Carbon Nanotubes Can Self-Assemble Themselves at a Distance

Nanotechnology is part of a whole new stage of technology, the ability to create microscopic machines that can perform tasks such as replacing torn knee ligaments or as was previously found it could be used to double hard drives space. Part of nanotechnologies problems is that if it is damaged, you are talking about a tiny tear. Self-repairing technology can help with that, enabling machines and devices to not only protect themselves but also repair some of the damage that has been done to them, and researchers at Rice university have taken it a step further by letting carbon nanotubes self-assemble themselves all with just a little remote prompt.

The researchers at Rice university posted a video to YouTube that shows a series of carbon nanotubes gather together and assembles themselves into a wire. Remember when you broke your favourite pair of headphones because part of the cable broke but you could never tell what part? With this technology, you could simply place your headphones in a force field created by a Tesla coil and watch at it repairs itself.

Described by one of the scientists sons as “spider-man webs”, the video clearly shows that this technology could be used in creating self-building/repairing technology, similar to that found in the self-healing gel that Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas showed off a few months ago.

Verizon Looking to Switch Everyone From Copper to Fiber

Internet speeds are going up and up, but the US still lags behind the rest of the world leaving many upset. Some companies charge for the bigger internet, but internet provider Verizon looks to be one of the first to encourage users to switch to fiber optic cables.

Fiber is the only fix” was revealed by a document that seems to suggest that those who request fixes to any copper line will be told that the only way to fix the problem is by taking up the fiber optic lines. This will fall in line with the companies new official stance is to refuse repairs on any copper lines with the document stating that their official response when asked to fix a copper line “do not fix trouble with copper lines”.

If you don’t have a problem with copper lines, but someone near you has, then Verizon is making steps to improve and upgrade other people’s lines, perhaps in a move to help defer and delay future problems.

Some have felt like Verizon has been rather hostile in their actions to upgrade users from copper to fiber cables, with this being but the latest in a slew of moves to force users to upgrade to the latest technology. While people are happy for faster internet and connections, being forced to do anything is often seen with reluctance and anger.

How Bad Are Adobe Flash Bug Repair Stats?

It’s safe to say Adobe flash did not have the best of years, from crashes, hacks, crashes, vulnerabilities and, yes more crashes, many in the industry doubt whether this will be the year Adobe finally pulls the plug. It seems the ill-fated Flash player is constantly being fixed, but, how often does it need to be patched from the many bugs?

Well, it turns out it’s quite a lot if you take into account official data on the subject, according to the information, “Adobe have repaired Flash Player 2015 a total of 316 Bugs”. This works out at almost 1 bug a day, or to be more precise; Adobe has fixed 1 bug every 1.15 days. Prominent industry figures have been somewhat sarcastic to the point whereby they have suggested Adobe is able to only rest on a “Sunday” before continuing to fix Flash again and again.

To place this into perspective, Adobe fixed 12 bugs in Flash on average per month in 2014, worse still, “the fourth quarter of 2015 saw the repair scale reach up to 113 bugs” Oh, there is more, recently Microsoft found that Flash crashed almost any browser on Windows 10 after conflicting security patches were pushed to users.

The implementation of Flash on many websites is also declining, once it used to be the standard, but stats have shown that in 2010, 28.5% of websites used Flash, today it is less than 10%.

Will Flash make it through 2016?  Not on this evidence.

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Self-Healing Gel Now Carries Electrical Charge

We’ve all had that moment when we’ve heard the crack, the snap or the crunch. Be it your favourite USB drive, your screen or even your laptop, accidents happen and things get damaged. The worst part about this is it’s normally one or two small things that stop you from using that technology again, but what if that changed? What if when you saw your USB stick crunch into a weird shape, you held it together and found it still worked?

Thanks to research scientists at Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, you could soon see that happening with technology and more. Revealed as the first of its kind, the researchers have managed to develop a self-healing gel that not only repairs and connects electronic circuits but can also carry a charge within itself. The gel not only carries a charge but also repairs itself without external stimuli, such as having to shine a light or heating up the gel, meaning that you wouldn’t have to put your phone on the radiator to fix it. The image shows the gel even holding its own, after being cut in half.

