Creative’s Super X-Fi Amp heads to the US

Story image for CREATIVE from CNET

Those living in the US can finally try out Creative’s SXFI Amp — and it will cost just $150.

The dongle can be used with any USB Type-C Android phone, or consoles such as the PlayStation 4, and dramatically expands the sound on your headphones such that they sound like it’s coming from speakers around you.

Retailing online on Nov. 1, the SXFI Amp delivers sound to your ears based on its ear shape and works incredibly well. Check out our hands-on for more information. The online launch in the US takes place after a soft launch in the company’s home market of Singapore, though US customers will not be able to get a custom ear fitting like in Singapore.

Lastly. Apple iPhone users who want to try out the magic will have to wait for the release of its Bluetooth SXFI Air headset, when it arrives, though Creative did not say when that’s launching.

Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens.

Fight the Power: Take a look at who’s transforming the way we think about energy.

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Uber to Pay $148 Million to Settle US Data Breach Cover-Up

Uber to Pay $148 Million to Settle US Data Breach Cover-Up

Uber Technologies will pay $148 million (roughly Rs. 1,000 crores) for failing to disclose a massive data breach in 2016, marking a costly resolution to one of the biggest embarrassments and legal tangles the ride-hailing company has suffered.

The settlement with 50 US states and Washington, DC brings closure to one of several high-stakes legal battles Uber is seeking to resolve before an initial public offering next year, while also delivering a national rebuke against Uber’s history of flouting laws and basic business ethics.

The amount is the largest among attorneys general settlements in privacy cases. By comparison, the multi-state settlement with Target Corp in 2017, over a breach in which 41 million people had their data stolen, was $18.5 million (roughly Rs. 134 crores).

The settlement follows a 10-month investigation into a data breach that exposed personal data from 57 million Uber accounts, including 600,000 driver’s licence numbers. Uber’s new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi disclosed the breach in November, more than a year after the company was hacked under the previous CEO. Khosrowshahi has said the incident should have been disclosed to regulators at the time it was discovered in 2016.

The cover-up, widely seen by states as violating data breach reporting and data security laws, drew the ire of authorities across the United States and also in the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines. About half of the data breach victims lived in the United States.

The settlement terms include changes to Uber’s business practices aimed at preventing future breaches and reforming its corporate culture. Uber will be required to report any data security incidents to states on a quarterly basis for the next two years, and implement a comprehensive information security programme overseen by an executive officer who advises executive staff and Uber’s board of directors.

“We know that earning the trust of our customers and the regulators we work with globally is no easy feat,” said Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West. “We’ll continue to invest in protections to keep our customers and their data safe and secure, and we’re committed to maintaining a constructive and collaborative relationship with governments around the world.”

In November 2016, Uber paid the hackers – who included a 20-year-old Florida man and a hacker in Canada – $100,000 to destroy the stolen data, using its “bug bounty” programme, which is designed to reward security researchers who report flaws in a company’s software. Uber then chose not to report the matter to victims or authorities.

“Uber’s decision to cover up this breach was a blatant violation of the public’s trust,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Consistent with its corporate culture at the time, Uber swept the breach under the rug in deliberate disregard of the law.”

California, one of lead states in the settlement effort, will keep $26 million, to be split between the state Attorney General’s Office and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, a spokeswoman for Becerra’s office said.

Khosrowshahi fired two of Uber’s top security officials when he announced the breach, and other members of that team have since departed. The company recently hired a chief privacy officer and chief security officer.

It still faces lawsuits from riders, drivers and the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles over the data breach.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Build First Element of ‘Gateway’ Orbital Outpost

NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Build First Element of 'Gateway' Orbital Outpost

In line with US President Donald Trump’s “Space Policy Directive 1”, NASA has sought partnership with the US industry to develop the first element of the Gateway, which will become the orbital outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.

NASA has released a draft solicitation seeking commercial and international partners via the Board Agency Announcement (BAA) this week to US industry to acquire an element for the Gateway.

The Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon, and beyond, including Mars, NASA said in a statement.

The draft seeks a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed.

It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications, the statement said.

“We believe partnering with US industry for the power and propulsion element will stimulate advancements in commercial use of solar electric propulsion and also serve NASA exploration objectives,” said Michele Gates, Director (Power and Propulsion Element) at NASA.

Through the upcoming solicitation, industry will be asked to participate in a public/private partnership, which includes a flight demonstration of the power and propulsion spacecraft.

Following this test lasting up to one-year in space after launch, NASA will have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit.

The power and propulsion element is also expected to enable high-rate, reliable communications between Earth and deep space, which will be important during spacewalks in deep space, human exploration of the lunar surface and more.

To meet current Gateway development planning, NASA is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element on a partner-provided commercial rocket in 2022, the statement said.

In addition to the draft BAA, NASA will host an Industry Day on July 10 prior to issuing the final BAA.

