Category Archives: Technology

Daily trends and happenings in technology world

L-com Expands Portfolio of Outdoor Cables for Industrial Ethernet Applications

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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. L com Global Connectivity, a preferred manufacturer of wired and wireless connectivity products, announced today that it has added several new families of outdoor cables for use in Industrial Ethernet, manufacturing, process industry, outdoor and direct burial applications.

This new cable family is comprised of five series of outdoor cables: Category 6a, Category 6a shielded, Category 6 shielded, Category 5e shielded and Category 5e shielded LSZH.  All of these cables are designed to support Ethernet cable runs outside. They feature a polyethylene (PE) jacket that provides moisture and UV protection outdoors, with some series also boasting a CMX UL burn rating. 

These outdoor rated cables feature 23 AWG or 24 AWG solid conductors and are EIA568 color-coded for compatibility with standard installations. Shielded versions feature an overall foil shield to protect against EMI/RFI interference.  The low-smoke-zero-halogen (LSZH) series provides an added level of safety for applications where the combustive toxicity of PE may be hazardous. These cables can operate in temperatures ranging from -40°C to +75°C, depending on the cable type, and some are suitable for direct burial.  All series are available off the shelf in 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100 feet lengths. Custom lengths are available upon request.

“The addition of these outdoor cables gives L-com one of the most comprehensive portfolios of in stock outdoor and industrial Ethernet cables in the industry.  With Cat6a, Cat6 and Cat5e available in shielded, unshielded, LSZH, high-flex and direct burial versions, these new lines are sure to exceed your outdoor cabling requirements, whatever they may be,” said Dustin Guttadauro , Product Manager.

These new outdoor cables are in stock and available for immediate shipment.

For more information about this release, please contact:

Peter McNeil L-com Global Connectivity 17792 Fitch Irvine, CA 978-682-6936 x1174

About L-com Global Connectivity:

L-com Global Connectivity, a leading manufacturer of wired and wireless connectivity products, offers a wide range of solutions and unrivaled customer service for the electronics and data communications industries. The company’s product portfolio includes cable assemblies, connectors, adapters, antennas, enclosures, surge protectors and more. L-com is headquartered in North Andover, Mass. , is ISO 9001: 2008 certified and many of its products are UL® recognized. L-com is an Infinite Electronics company.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE L-com Global Connectivity

YouTube TV expands to ten more US metropolitan markets

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

YouTube TV seemed an adequate addition to the increasingly crowded streaming television market, but it launched back in April with a modest area footprint, operating in only five US cities for its first few months. Today, they’re expanding availability to anyone in half a dozen secondary metropolitan areas in the country.

Those city-regions include: Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Alabama, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. It’s still a slow rollout for a service that competes with the likes of the comparatively-priced Hulu Live TV, which is available everywhere, and there’s no telling where YouTube TV will expand next.



Airbnb tests payment-splitting feature so you don't get stiffed

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Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images

Airbnb is testing out a feature that would allow reservations to be split among multiple people. So, if you’re booking with rude friends who never pay you back or if you want to book an expensive reservation that may be too much for one credit card to handle, this new feature would help you out. The option allows a reservation to be split with up to 16 people and is being tested with just a few listings as of now.

In April, Airbnb also began testing a flexible payment option, allowing customers to pay a portion of the reservation amount up front and the rest a little later. Other recent changes include a new search tool that pulls up listings suitable for business travel and a photographic guide feature to clarify the check-in process.

According to The Next Web, split payments has been one of Airbnb’s most requested features. While it’s only available in select places now, the company plans to expand the feature to more listings later this year.



Sling TV extends cloud DVR to iOS devices

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AFP/Getty Images

Sling TV’s cloud DVR service is now available for iPhone and iPad. The streaming service’s DVR “First Look” option costs an additional $5 per month and gives you 50 hours of DVR storage.

The iOS devices now join the growing list of DVR-supported systems, which includes AirTV players, Amazon Fire TVs and tablets, Android TVs and mobile devices, Apple TVs, Roku™ streaming players and TVs, Xbox consoles and Windows 10 devices.

