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The DHS Issues Medical Advisory for Medtronic Cardiac Devices

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a cybersecurity warning that documents vulnerabilities in the Medtronic Conexus Radio Frequency Telemetry Protocol. Medtronic makes cardio-defibrillators that are planted into a patient's chest and can be read and programmed by trained medical personnel. This allows the devices to communicate with home monitoring devices and Carelink programmers found at doctor's offices. These vulnerabilities require a low level of skill to exploit as the proprietary Conexus telemetry protocol utilized within this ecosystem does not implement authentication or authorization. An attacker can inject, replay, modify, and/or intercept data within the telemetry communication. This communication protocol provides the ability to read and write memory values to affected implanted cardiac devices; therefore, an attacker could exploit this communication protocol to change memory in the implanted cardiac device. Because the devices also lack encryption, attackers can listen to communications, including the transmission of sensitive data. Medtronics is working on developing updates to fix the vulnerabilities.

"It is possible with this attack to cause harm to a patient, either by erasing the firmware that is giving necessary therapy to the patient's heart, or by directly invoking shock related commands on the defibrillator," he said. "Since this protocol is unauthenticated, the ICD cannot discern if communications its receiving are coming from a trusted Medtronic device, or an attacker." A successful attacker could erase or reprogram the defibrillator's firmware, and run any command on the device.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 4:05 PM (CDT)

PCIe SSDs Will Overtake SATA in 2019

A recent report from Digitimes claims that PCIe SSDs could finally overtake SATA SSD shipments in 2019. Unit prices for 512GB PCIe SSDs have supposedly fallen 11% sequentially, down to a price of $55 in Q1 2019, while SATA SSD prices only dropped 9%. The price gap between the different SSDs was around 30% in 2018, and according to the publication's market sources, that gap is only going to shrink as time goes on. Meanwhile, thanks to the rapidly falling prices of NAND flash memory chips, total SSD shipments are expected to rise dramatically. Digitimes expects shipments to increase "20-25%" in 2019, while a separate report claims that changes in enterprise market shipments could be even more dramatic. Relatively low prices for high performance drives with capacities of up to 16TB are apparently tempting many companies away from HDDs. Meanwhile, laptop makers are starting to ship lower-cost devices with SSDs by default, and according to PCPartPicker's latest charts, retail prices for standalone consumer drives have been dropping as well. Overall, it looks like 2019 will be a great year for anyone who's looking for more speedy storage, but the big flash manufacturer's efforts to slow production could stop the tumbling prices by 2020.

Falling average selling prices for consumer Gen 3.0x2 PCIe SSDs fitted in notebooks will accelerate the adoption of such SSDs by OEMs. This, coupled with demand for ever-higher storage capacity and speed to support cloud computing, 5G and autonomous driving applications, will further stimulate market demand for PCIe SSDs and inspire brand vendors to gear up production of such lucrative storage devices and related chips, the sources indicated. For instance, Taiwan-based IC designers Silicon Motion Technology, Phison Electronics, and Silicon Integrated Systems are racing to roll out enhanced version of PCI SSD controller chips, while major brand vendors such as Kingston Technology, Adata Technology, Transcend Information, Seagate and Micron have also listed PCIe SSDs as their mainstream product lines.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 10:17 AM (CDT)

Google Fined $1.7 Billion Over Monopolistic Practices

The European commission has reportedly slapped Google with a 1.49 billion Euro (or $1.69 billion USD) fine for "abusing its monopoly in online advertising." More specifically, the report alleges that Google prevented companies that using its search service from running any third party adverts, and the commission claims that "Google's rivals were not able to compete on the merits, either because there was an outright prohibition for them to appear on publisher websites or because Google reserved for itself by far the most valuable commercial space on those websites, while at the same time controlling how rival search adverts could appear." Google apparently changed these practices in 2016, but it took some time for the repercussions to catch up with them.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said: "Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 10:30 AM (CDT)

MSI Expected to Overtake Samsung in the Curved Monitor Market

A recent report from Digitimes claims that MSI could soon steal the title of "world's largest supplier of curved gaming monitors" from Samsung in 2019. While flat monitors have dominated "gaming monitor" sales in the past, MSI claims that curved monitors accounted for about 60% of all gaming monitor shipments in 2018, and could rise to 66.7% in 2019. The gaming hardware market is still growing, even as the PC market continues to shrink as a whole, so its not surprising to see the big manufacturers increase their focus on their enthusiast and "gaming" lineups.

