of the cost of building and growing their own national human spaceflight program.”

That’s key, even if Aurora Station itself seems like a pipe-dream; it’s possible the U.S. could walk away from the ISS during the 2020s, which would almost certainly kill it off. So where would astronauts go? Aurora Station could eventually be one destination, but it’s one of a few on the drawing board.

Orbital space stations of the future

Bigelow Aerospace has plans for its own private space habitats. Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

With the imminent testing of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft – each able to take six or seven astronauts – the price of getting into orbit could fall over the medium term, and that will eventually attract the attention of governments in small or developing countries wanting to send their own astronauts into orbit without needing to start their own hugely costly space program.

“Aurora Station can host remote sensing equipment, communications equipment, and it can validate space hardware for commercial and government entities,” says Bunger.

Not surprisingly, Orion Span is not the only company eyeing up the need for spaceflight opportunities from state-owned space agencies. Another is Axiom Space’s Axiom Station, which would involve attaching $2.2 billion worth of habitation modules to the ISS that can eventually orbit alone.

However, the most advanced project is Bigelow Aerospace, whose inflatable BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) module has been attached to the ISS since 2016. Bigelow Aerospace has plans to create separate, independent space stations using its larger B330 modules, and launch them into orbit in 2021 – and into lunar orbit by 2022.

So the primary business case for ‘space hotels’ is likely to be as research destinations for the next generation of astronauts … and perhaps the occasional billionaire.

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