Sling TV began beta testing its cloud DVR option last year and started rolling it out to users in April. This month, the feature got an upgrade with an added option to protect recorded shows from being deleted.

However, there are still a number of channels that don’t allow DVR recordings. Those channels are ABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney JR, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and the SEC Network as well as any on-demand only channel.

An app update released today will enable the new service on iOS devices for those with the “First Look” subscription.



The OnePlus 5’s camera does a bad job of copying the iPhone 7 Plus

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The OnePlus 5 is one of the most anticipated phones of the season, and you can already buy it in various markets. But that doesn’t mean the new flagship from the “Never Settle” smartphone maker is perfect, and we already have a couple of controversies, not including that iPhone 7 Plus design.

Recent reports discovered that OnePlus 5 is cheating in benchmark tests, something the company explains as an optimization meant to show users the theoretical capabilities of the hardware. But benchmarks won’t affect your daily use of the phone.

The camera experience, on the other hand, is a different thing. The OnePlus 5 features a dual lens camera similar to the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera when it comes to design an even user interface. The camera also comes with a special bokeh effect for portrait photos, just like Apple’s best iPhone to date.

But there’s one iPhone camera feature OnePlus could not replicate. The iPhone 7 Plus does 2x optical zoom, which is what you’d expect from the OnePlus 5 as well. It turns out, however, that OnePlus is claiming 2x lossless zoom, not optical, according to Carl Pei, who clarified the matter on Twitter.

Optical zoom stops at 1.6x, while the rest of the way to 2x is done through a trick called SmartCapture multiframe technology. In other words, it sounds like just one other thing the OnePlus 5 “settled” on.

That’s a bit surprising considering that the camera is the main selling point of the phone, and OnePlus insisted on the various photo features during the presentation. In fact, the launch keynote seemed to imply that 2x is the maximum optical zoom, although OnePlus never claimed that 2x represents pure optical zoom.

Image Source: OnePlus

OnePlus never said that 1.6x is the maximum optical zoom either, and walking away from that presentation I’d be inclined to believe that 2x represents optical zoom, regardless of whatever software tricks OnePlus would use to enhance the picture. Why else highlight 2x zoom as they did during the presentation? Why not focus on any other zoom level if both optical and digital zoom are working together?

Here’s the zoom-related part of the keynote:

Nintendo swears it’s not faking Switch shortages

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When a new gadget is in short supply there are only two possibilities for why that is the case: Either the company simply can’t make enough to satisfy the consumer lust for the product, or the company is intentionally bottlenecking its shipments in order to artificially create a sense of demand. Plenty of companies have been accused of such things in the past, and while Nintendo is no stranger to being on the receiving end of those accusations — especially with the original Wii — the company is now swearing that the sold-out Switch console isn’t a product of artificial demand. 

In an interview with Ars Technica, Nintendo’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Charlie Scibetta, addressed the question head-on. “It’s definitely not intentional in terms of shorting the market,” Scibetta told the outlet. “We’re making it as fast as we can. We want to get as many units out as we can to support all the software that’s coming out right now… our job really is to get it out as quick as we can, especially for this holiday because we want to have units on shelves to support Super Mario Odyssey.”

Scibetta elaborated further by insisting that Nintendo simply underestimated how much interest there would be in its new system. The company says it burned through nearly three million units right out of the gate, and that it’s been working extremely hard in order to meet the current demand for the system.

It’s easy to call BS on such a statement, but looking at Nintendo’s recent history with the abysmal sales of the Wii U, it’s entirely possible (perhaps even likely) that Nintendo wanted to be sure the Switch took off before it ramped up production. The company claims that it is making lots and lots of Switch units for the coming months, and with the new console rapidly approaching its first holiday season of availability, it’s likely you’ll see lots more Switch boxes on store shelves sooner rather than later.