The company's motherboard business is currently facing issues including CPU shortages and decreasing demand. Despite Intel having already promised to ease the tight supply by the end of the second quarter, MSI still expects overall motherboard shipments to shrink by over 10% in 2019. MSI shipped around six million motherboards in 2018 and is expected to maintain a similar volume in 2019. Meanwhile, MSI is expected to finish digesting its graphics card inventory in the second quarter and begin promoting Nvidia's new cards to help increase its sales. MSI is expected to deliver around four million graphics cards in 2019, about the same level as in the past couple of years.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)

Lazareth Teases a Transforming Hoverbike

French car and bike maker Lazareth just teased a flying, turbine powered "hoverbike" that can transform into a motorcycle. No, I wouldn't believe them either, and many were skeptical of the company's claims back when they showed off renderings of the LMV 496 years ago, but they uploaded a live demonstration as proof. The contraption reportedly uses 4 96,000 RPM JetCat jet turbines to lift itself off the ground, and only weights about 308 lb while making as much as 529 lb of thrust. However, what isn't clear is how the bike is powered in "road" mode, or if the prototype's wheels are even powered at all. New Atlas seems to think there's some kind of electric drive train, and I wouldn't be surprised if the turbines were used to drive the car in road mode. Jet turbines have been used to make ridiculously high power motorcycles before, but as far as I know, this is the first one that can fly with them.

Lazareth has hover-tested the bike on tethers to a height of 1 m (3.3 ft), with his brave and lightweight girlfriend Vanessa at the helm... The Lazareth team will be bringing the Moto Volante to Gitex in Dubai this October, and will launch pre-orders there at a price of 496,000 Euros (approx. US$560,000). La Moto Volante joins Jetpack Aviation's Speeder as the only two jet-powered flying motorcycle concepts we've seen to date. Mind you, the Speeder is much more of a single-purpose vehicle without any road capability, and as such we'd expect its flight dynamics to be superior and less compromised. But Lazareth's got a full size prototype in the air that's also road-certified, so congratulations to the Lazareth team for building what must be acknowledged as a ground-breaking multi-mode vehicle.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 11:48 AM (CDT)

Texas Is Trying to Block Tesla from Servicing Its Cars

Tesla’s problems are beginning to grow in the Lone Star State: the automaker’s direct-sales model is already banned in Texas due to the clever use of old laws by local car dealers with a loud lobbying voice, but legislators have now introduced a bill that would prevent the company from servicing its cars through its own service centers. While Texans have managed to get their hands on Tesla vehicles by having them delivered from other states, the passing of this law could mean a whole new can of problems.

Well, Texas’s use of direct-sale laws was already ridiculously abused but they are now pushing it to a whole new level of stupidity. If the legislature actually approves this bill, it would be extremely disappointing from a political standpoint and a major hit to Tesla itself and Tesla owners in Texas. Texan EV fans, or free market fans for that matter, should contact their local representatives and let them know how you feel about this ridiculous attempt to abuse legislation to give a monopoly to franchise dealers who are afraid of fair competition from Tesla and other companies looking to sell and service their own vehicles.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 10:45 AM (CDT)

Tesla Unveils Model Y Electric SUV with 300-Mile Range and Seven Seats

Tesla officially announced the latest member of its vehicle family Thursday, the Model Y, a crossover/compact SUV version of the Model 3 starting at $39,000. The Y is rather similar appearance-wise but sits a little higher, offering 66 cubic feet (1.9 cubic meters) of storage space and an optional third row for up to seven seats. Specs include 300 miles of range, expected 5-star rating, 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, and a 0.23 drag coefficient.