Guihua Yu, a mechanical engineering assistant professor at Cockrell School, stated the gel could be used at ‘soft joints’. The gel could even be applied overtop of traditional joins in hardware, allowing you to continue using old technology while allowing the self-repairing gel to go to work.

Imagine if we had these in the old sliding phones, the ones where the ribbon connecting the screen broke every few months. That’s just the tip of the gel pack for this technology, what would you like to see this technology used for?

iFixit Teardown the New iMac

The new iMac is an interesting machine, with a 21.5-inch and a 27-inch model on offer, a 4K panel and sleek aesthetics and a hefty price tag that starts around $1500. Apple love building closed systems for their consumers, but that hasn’t stopped the folks at iFixit from ripping the new Mac to pieces to see how it works.

On the interior, we find that the 4K models display is made by LG, but for those hoping to crack it open and fix any faults, you’re straight out of luck as the glass and LCD are fused together, making screen replacements tricky and expensive. Several of the main components have been soldered to the motherboard too, which can help save space and building costs, but don’t expect to be able to upgrade your CPU or RAM anytime soon, or should I say ever, unless you want to buy a whole new system, ouch!

What’s quite surprising, however, is that despite the new 21.5-inch model being “new” and expensive, it still only features the 5th Gen Broadwell Core-i5’s, not the newer Skylake hardware found in the 27-inch model.

So how does the new system rank on the iFixit scale? 1 out of 10, meaning if something goes wrong, it’s time to buy a new one.

Apple Offers to Fix ‘Blurry’ IPhone 6 Plus Cameras for Free

Apple has been under increasing pressure from disgruntled customers affected by blurry focus on the iPhone 6 Plus rear-facing camera. The hardware fault effects models sold between September 2014 and January 2015 but Apple insists this only occurs to “a small percentage” of handsets. To setup an RMA, you need to navigate to this dedicated website and insert your phone’s credentials. Please note, Apple can refuse the repair or charge a fee if the phone has any damage which could impair the repair process. It’s a shame Apple doesn’t provide a brand new replacement phone but at least your existing handset doesn’t go to waste.

Evidence showing the highlighted problem is included in a user-video below and illustrates how the camera’s optics swish from side-to-side. It’s important to reiterate that this only happens on the iPhone 6 Plus so other handset owners shouldn’t be affected. This isn’t the first instance of hardware flaws on the iPhone 6 which was plagued by “bendgate” and created a lot of negative press surrounding the latest SKUs.

While Apple might be completely right and the issues are quite isolated, it’s good to see consumers being given a free repair option. Although it’s long overdue and many users might have already migrated to Android after returning their faulty handset.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Remember the Ultra-Rare ‘Infinium Phantom’ Console?

Hands up, who remembers the Infinium Phantom Console? OK only the most dedicated of gamers amongst you do, this is a tale of how the fore mentioned console appeared in a repair shop.

If you are not sure of how the Phantom Console first came to be, then here’s a quick rundown, this console was first announced in the year 2002, oh the nostalgia of the original Xbox, ultra slow dial-up and no social networking. I have nothing against Facebook, but it was certainly a different time back then. Anyway, the Phantom was a “revolutionary” effort to bring the power of a PC to the living room TV; this was a pretty big dream considering how rudimentary Personal Computers were in the early 2000, imagine hooking up that big Windows XP machine to your huge backed TV.

Infinium’s aim was to build a machine capable of streaming games over a broadband connection this was certainly a big dream considering the Internet was in its infancy and had not been adopted by a huge chunk of the population. Unfortunately or somewhat predictably, the console did not launch onto the market, and by 2006, Infinium had suffered a massive $73 million in losses, now I normally use a currency converter, but there are too many noughts for me to care.