The Senate Health Bill Is a Disaster for the Opioid Crisis

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After seven years of promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans are now closer to achieving that goal than ever before. Thursday morning, they finally unveiled their secretly drafted healthcare bill. It is not, as some had hoped, a drastic departure from the House’s version, which was passed last month. While being slightly less “mean,” in that it provides more financial support to some lower-income groups, the Senate bill still lands punches to Obamacare in all the same places.

It still ends the healthcare mandate that every American be insured. It still gives power to the states to drop many of the essential benefits required by the ACA, including maternity care, emergency services, substance abuse, and mental healthcare treatments. It still ends the Medicaid expansion that helped 20 million people get insured (although one year later than the House proposed). And it places a cap on Medicaid, while simultaneously slashing about $840 billion from the entitlement program over the next 10 years to pay for enormous tax cuts for the wealthy. All of which adds up to very bad news for patients—but especially the 2.5 million Americans currently struggling with an opioid addiction.

In closed-door sessions this week, Republican senators from states hardest hit by the current drug crisis tried to soften those deep Medicaid cuts by advocating for a separate funding stream of $45 billion over 10 years for substance abuse treatment and prevention, costs currently covered Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. According to data compiled by the Associated Press, that expansion accounted for 61 percent of total Medicaid spending on substance abuse treatment in Kentucky, 56 percent in Michigan, and 43 percent in Ohio.

Instead, what they got was a bill that promises to deliver $2 billion for 2018. That’s it.

“This bill takes away the number one tool we have in the fight against opioids—Medicaid treatment,” said Ohio’s Democratic senator Sherrod Brown in a statement. Medicaid is the largest national payer for addiction and mental health treatment. Last year, Ohio alone spent $939 million on the drug epidemic, 70 percent of which was covered by Medicaid. If you evenly divided up the Senate’s $2 billion earmark between all 50 states, Ohio’s portion would cover just over 4 percent of their opioid-related expenses.

Addiction advocates like Gary Mendell say the provision is an insult to the people fighting to end the epidemic. “We need much more than that,” says Mendell, who founded the nonprofit Shatterproof after his son Brian’s opioid addiction sent him into a depression and he took his own life. “Right now we spend $5 billion a year on substance abuse in this country, and only 1 out of 10 people are actually in treatment,” says Mendell. If you do the math, he says it would take more like $600 to $700 billion over the next decade to get 10 out of 10 people the help they need.

That, of course, is not about to happen. The latest Health and Human Services budget for the opioid crisis is more than three times as large as it was two years ago, but it’s still only $811 million. At a recent budget hearing, HHS Secretary Tom Price defended the Trump administration’s allocations and questioned how much difference Medicaid actually makes. But according to the President’s own newly appointed Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, it makes all the difference.

At their first meeting last Friday, the commission’s members spent the bulk of their time criticizing the House’s new healthcare bill and pressing for more Medicaid spending in the Senate’s version. Mendell, who sits on the commission, says the legislation announced this morning is a complete disappointment, undermining any progress the panel hoped to make toward crafting effective anti-addiction policies. “It’s a death sentence,” he says.

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Not the least because of the bill’s promise to end essential benefits for people covered under Medicaid expansion by 2020. Under the ACA, insurers are required to cover contraception, preventative care, emergency services, and mental health and substance abuse services. But in a Republican-led healthcare future, states would have the option to not require insurers to cover substance abuse treatments. “Insurers can stop providing coverage for mental health and addiction services,” Baltimore health commissioner Leana Wen said in a statement responding to the Senate bill. “At a time of a public health emergency around opioid overdose, this will cost millions more lives.”

And don’t forget that without the ACA’s pre-existing conditions protections, states could also allow insurers to charge higher premiums to all the people who fall under a broad umbrella of mental health conditions. Which is important because people struggling with depression are more likely to be prescribed addiction-forming painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to a new nationwide study published on Tuesday. “Depressed patients are at a greater risk for misuse and overdose of opioids,” says study leader John Markman, director of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Translational Pain Research Program. Which is why treating addiction is about more than just titrating down people’s prescriptions. “The research shows that patients who have access to multiple forms of treatment—cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, as well as drugs—have the best outcomes,” he says.

