12-inch Retina MacBook Air to ship in Q2, says WSJ

Retina-MacBook-Air-Delayed-Won-t-Be-Shown-at-October-16-Event-Report-462023-2Manufacturers are gearing up to ship Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display in Q2, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal. Mass production has already started but it won’t be available to ship in “large quantities” until sometime between April and June. The question is, will it be unveiled during Monday’s Apple Watch event as many hope.


Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac first reported on the 12-inch Macbook Air with a “radically new design” in January. Notably, the “MacBook Stealth” (as it’s called internally) eschews the full-sized USB ports, MagSafe connector, and SD Card slot we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on Apple’s MacBook Air range. Instead, inputs are said to be limited to a reversible USB Type-C port, headphone jack, and dual-microphones. The changes allow for a thinner and lighter body, according to Gurman.

Apple launched the MacBook Air in 2008 and currently sells it in 11.6- or 13.3-inch configurations.

Create a Website That Self-Destructs When Google Indexes It

198969-paranoidni-teorie-spolecenstvi-nemu-7699412718481904316 deep-web the-dark-web-3-638You know we’re dealing with something unusual when we write about a site that we can’t actually link to anymore. Unindexed was an experiment byMatthew Rothberg that created a website which continuously searched Google for itself.

When the site finally discovered itself in the search results, it was permanently deleted. That happened on February 24.

Screen Shot 2015 03 09 at 09.26.30 e1425893254802 Heres how you create a website that self destructs when Google indexes itRotherberg describes Unindexed as “an experiment in the nature of ephemerality and persistence on the Web.” The link to the Uninvited site was shared by word of mouth and postal mail initially.

Visitors were encouraged to contribute posts to the site and share the link with others but warned that how they spread it would effect how quickly Google’s search bots discovered it.

Unindexed survived for 22 days before being indexed and deleted. However, if you want to build you own self-destructing site, Rothberg has shared the code on GitHub.

Google says its Titan drones will make their first flight in a few months

titan-aerospace Titan-Aerospace.jpgAt Mobile World Congress this morning, Google’s Sundar Pichai said that Titan, the drone company Google acquired in April of 2014, would be conducting its first test flight later this year. Google bought the company after it was widely reported Facebook had made an offer. Both were interested in the drone’s ability to stay aloft for long periods of time with little energy and to carry a payload capable of providing internet connectivity to people down below.

Pichai says Titan is about where Project Loon, Google high altitude balloons, was a couple of years ago. The Titan team is building a new type of super lightweight solar-powered airplane that would be capable of hovering in one area of the stratosphere. This could provide a way to beam internet down to a targeted area on the ground below, supplement existing services with extra bandwidth, or providing access in an area that’s suddenly offline, like after an earthquake or other disaster.

Loon and Titan could complement each other, providing what Pichai described as a mesh of flying cell towers circling overhead. While the balloons can be tricky to steer and cover a wide area, Titan aircraft could be maneuvered to provide capacity to particular areas based on demand. In both instances, Google’s plan is to partner with carriers to provide overlapping service to people on the ground so that they don’t have to worry about exactly where it’s coming from. Pichai said the hope is to begin connecting some of the roughly 4 billion people on earth who currently don’t have reliable internet access.

Sandisk’s new 200GB microSD card has more capacity than most laptops

sandiskIt was only a year ago that SanDisk unveiled the first ever 128GB microSD card. Now, at Mobile World Congress, the company has upped the stakes once again, announcing a microSD card with an incredible 200GB of storage. This is more memory than many modern laptops equipped with solid state drives, and can turn any Android device into a portable hard drive for music and photos. This is certainly where SanDisk is hoping the card will be useful (the company notes that seven out of 10 images are now captured on smartphones and tablets, a ratio they predict will rise to nine out of 10 by the year 2019) but the future of SD cards on mobiles is far from certain.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both break with tradition by dropping the option for expandable storage (just as the iPhone has ever since its inception) and although HTC’s new One M9 does give customers the option, HTC is far from leading the market at this point. SanDisk’s new card does have impressive transfer speeds of 90MB/s, but that’s nothing compared to recent SSDs and there’s even some evidence that additional storage can slow down Android smartphones in general. Still, there are millions of existing Android devices that the new microSD card will work on, although with a $400 price tag, not everyone will want to upgrade.