 

 

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Helping close divisions in the US: Insights from the American Well-Being Project

Image result for Helping close divisions in the US: Insights from the American Well-Being Project

Editor’s Note:The American Well-Being Project is a joint initiative between scholars at the Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis.

Issues of despair in the United States are diverse, widespread, and politically fueled, ranging from concentrated poverty and crime in cities to the opioid crisis plaguing poor rural towns. Local leaders and actors in disconnected communities need public policy resources and inputs beyond what has traditionally been available.

Scholars at Brookings and Washington University in St. Louis are working together to analyze the issues underlying America’s disaffection and divisions in order to provide policy ideas for a better, more inclusive future. Through on-the-ground community research in Missouri—a microcosm of America’s problems—as well as the application of ongoing policy research, we hope to develop approaches that can tackle factors like lack of access to health care, scarcity of low-skilled jobs, weak education systems, and hollowed-out communities.

Simply put, we are asking how has the American Dream been broken and how can it be restored?

WHAT WE KNOW AND WHAT IS MISSING

In general, indicators such as economic growth and unemployment rates continue to improve in the U.S., as do some markers of well-being, such as longevity. Yet the aggregate indicators mask inequality of access and outcomes. Such indicators do not account, for example, for the decline in prime age male labor force participation, nor do they reflect the rising numbers of “deaths of despair” due to opioid or other drug overdoses, suicide, and other preventable causes. Such deaths are concentrated among less than college educated, middle-aged whites.

The past few decades have also seen a dramatic increase in the disability rate (the number of disabled Social Security beneficiaries), greater income inequality, and stagnating mobility rates. Different regions have had divergent fortunes, meanwhile, and many, particularly in the heartland where manufacturing has declined, are characterized by “left-behind” populations in poor health and with little hope for the future, and a hollowed out middle-class.

As such, the macro numbers simply do not capture the full picture of inequality, public frustration, and socioeconomic distress. Well-being metrics could be part of the solution in understanding trends among and across subpopulations.

Looking back on recent episodes of political upheaval, previous decades produced clear indicators that should have been seen as red flags for the current crisis. If we can better identify these risk factors in advance, then we can provide appropriate policy recommendations to those working in communities most affected, as well as anticipate the challenges of those populations and places at greatest risk.

HOW CAN RESEARCH AND DATA BE USED AT THE LOCAL LEVEL? THE APPLICATION OF SUBJECTIVE MEASURES

As we further explore metrics of well-being, the question will be how to analyze data in a way that is useable and valuable to local leaders. While well-being measures offer interesting insights, they are inherently subjective and focused on mindset rather than quantitative outcomes. Pairing well-being measures with traditional “hard” measures like GDP and employment rates has proven useful in the past.

As shown by research in Peru into the relationship of traditional economic and social measures to perceived well-being, status, identity, and inclusion, hope is a significant factor in determining success. People who are more hopeful tend to have better economic and social outcomes.

Communities should also strive to achieve a balance between hope and realism. Although our research shows that hope is a key determinant of well-being, excessive optimism can easily lead to disappointment.

Personal responsibility for success is also an important factor. To the extent that people blame themselves (or their neighbors) for the current social and economic challenges, pressure for policy responses is lost. Too much blame on individual agency makes a community unwilling to try to make things better through policy. The goal should be to achieve a healthy balance of outlooks, personal responsibility, and realistic understanding of chances for success.

Better indicators of people’s outlooks on life combined with indicators of opportunity and deprivation could help achieve this at the grassroots level. Novel approaches that combine quantitative and qualitative data can inform a range of community efforts. Scholars at Washington University have already taken the lead by using national data from call-in distress services for individuals and families, with the goal of identifying specific geographic information, down to the neighborhood level, on vulnerable areas.

Brookings scholars actively participated with the state of Colorado to implement a comprehensive system for monitoring mobility and opportunity—the Colorado Opportunity project, and in a separate effort, with the city of Santa Monica to design an effort to regularly monitor a range of well-being dimensions.

NEXT STEPS

Now is an opportune moment for local, regional, and state leaders to make positives changes in communities, rather than waiting for action at the federal level. And, given the complex nature of our crisis of divide and desperation, policies must be better targeted to different age, racial, and socioeconomic groups—and their circumstances, something best achieved at the local level.

Even if analyses and practices are adapted for specific geographic regions and demographic groups, local governance challenges will still make implementation difficult to achieve on the ground. Many communities lack local leadership and empowered community organizations. Nongovernmental organizations, state level governments, and even the private sector can help fill the leadership void in communities and support existing local efforts.

The fact is that the issues of despair in America have no one answer, nor does the responsibility fall on a single sector, institution, or group of people. It will take a concerted effort from many stakeholders, focusing on an immense set of challenges that differ from community to community.

Our collaboration between Brookings and Washington University aims to help those taking the lead by providing valuable data, analyses, and policy ideas.

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