But in order to benefit from those kinds of anti-addiction interventions, people have to be in the system in the first place. And if there’s one thing the Republican healthcare bills are poised to do, it’s take people out.

Tesla is reportedly trying to build its own music streaming service

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Jason Reed / Reuters

Tesla has continued to one-up its achievements as a successful proprietor of safe, green and increasingly autonomous electric vehicles. But it might venture out from the niche its carved for a much more saturated market: Streaming audio. Music industry sources told Recode that Tesla has been in talks with major labels to create a proprietary service that it would bundle with its cars.

However ready Tesla might be to jump headfirst into the plan is unknown, as are any details beyond possibly offering multiple tiers of service beginning with a Pandora-style online radio. Without more than these rumors, though, it’s hard to see why Tesla would jump into a saturated market when it could just license Spotify or Apple Music.

Starting a whole new side business seems foolish, especially in a niche where a service like Tidal can have major financial backing and artist exclusives yet still struggle to stay afloat. Or where Pandora, the first huge internet radio service, just launched its streaming on-demand service back in March to tepid applause. As Recode points out, Tesla’s new offering would have an uphill battle against the current titans: last they checked, Spotify claimed to have 50 million subscribers, while Apple Music alleged its userbase at 27 million.



FCC may fine robocall spammer $120 million for illegal spoofing

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Everyone hates those robocalls that target our phones to sell things we don’t need. They’re universally reviled, with Republicans backing legislation for ringless voicemail, the FTC offering a $25,000 reward for anti-robocall tech and AT&T and Burner both creating automatic robocall blocking systems for their customers. Now, an individual robocall scammer is facing a $120 million proposed fine from the FCC for his massive caller ID spoofing operation.

According to an FCC press release, the scammer, Adrian Abramovich of Miami, is in trouble for allegedly making 96 million illegally-spoofed robocalls across a three-month period to see timeshares. The fine is based on the 80,000 spoofed calls the FCC has been able to verify. It was TripAdvisor that started the investigation as the travel company began to get complaints about robocalls originating from the scammer back in 2016. A medical paging provider, Spōk, also complained to the FCC about similar calls that were also traced back to Abramovich.

Apparently, the scammer used a technique called “neighbor spoofing.” The caller ID of such calls matches the area code and the first three digits of the recipient’s phone number, which is more likely to be answered than calls that simply match the area code. This goes against The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which prohibits spoofing to “cause harm, defraud, or wrongfully obtain anything of value,” according to the FCC. So far, Abramovich has only been given a citation, which warns the violator that if the practices continue, they may be subject to additional fines.



Google urges Congress to revise outdated overseas data laws

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Access to data stored overseas has become a contentious issue with tech companies and the US government. Today, in a speech given to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, urged Congress to update the laws concerning this topic.

On this front, Microsoft scored a major victory last year. A New York court ruled that the company had to release data stored on servers located in Ireland, but that was later overturned by a federal appeals court. In January of this year, the court narrowly decided not to rehear the case and the US Justice Department has until the end of this week to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

But after the decision in the Microsoft case, other courts reached opposing rulings in similar trials. In February, a US District Court in Pennsylvania ruled that Google had to comply with an FBI warrant to hand over data stored on an overseas server. And additional cases involving Google and Yahoo came to similar conclusions in Wisconsin, Florida and California.

After the ruling against Google in Pennsylvania, a brief written in support of the company was filed by Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. In it, they make a statement that speaks to Walker’s announcement today.

The document says, “Equally troubling, it invites foreign nations to reciprocate by likewise demanding that local offices of US technology companies turn over US citizens’ private communications stored on US soil,” and adds, “Only Congress can update the Stored Communications Act to reflect the new technological landscape while at the same time appropriately balancing relevant interests. Congress should promptly do so; but until it does, courts may not extend the SCA to reach data stored in another sovereign country.”

Similar to those statements, Walker today urged Congress to change relevant laws, making it clear what tech companies are to do when faced with government requests for data. He also proposed that the US should allow countries that commit to privacy and human rights to directly request data from US companies without have to first consult with the US government. Walker added that oppressive regimes should not be eligible.

