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News Source Slashdot:Hardware

Amazon's Kindle Voyage May Be Over
Amazon's Kindle e-reader family seems to have lost a member along the way, with the disappearance of the Voyage from its Kindle Family listing. From a report: The site now lists just three models in its lineup of eight configurations, the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis. Good e-Reader first noticed this a few weeks back, saying the Voyage seems to have vanished in July. In years past when Amazon has refreshed its Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, it has done it in the summer or fall. The high-end Oasis was last updated in October 2017, but the most recent midline Paperwhite last saw changes in 2015, and the basic Kindle in 2016. Chances are one or both of the older models will receive an update in the near future.

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Apple's Amsterdam Store Evacuated After iPad Battery Explodes
Slashdot readers radi0man and DeBaas report of an exploding iPad battery in Apple's Amsterdam store. DeBaas writes: An exploding iPad led to the Amsterdam Apple store being evacuated, as reported by 9to5mac and local news in dutch. The store reopened after the fire brigade ventilated the store. 9to5Mac notes that this is the third evacuation this year of an Apple store due to an exploding battery -- the other two were from iPhones. The iPad and its punctured battery were put in a container of sand after it exploded. No major injuries were reported, however, "three employees who experienced trouble breathing were treated by first responders," reports 9to5Mac.

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Rolls-Royce Launches New Battery System To Electrify Ships
Rolls-Royce, a British power system company (not to be confused with the luxury automobile maker), is launching a new battery system to electrify ships. "Rolls-Royce now offers SAVe Energy, a cost competitive, highly efficient and liquid cooled battery system with a modular design that enables the product to scale according to energy and power requirements," the company said in a statement. "SAVe Energy comply with international legislations for low and zero emission propulsion systems." Electrek reports: The company has been working on battery systems for years, but the recent improvements in li-ion batteries are now resulting in a boom of electrification of ships. Andreas Seth, Rolls-Royce, EVP Electrical, Automation and Control for Commercial Marine, said the company expects to deploy more batteries next year than they did over the last 8 years combined: "The electrification of ships is building momentum. From 2010 we have delivered battery systems representing about 15 MWh in total. However now the potential deployment of our patent pending SAVe Energy in 2019 alone is 10-18 MWh." Seth said that they are delivering the first system to Prestfjord as part of Norway's effort to electrify its maritime transport: "Battery systems have become a key component of our power and propulsions systems, and SAVe Energy is being introduced on many of the projects we are currently working on. This includes the upgrade programme for Hurtigruten's cruise ferries, the advanced fishing vessel recently ordered by Prestfjord and the ongoing retrofits of offshore support vessels. As a system provider we can find the best solution considering both installation and operational cost."

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Nvidia Is Giving Up On the Cryptocurrency Mining Market
"Nvidia's nine-month crypto gold rush is over," reports the Los Angeles Times. An anonymous reader quotes their report:"Our core platforms exceeded our expectations, even as crypto largely disappeared," founder and Chief Executive Jensen Huang said Thursday on a conference call. "We're projecting no cryptomining going forward...." Nvidia said it had expected about $100 million in sales of chips bought by currency miners in the fiscal second quarter. Instead, the total was $18 million in the period, and that revenue is likely to disappear entirely in future quarters, the company said. Investors are expressing their concern at the sudden collapse of what had looked like a billion-dollar business. Three months ago, Nvidia said it generated $289 million in sales from cryptocurrency miners, but warned that demand was declining rapidly and might fall by as much as two-thirds. Even that prediction was too optimistic.