Hyperloop Construction Starts Next Year With the First Full-Scale Track

Hyperloop Alpha

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the company that wants to move the revolutionary transit system out of Elon Musk’s brain into the real world, plans to start construction on an actual hyperloop next year.

OK, it will only run five miles around central California, and it won’t come anywhere close to the 800 mph Musk promised, but it’s a start.

The Hyperloop, detailed by the SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO in a 57-page alpha white paper in August 2013, is a transportation network of above-ground tubes that would span hundreds of miles. Thanks to extremely low air pressure inside those tubes, capsules filled with people zip through them at near supersonic speeds.

The idea is to build a five-mile track in Quay Valley, a planned community (itself a grandiose idea) that will be built from scratch on 7,500 acres of land around Interstate 5, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Construction of the hyperloop will be paid for with $100 million Hyperloop Transportation Technologies expects to raise through a direct public offering in the third quarter of this year.

They’re serious about this, too. It’s not a proof of concept, or a scale model. It’s the real deal. “It’s not a test track,” CEO Dirk Ahlborn says, even if five miles is well short of the 400-mile stretch of tubes Musk envisions carrying people between northern and southern California in half an hour. Anyone can buy a ticket and climb aboard, but they won’t see anything approaching 800 mph. Getting up to that mark requires about 100 miles of track, Ahlborn says, and “speed is not really what we want to test here.”

Instead, this first prototype will test and tweak practical elements like station setup, boarding procedures, and pod design. “This is a very natural step,” Ahlborn says, on the way to building a longer track that allows for higher speeds and testing freight shipping. It’s also a way to prove that yes, this thing can be built.

Those designs were put together by a group of nearly 200 engineers all over the country who spend their free time spitballing ideas in exchange for stock options, and have day jobs at places like Boeing, NASA, Yahoo!, and Airbus. They and a group of 25 students at UCLA’s graduate architecture program are working on a wide array of issues, including route planning, capsule design, and cost analysis.

The partnership with Quay Valley makes sense for both parties. It’s a chunk of private land where Ahlborn doesn’t have to grapple with the right-of-way issues that have plagued California’s high-speed rail project. Quay Hays has been trying to build his housing and commercial development project for nearly a decade (the 2008 recession put the plan on hold). The Hyperloop fits with his vision of a place where cars take a back seat to non-polluting public transit systems (Ahlborn says the track and station will run as least partly on solar power).

For Quay, it doubles as advertising: The chance to ride in the world’s first Hyperloop is a great reason for people driving down I-5 to take their bathroom break in the settlement he’s evangelizing, take a look around, maybe buy a house.

Samsung builds the Galaxy S6 hype by poking fun at it

Screenshot_1For a company on the brink of its most important product launch ever, Samsung appears to be uncommonly relaxed about the whole thing. A new Is This The Next? website from Samsung’s Norwegian team introduces us to a set of amusingly exaggerated concepts for what the Galaxy S6 might look like. Will Samsung’s next flagship phone have a three-sided display? Will it be durable, made wholly out of glass, and feature stereo speakers on the front? Samsung takes all the breathless speculation about its next flagship and produces a slice of smart humor that’s endearing even to those of us that it mocks.

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The NSA and Britain’s intelligence network hacked the largest SIM card maker to secretly monitor cellphones

gemalto-sim-cards-hacked-by-nsa-gchqThe US National Security Agency (NSA) and British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) hacked the largest SIM card manufacturer in the world, according to secret documents leaked to The Intercept by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

All mobile communications are private because of an encrypted connection between an individual’s cellphone and the wireless carrier’s network. The key to decrypt that communication is in every phone’s SIM card.


Once US and British agents stole the encryption keys from the SIM manufacturer, the government agencies gained the ability to secretly monitor voice and data cellular communications from 450 wireless network providers without the approval of telecom companies or foreign governments. They could intercept and decrypt all communications, if they chose to.

The SIM card manufacturer – a huge company called Gemalto, which operates in 85 countries – still couldn’t find a trace of the hacks, even after The Intercept alerted it that GCHQ had access to its entire network.

“I’m disturbed, quite concerned that this has happened,” Paul Beverly, a Gemalto exec, told The Intercept.

The leaked GCHQ documents only had statistics for three months of encryption key theft in 2010, but even in just that short time, it obtained millions of keys over that brief span.