Whether Congress will take action is unclear, but the EU is currently working on a similar legal reboot.



Video shows CenturyLink’s ex-Chief Diversity Officer giving homophobic rant

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It’s not been a good few weeks for CenturyLink. While in the midst of a $34 billion merger, the firm has been hit with a pair of lawsuits seeking up to $12 billion in damages for a Wells Fargo-style fraud scheme.

Now, a video has emerged of Odell Riley, CenturyLink’s Chief Diversity Officer, railing against the sins of homosexuals in a sermon given at Jerusalem Temple COGIC in
Leland, Mississippi.

The video recently surfaced is an excerpt from a longer half-hour sermon that Riley gave in 2014. His comments about homosexuality come in the context of a wider talk about the devil taking up residence in a house, and bad things like Satanism and homosexuality can be spoken to with the blood of Jesus.

As recently as February, Riley was listed on CenturyLink’s website as the VP Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer. His mission statement was that “We succeed with great business ideas influenced by our different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. When we value and respect each other for our unique perspectives, we can create the best solutions for our customers, who also have different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs.”

Riley is no longer listed on CenturyLink’s website, and a spokesperson for CenturyLink told BGR that he has ” not been the Chief Diversity Officer of CenturyLink for at least a year.” Riley’s LinkedIn still lists him as being employed by CenturyLink, and the spokesperson has not confirmed Riley’s status with the company.

The spokesperson added that “Our diversity efforts are led by a team, which includes several senior executives.  We have eight employee resource groups, one of which is EAGLE, whose mission is to strengthen the supportive environment around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. CenturyLink has offered benefits to same-sex couples for almost a decade and continues to meet or exceed industry standards in terms of other benefits and policies.”

It’s Up, Up and Away With This Superman Gift Guide

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Superman is faster than a speeding bullet and can leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he can’t tell you what kinds of gifts you should give friends who are totally into him. That’s where we come in. Need to give out some unique Supes-centric gifts but don’t quite know where to start? We’ve got you covered with this Superman gift guide. Just don’t make a mistake and get anything laced with Kryptonite on accident. No one wants that to happen.

Isn’t this the cutest Superman plush you’ve ever seen? And it’s just $10.97.

Superman may not need cold-weather protection, but you do. And this is the best way to get it at $21.99.

Superman on top of his fair employer the Daily Planet. This figure is adorable and the perfect addition for any fan of the man of steel. Currently listed at $95.00.

This epic Superman artwork deserves to be displayed prominently in any living room for $14.82.

Dad hats are all the rage right now, and this one’s the best because it’s a quick and easy way to show how much you love you some Superman!

Check out what Superman’s up to with this graphic novel, part of the “DC Universe Rebirth” series and can be all yours for $11.59.

Strap this puppy on when you’re about to grill or just make dinner and you’ll feel 10 times more powerful. Guaranteed. Currently listed for $ 17.18.

It’s Superman and a fuzzy blanket. What better way to keep yourself warm? All yours for just $16.00.

You can bet no one you know has any awesome Superman windchimes chilling on their porch. Just look how ready Superman is to guard your patio! Bring this home for $16.21.

Protect your keys with this classy-looking Superman keychain, but make sure no one steals your keys to get to the sweet keychain for $6.04.

Airbnb to target wealthy customers who prefer luxury hotels

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Wachiwit via Getty Images

Airbnb keeps expanding its core disruption with new features to help increase its audience. The company has made it easier for business travelers to find a room with the Airbnb app and has tried its hand at tour guiding with a new activity suggestion feature. Now the room-sharing company is reportedly looking at ways to attract customers who would rather book at high-end luxury hotels.

According to Bloomberg, the new premium service is expected to launch as a pilot with a “select group of hosts as soon as this week.” The full service could roll out by the end of this year. To qualify for this select status, hosts will need to allow Airbnb inspectors to check and make sure that their rental space meets a specific set of quality standards. If their homes pass muster, they’ll reportedly be eligible for a featured section on Airbnb’s website and mobile apps.

