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Tech News Roundup (January 2020)

January 22, 2020 Jonathan Houghton

It’s been a jam-packed few weeks of news in the tech world. Here are a few of the highlights:

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Ready to roll

As usual, the recent annual Consumer Electronics Show featured a ton of cool new products that would be great to own if only we had a few extra hundred thousand dollars lying around. Foldable screens are on the verge of entering the mainstream, with several products utilizing some version of the technology. One standout is LG’s new 65-inch rollable TV, which can roll down from the ceiling to save space, while still delivering an ultra-high-definition organic LED display.

 

Take to the sky

Hyundai announced at CES that it has partnered with Uber to produce Personal Air Vehicles (PAVs) for a proposed air-taxi service. The all-electric PAVs would be able to hold four passengers and a pilot and travel up to 60 miles at speeds of up to 180 mph. They’d also have an onboard emergency parachute system as a potentially life-saving backup. No word yet on where these things will be taking off and landing from, but that seems like a minor detail to sort out.

 

Windows 7 gets 86’d

Windows 7 has, at long last, reached its End of Life phase, with Microsoft announcing that the decade-old operating system will no longer receive security updates. Although PCs running Windows 7 aren’t going to instantly stop working or become security risks right away, the operating system will gradually become less usable, as new software won’t be compatible with it. So, if you’re still using Windows 7, it’s probably time to upgrade to Windows 10 (still less than 5 years old, a veritable spring chicken, comparatively).

 

That RAM’s gonna cost you

Apple has unveiled a super-high-end Mac Pro with a suitably super-high-end price tag: An upgraded version of the computer sells for a cool $52,000. Obviously, these Macs will be targeted at a very specific demographic of users who need the additional horsepower (1.5 terabytes of RAM, for starters) for video and graphics projects. Here at the Bradford Group, we’ll probably just stick with our MacBook Airs and be perfectly content, thanks.

 

Complicated shadows

A team from MIT’s CSAIL recently demonstrated an early version of technology that could someday enable self-driving cars to see around corners while parking themselves. They’re developed an algorithm that uses shadow and light movement to recreate video of what’s happening off the screen. The current results show color and motion but not detail, but the researchers hope the quality will improve with further refinement and testing.

 

Actually, it is rocket science 

NASA unveiled its long-in-the-works Space Launch System (SLS), which it claims is “the most powerful rocket ever built.” The plan is to use it to carry American astronauts to the Moon as soon as 2024. The rocket, powered with liquid hydrogen, is seen as playing a major role in NASA’s Artemis program, which will include cargo and astronaut missions to the Moon in the coming decades.

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