The more expensive versions of Model Y with a bigger battery pack, dual motor, and higher performance are going to come first in Fall 2020. This one is likely going to use the same Long Range battery pack as Model 3 and it is getting a slightly shorter range due to the size. Instead of opening reservations with a $1,000 deposit like they did for the Model 3, Tesla already launched the Model Y online design studio and buyers can place an order with a $2,500 deposit.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 10:15 AM (CDT)

Tumblr Defends Controversial Porn Ban despite 20 Percent Drop in Traffic

Tumblr’s pornography ban in December has resulted in a major exodus: numbers from web analytics firm Similarweb reveal the blogging site has lost over 100 million monthly page views since the end of January and saw a 17 percent decline in visits over the last 30 days. Despite this slump, Tumblr has defended the ban, calling it "the right decision."

In December, Tumblr CEO Jeff D'Onofrio said in a blog post that it chose to remove adult content after weighting the pros and cons of expression in the community. D'Onofrio said the platform had to consider the impact on different age groups, demographics, cultures and mindsets. "We made a strategic decision for the business that better positions it for long-term growth among more types of users. This was the right decision," a Tumblr spokesperson said Thursday in an emailed statement.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 9:25 AM (CDT)

Steam Link Anywhere Enables Game Streaming over the Internet

Valve has announced Steam Link Anywhere which allows Steam users to stream their games from their PC to their other computers over the internet or Wi-Fi, as long as their computer has good upload speed and their Steam Link device has a good network connection. I confirmed that I could stream from my gaming PC to my mobile phone using mobile data. This service is free and the Steam Link (BETA) app can be downloaded from Google Play. Steam users will need to update their Steam Client to the beta build to enable the functionality.

To use Steam Link Anywhere: Update your Steam Client to the beta build, dated March 13 or newer. Add a computer and select "Other Computer." Follow the pairing instructions on screen. This service is in early beta, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to improve the service.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 5:25 PM (CDT)

VR Rhythm Game 'Beat Saber' Sells over 1 Million Copies

Beat Saber may have become the first VR title to sell more than 1 million copies. Beat Games co-founder and CEO Jaroslav Beck thinks the secret to the game's success is "It is super intuitive." He also credited his team for creating a game that didn't crash and didn't lead to motion sickness. "'The code is super polished,' Beck said." In addition to today's release of the paid DLC "Monstercat Music Pack," the developers are considering adding new genres of music to the game and more self-published free music. Beat Saber currently maintains a 97% positive approval rating on Steam.

Beat Saber surpassed the one million unit milestone in February, according to Beat Games co-founder and CEO Jaroslav Beck, who credited word-of-mouth for most of the game's success in a recent interview with Variety. "We did zero PR whatsoever," Beck said. "We didn't expect that it would blow up that crazy."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 2:32 PM (CDT)

Windows Update Fixes Previous Patch's Mouse Issues

Microsoft has released a fix to a previous update that reportedly caused "graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games, such as Destiny 2." KB4482887 contained the performance enhancing "Retpoline" Spectre mitigation, and in addition to the new mouse and graphics fixes, the newly released KB4489899 update patches some Microsoft Hololens calibration and tracking issues as well.

After installing this update on machines that have multiple audio devices, applications that provide advanced options for internal or external audio output devices may stop working unexpectedly. This issue occurs for users that select an audio output device different from the "Default Audio Device." Examples of applications that may stop working include: Windows Media Player, Realtek HD Audio Manager, Sound Blaster Control Panel

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 10:19 AM (CDT)

Tesla Raises Prices to Keep More Retail Stores Open

Tesla has announced that is going to raise prices 3% to keep more of its retail locations open. Some stores in high visibility locations will be reopened. These stores will have fewer employees, but test drives will be available. Some stores are under review and a decision will be made over the coming months to close or keep them open. As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3% on average worldwide.

Potential Tesla owners will have a week to place their order before prices rise, so current prices are valid until March 18th. There will be no price increase to the $35,000 Model 3. The price increases will only apply to the more expensive variants of Model 3, as well as Model S and X. To be clear, all sales worldwide will still be done online, in that potential Tesla owners coming in to stores will simply be shown how to order a Tesla on their phone in a few minutes. Stores will also carry a small number of cars in inventory for customers who wish to drive away with a Tesla immediately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 3:25 PM (CDT)