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Two Months Later: NASA's Opportunity Rover Is Still Lost On Mars After Huge Dust Storm
Two months have passed since NASA's Opportunity Mars rover last phoned home. The last time we reported on the rover was on June 12th, when it was trying to survive an intensifying dust storm that was deemed "much worse than a 2007 storm that Opportunity weathered," according to NASA. "The previous storm had an opacity level, or tau, somewhere above 5.5; this new storm had an estimated tau of 10.8." Space.com reports on Opportunity's current status: Opportunity hasn't made a peep since June 10, when dust in the Red Planet's air got so thick that the solar-powered rover couldn't recharge its batteries. Opportunity's handlers think the six-wheeled robot has put itself into a sort of hibernation, and they still hope to get a ping once the dust storm has petered out. And there are good reasons for this optimism, NASA officials said. "Because the batteries were in relatively good health before the storm, there's not likely to be too much degradation," NASA officials wrote in an Opportunity update Thursday (Aug. 16). "And because dust storms tend to warm the environment -- and the 2018 storm happened as Opportunity's location on Mars entered summer -- the rover should have stayed warm enough to survive." Engineers are trying to communicate with Opportunity several times a week using NASA's Deep Space Network, a system of big radio dishes around the globe. They hail the robot during scheduled "wake-up times" and then listen for a response. And team members are casting a wider net, too: Every day, they sift through all radio signals received from Mars, listening for any chirp from Opportunity, NASA officials said. Even if Opportunity does eventually wake up and re-establish contact, its long ordeal may end up taking a toll on the rover. "The rover's batteries could have discharged so much power -- and stayed inactive so long -- that their capacity is reduced," NASA officials wrote in the update. "If those batteries can't hold as much charge, it could affect the rover's continued operations. It could also mean that energy-draining behavior, like running its heaters during winter, could cause the batteries to brown out."

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Amazon Is Reportedly Working On a TiVo-Like DVR For Live TV
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Amazon is developing a new device that records live TV, working around cable providers and encroaching on TiVo's market, according to a person familiar with the plans. The device, dubbed "Frank" inside Amazon, is a new type of digital video recorder for the streaming era. It would include physical storage and connect to Amazon's existing Fire TV boxes, the living room hub for the company's online video efforts. The Frank DVR has the same wireless technology that Amazon's Echo speakers use to connect to Fire TV boxes. Users will be able to record live TV and stream the video to a smartphone so it can be watched later. That functionality is similar to offerings from TiVo and Dish's Slingbox. Amazon hasn't made a final decision on rolling out the streaming feature, the person said, noting that the plans could either be canceled or delayed.

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Analysts Say We Are Headed For a Flash Memory Price Crash
With the industry currently facing a very large surplus of NAND flash memory, analysts suggest we could see very significant price drops in SSD and even DRAM in 2019. They say to expect a price correction over the next several quarters. Techspot reports: Jim Handy, a market analyst with Objective Analysis, predicts that the flash memory industry is headed for a "downward pricing correction" in 2019, if not a full-on collapse. If prices crash, we could be looking at NAND prices as low as eight cents per gigabyte. At last week's Flash Memory Summit, Handy said that even without a full collapse, the downturn will be the biggest "price correction in the history of semiconductor products." The Register reports that currently, NAND flash prices are hovering around $0.30/GB. A 66-percent dip would bring SSDs into a more competitive range to HDDs causing cannibalization leading to a downturn for some manufacturers like Seagate and Western Digital. Manufacturers could allocate more NAND to producing DRAM, but this, in turn, would result in an oversupply in that sector. If Handy's predictions pan out, the industry could be in for a 25-percent price reduction in NAND and a 75-percent drop for nearline/high-cap SSD's. This could result in significant stock valuation shifts for some manufacturers.

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OnePlus 6T Will Launch With T-Mobile, the First US Carrier Partner
OnePlus' next flagship smartphone will be backed by T-Mobile, marking the first time the Chinese-company has partnered with a carrier in the U.S. "T-Mobile will be the exclusive U.S. carrier partner for the OnePlus 6T when it launches in October," reports CNET. "That includes a specific version of the OnePlus 6T optimized for T-Mobile's network." From the report: The company, however, will still sell its standard global version that's unlocked and able to run on either AT&T or T-Mobile. The price of the OnePlus 6T is tentatively set at $550, although that hasn't been finalized. The partnership underscores the progress that OnePlus has made in the U.S. The Chinese phone maker isn't a household name, but has long attracted diehard Android fans for its mix of high-end specs and affordable prices. Having a place at T-Mobile stores means it'll attract more mainstream awareness. T-Mobile's version of the OnePlus 6T will be optimized for the carrier's network, including the new 600 megahertz band of spectrum being rolled out that promises better and faster coverage. T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray has often boasted about the improvement to the quality of the network thanks to the new swath of spectrum. The only hiccup with the U.S. launch could come from the testing required by T-Mobile to get certification on the network. OnePlus is still in the process of getting what's known as "technical approval" at the carrier, according to one person. Failure to get the approval could cause a delay with the carrier launch.