A source close to Airbnb confirmed the new pilot program and told Engadget that the company’s internal work has identified consumers who are slightly older and have never used Airbnb as a significant growth opportunity. They said that internal research shows that business and family travelers want more space, kitchens, yards, laundry and want to stay in unique neighborhoods. Airbnb thinks the key to unlocking this type of audience is to focus on quality.

The hotel industry has already been feeling the pinch from the home-sharing service, and have been promoting local experiences and pursuing legislation that could limit Airbnb’s expansion. A new high-end service like this one could attract wealthier, older customers who may prefer to stay in guaranteed nicer accommodations.



Senators Push Trump for Answers on Power Grid Malware Attack

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In one of his first public statements on his priorities as president, Donald Trump promised to develop a “comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks.” That has not yet materialized. And as new evidence has emerged that a piece of sophisticated malware caused a blackout in the Ukrainian capital last December, one group of senators wants answers now about the threat of Russian grid-hacking.

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In a letter to the president Thursday, 19 senators have called on the White House to direct the Department of Energy to conduct a new analysis of the Russian government’s capabilities to disrupt America’s power grid. They also want an exploration of any attempts the Kremlin may have already made to compromise America’s electric utilities, pipelines, or other energy infrastructure, all within 60 days. While they made a similar request in March–to which the White House never responded–forensic reports that surfaced last week about a piece of malware known as CrashOverride, which briefly took out about a fifth of the total energy capacity of Kiev, have given their query renewed urgency.

“We are deeply concerned that your administration has not backed up a verbal commitment prioritizing cybersecurity of energy networks and fighting cyber aggression with any meaningful action,” reads the letter, which was signed by senators Ron Wyden, Al Franken, Maria Cantwell, Bernie Sanders, Martin Heinrich and others.

The Trump administration has, to its credit, issued an executive order that called for new assessments of the cybersecurity of US critical infrastructure over the next few months. But Trump’s budget proposal, the senators point out, would cut funding to the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

The recently revealed malware behind Ukranian blackout spurred action in particular because hackers could conceivably adapt it to Western Europe or American power utility targets as well. In analyses of the so-called CrashOverride attack released last week by the security firms ESET and Dragos, the two companies noted that the malware’s modular design, a feature that makes it a potential threat well beyond Ukraine. Dragos tied the malware’s creation to a hacker group known as Sandworm–widely believed to be Russian–that also planted malware on the networks of multiple US energy firms in 2014.

Since 2014, punishing cyberattacks have hit Ukrainian media, transportation, and government agencies. The campaign has destroyed hundreds of computers, deleted data, and paralyzed organizations’ basic functions. The December 2015 and December 2016 represent the most ambitious of those efforts, though, and the most ominous.

In our investigation of Ukraine’s ongoing cyberwar, Dragos founder Rob Lee told WIRED in March that those attacks represented a looming threat to the United States. “An adversary that had already targeted American energy utilities [has] crossed the line and taken down a power grid,” Lee says. “The people who understand the US power grid know that it can happen here.”

And as American legislators catch on to the reality of that threat, they want assurances for that the White House will follow through on its early promise of protection.

Use emoji to search Kayak for travel deals

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The inevitable march to replace words with emoji continues apace, with the world granting more legitimacy to the cartoony mini-images. Last month, an Israeli court ruled that they counted as enough “intent” in a civil case to turn the tide in one side’s favor. But today is for you, travel fiends: Kayak now lets you search for destinations by emoji.

Most of the first ten emoji Kayak’s search engine will recognize make sense: The Statue of Liberty translates to New York City, sushi means Tokyo, a three-leaf clover for Dublin, a slot machine for Las Vegas. Others are abstract jokes, with the rabbit emoji surfacing Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (har har) and the red light klaxon bringing up Amsterdam (get it?).

Kayak is putting the next batch of 15 emoji-location pairings up to a vote, so head over if you want to elect a city you hate to surface when someone searches with the poop emoji. Or you can wait until T-Rexes and Zombies enter the emoji equation.