Citizen… in… Space!

Watches heading into outer space – that’s almost to be expected. I mean, we just had all manner of celebratory watch releases for the commemoration of the moon landing. And I’m not knocking those, but what if a watch brand could turn some of their knowhow into something used for the trip to space, and not just timing things? That’s precisely what’s going on with Citizen’s partnering up with space.

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Minecraft now has bees

I suspect you or someone in your house would love to know that Minecraft now has bees.

From the release:

We’re buzzing with excitement!

• Bees are cute, fuzzy, neutral mobs
• Don’t hurt them, they don’t want to hurt you
• If a bee does sting you, it will leave its stinger in you and eventually die, dropping nothing 🙁
• Bees love pretty flowers and spend their lives gathering pollen from them
• After gathering pollen, bees fly back to their home nest
• Bees help you by growing crops while carrying pollen back to the nest
• Bees can be bred using flowers
• Bees like sharing the location of their favorite flowers with other bees
• If a bee can’t find nectar, after a while it will return home for a bit
• If a bee doesn’t have a home nest, it will wander around until it finds one it can use
• Bees don’t like the rain and they sleep at night. They will go back to the nest in these cases

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Bluetana is a new tool that keeps you safe at the gas station

Security researcher Brian Krebs has uncovered a new tool that will keep you safer at the gas station. Skimmers are devices that hackers hide on or inside gas pumps. These devices steal your credit card number and PIN are are often hidden under faceplates and inside card slots.

The tool is basically a Bluetooth sniffer that hunts for transmitters inside gas pumps. If it senses a Bluetooth device then the gas station managers can tear down the pump to find out what’s going on.

According to the study, some 44 volunteers  — mostly law enforcement officials and state employees — were equipped with Bluetana over a year-long experiment to test the effectiveness of the scanning app. From the post:

The researchers said their volunteers collected Bluetooth scans at 1,185 gas stations across six states, and that Bluetana detected a total of 64 skimmers across four of those states. All of the skimmers were later collected by law enforcement, including two that were reportedly missed in manual safety inspections of the pumps six months earlier.

Skimmers are big business.

“Based on the prior figures, we estimate the range of per-day revenue from a skimmer is $4,253 (25 cards per day, cashout of $362 per card, and 47% cashout success rate), and our high end estimate is $63,638 (100 cards per day per day, $1,354 cashout per card, and cashout success rate of 47%),” said the creators of the software.

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Android battery draining faster than it used to?

As it turns out, it may not be your imagination. Sure, batteries degrade over time, and sometimes they just straight up need replacement. However, if it was able to get you going through a day and then all of a sudden is acting like an electron sieve, then the latest Google Play update may be to blame.

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Goodbye, Dash buttons

Amazon is pulling the plug on its odd little Dash buttons – those buttons you could press to automatically order toilet paper or milk or whatever. Why? Because the tech is now obsolete.

As CNET notes, Dash and Dash-like buttons are already built into many devices including washers and printers. Further, devices in the home can re-order TP or washing detergent for you with your voice, thereby reducing the need for a physical button.

Amazon will stop selling them now and will shut down the service at the end of August.

Launched in 2015, the buttons had a good run. Many will miss them.

“I haven’t fully decided what to do with my Dash buttons,” Tom Warren of the Verge wrote. “I might just rip them off my wall and cupboards and recycle them like everyone else. I just wish they weren’t going away, because I’m going to miss the convenience and satisfaction of having a real button to push every week.”

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A new FourSevens Quark is on the way!

If you want a useful, everyday item that can have all manner of technical (and artistic) innovations, you don’t need to look much further than the humble flashlight. Sure, your local hardware store will have some basic lights there, but if you want something more robust, long lasting, and, well, cool, you need to cast a wider net. One of my favorite brands is FourSevens, and they’ve just launched a new FourSevens Quark over on Kickstarter.

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