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Baseball Players Want Robots To Be Their Umps
The sports world has been dealing with the human error of referees and umpires for decades -- it's pretty much tradition at this point. But with technology that can assess the game more accurately, some athletes are ready to push the people calling balls and strikes off the field in favor of technology. From a report: On Tuesday, Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist, one of the most vocal supporters of turning over baseball rulings to software, used an argument with the umpire as a chance to advocate for a change in the league. The comment reinvigorated a long-standing debate over automation in sports. You're out! As you watch baseball on television, a graphic is often overlaid on the action that shows in real time whether a pitch is a ball or a strike. But human umps are still making the calls on the field based on nothing but their own eyes. Increasingly, viewers and players would rather have the technology take over.

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This Company Embeds Microchips in Its Employees, and They Love It
Last August, 50 employees at Three Square Market got RFID chips in their hands. Now 80 have them. From a report: The idea came about in early 2017, president of Three Square Market Patrick McMullan says, when he was on a business trip to Sweden -- a country where some people are getting subcutaneous microchips to do things like enter secure buildings or book train tickets. It's one of very few places where chip implants, which have been around for quite a while, have taken off in some fashion. The chips he and his employees got are about the size of a very large grain of rice. They're intended to make it a little easier to do things like get into the office, log on to computers, and buy food and drinks in the company cafeteria. Like many RFID chips, they are passive -- they don't have batteries, and instead get their power from an RFID reader when it requests data from the chip. A year into their experiment, McMullan and a few employees say they are still using the chips regularly at work for all the activities they started out with last summer. Since then, an additional 30 employees have gotten the chips, which means that roughly 80 of the company's now 250 employees, or nearly a third, are walking, talking cyborgs. "You get used to it; it's easy," McMullan says. As far as he knows, just two Three Square Market employees have had their chips removed -- and that was when they left the company.

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Motorola Receives Backlash For Revealing a 'Shameless' Copy of the iPhone X as Its New Model
Smartphone brand Motorola has been criticised for revealing a "shameless" copy of the iPhone X as its new model. BBC: Many phone-makers have copied the look of the iPhone X, which has a smaller bezel around the screen and a "notch" at the top that houses a camera. However, reviewers said the new Motorola P30 was a "brazen" and "egregious" rip-off of Apple's flagship device. Lenovo, which owns the Motorola brand, has not yet responded to the criticism. [...] Commenting on the similarity between the Motorola P30 and the iPhone X, technology blogger Marques Brownlee called it the "most shameless rip yet." News site Mashable said Motorola "even went so far as to adorn the screen with a wallpaper that's a dead ringer for Apple's default wallpaper." News and reviews site Technobuffalo said the design was an "egregious clone" that was "nearly impossible to distinguish" from the iPhone X. Tech news site The Verge pointed out that Google's image recognition algorithms described photos of the P30 as "iPhone."

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The Next Flagship iPhone Will Support Apple Pencil and 512GB Flash Storage, Says Report
Next month, Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhones, each with differing specs/features. According to analyst firm Trendforce, the large 6.5-inch "flagship" model will support up to 512GB of onboard flash storage. Apple Pencil support will also be "offered as an option," although the company didn't specify which models will support the stylus. Apple Insider reports: The company expects that the the 6.1-inch LCD version will come with Face ID, Dual-SIM technology. The firm expects it to retail for between $699 and $749. The 5.8-inch OLED iPhone will be priced at $899 to $949. The 6.5-inch device will come in storage capacities up to 512GB, with one variant of the size potentially having dual-SIM support and expected to be "limited within $1,000 threshold as to encourage purchasing from consumers," according to Trendforce. Both the 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED models are expected to have 4GB of RAM. The 6.1-inch LED devices will have 3GB of RAM, the same as the iPhone X. The analyst firm believes that all three models are expected to ship in September and October.

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Children 'At Risk of Robot Influence'
An anonymous reader shares a report: Forget peer pressure, future generations are more likely to be influenced by robots, a study suggests. The research, conducted at the University of Plymouth, found that while adults were not swayed by robots, children were. The fact that children tended to trust robots without question raised ethical issues as the machines became more pervasive, said researchers. They called for the robotics community to build in safeguards for children. Those taking part in the study completed a simple test, known as the Asch paradigm, which involved finding two lines that matched in length. Known as the conformity experiment, the test has historically found that people tend to agree with their peers even if individually they have given a different answer. In this case, the peers were robots. When children aged seven to nine were alone in the room, they scored an average of 87% on the test. But when the robots joined them, their scores dropped to 75% on average. Of the wrong answers, 74% matched those of the robots.

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Slashdot Asks: Did You Have a Shared Family Computer Growing Up?
theodp writes: "Long before phone addiction panic gripped the masses and before screen time became a facet of our wellness and digital detoxes," begins Katie Reid's article, How the Shared Family Computer Protected Us from Our Worst Selves, "there was one good and wise piece of technology that served our families. Maybe it was in the family room or in the kitchen. It could have been a Mac or PC. Chances are it had a totally mesmerizing screensaver. It was the shared family desktop." She continues: "I can still see the Dell I grew up using as clear as day, like I just connected to NetZero yesterday. It sat in my eldest sister's room, which was just off the kitchen. Depending on when you peeked into the room, you might have found my dad playing Solitaire, my sister downloading songs from Napster, or me playing Wheel of Fortune or writing my name in Microsoft Paint. The rules for using the family desktop were pretty simple: homework trumped games; Dad trumped all. Like the other shared equipment in our house, its usefulness was focused and direct: it was a tool that the whole family used, and it was our portal to the wild, weird, wonderful internet. As such, we adored it." Did you have a shared family computer growing up? Can you relate to any of the experiences Katie mentioned in her article? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

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NVIDIA Unveils Next-Gen Turing Quadro RTX Professional Graphics Cards
MojoKid shares a report from Hot Hardware: We been hearing a lot about NVIDA's next-generation GPU architecture since late last year, and today NVIDIA is announcing the first products based on Turing. NVIDIA is targeting the professional graphics market first with its new Quadro RTX 8000, RTX 6000 and RTX 5000 GPUs. Turing GPU architecture replaces Pascal, which has served both the consumer and professional markets since 2016. But as its 8th generation GPU architecture, NVIDIA is ushering in a number of advances with Turing and it's billed as the "world's first ray-tracing GPU." When it comes to content creators, NVIDIA claims that with the power of Turing, "applications can simulate the physical world at 6x the speed of the previous Pascal generation." Getting down to brass tacks, the entry-level Quadro RTX 5000 has 3,072 CUDA cores, 384 Tensor cores, and will come with 16GB of 14Gbps GDDR6 memory. Its ray-tracing performance is dialed in at 6 GigaRays/sec, according to NVIDIA. Both the Quadro RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 have 4,608 CUDA cores and 576 Tensor cores; the only difference between the two is that the former has 24GB of GDDR6, while the latter doubles that to 48GB. Ray-tracing performance for both of these GPUs tops out at 10 GigaRays/sec. NVIDIA is also claiming up to 16TFLOPs compute performance for the Quadro RTX 8000. NVIDIA's new Quadro GPUs will also be among the first to support both USB-C and VirtualLink for next-generation virtual reality and mixed reality headsets. Other VirtualLink backers include AMD, Oculus, Microsoft and Valve. The Quadro RTX 5000, RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 will all be available during the fourth quarter of 2018 priced at $2,300, $6,300 and $10,000 respectively.

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