Since then the Phantom has been remembered for, well, not much really until one appeared at a repair shop. According to reports, a gentleman by the name of Eddie Schlesinger remembered an incident which happened three years ago, when a console collector walked into his store with a Phantom console. The collector had picked the console up for $200 (£130) from a person with whom he did some work for, does not say what work, could have been a cheap hitman for all we know.

The person offering the collector the console did not know what it was and therefore sold it for a cheap price. The collector took it to the repair shop because the console really did not work at all, Mr Schlesinger fitted a hard drive with Windows XP, reattached the audio jacks before connecting it to a monitor for it to load the promo screen, an image of this is below, the owner was pleased with his efforts and took it home.

It’s amazing how a prototype which never appeared on the market was accidentally found by a collector. If this was a counterfeit machine then it would have been a detailed replica which would not have been worth anything for the person who went to the trouble. If Infinium had invented the notion of internet living room gaming a decade later and managed to pull it off, the landscape of gaming would have been altered forever.

Thank You ars technica for providing us with this information and images

CodePhage Fixes Software Bugs With Patches from Different Programs

A whole new level can be explored of what could be achievable when both Science and Tech meet; this time around the geniuses at MIT have developed a way to fix bugs in source code by using a system to import functionally from other programs.

The system is called CodePhage and it functions by analysing an applications execution, by undertaking these procedures, it is able to characterize the types of security checks with which it performs. As a result of this, the system can import checks from applications written in programming languages which differs from that of the one in which the program it’s repairing was written.

Once the fix has been imported, CodePhage offers a further layer of analysis which guarantees that the bug has been repaired. If this was not impressive enough, this system was tested on seven common open-source programs which were identified as having bugs. CodePhage was able to patch the vulnerable code with the estimated time calculated between two and 10 minutes per repair.

The ability to borrow code from one application in order to fix another could be revolutionary and the time which it takes in testing is phenomenal. Further experimentation and development is required, but it’s certainly an impressive start which has the potential for real world applications which are wide.

Thank You MIT for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of brightlandcollege

Apple’s New Macbook Is Almost Impossible to Fix Yourself

It’s pretty obvious to most people that Apple devices are not designed with DIY repairs in mind. The new MacBook design takes the difficulty to a new height.

The crew over at the popular tech tear down and repair website, iFixit have gotten their hands on the new MacBook and in true fashion, taken it apart. From reading through their article we can see that Apple has removed a lot of repair options and gateways to be able to cram every little bit of tech into the tiny metal case. Most components are glued or soldered together to keep them as compact as possible.

Apple have made the innards of the new Mac an absolute nightmare for a day to day tinkerer looking for a cheap fix. If you break your Mac you’ll most likely have to send it off to Apple to be repaired. The battery is inserted into the case in several segments too. Meaning if you overcharge your battery it’ll be crazily expensive to repair.

On the flip side we can see why Apple have done this, there are a lot less things to break in the new Mac compared to previous models and other models of laptop. It’s a smart design choice made by their team that means less repairs will need to be carried out over the years of manufacture; making them will be a lot cheaper too!

 

What are your thoughts on the new MacBook design? let us know in the comment section below.

Thank you to iFixit for the information.

Images courtesy of iFixit.

Amazon Home Services Now Available in Major US Cities

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Amazon’s new Home Services options are now available in the US to “major” cities in 41 states. The service lets customers shop for professional services locally from Amazon in categories from tech support to home maintenance.

Amazon rolled out the brand new Home Services, where customers can purchase anything from appliance repair to goats to graze a field. The services are hand-picked professionals by Amazon and offer up front pricing. The job is only paid for when it is done so customer satisfaction should be high and the likelihood of contractors cutting corners will be low. The amount of services offered will vary greatly from city to city, with the largest cities likely having a lot more options than smaller ones.

Source: Engadget

Apple Developing Algorithm System To Speed Up Genius Bar Wait Times

The quality (and the subsequent price) of Apple products means that it’s not that often that owners find themselves needing service. But when they do, the first place most turn to is the Genius Bar, at their local Apple Store. But, as the hilarious Genius Bar Tales Twitter account informs us, it can get quite busy with people asking stupid questions. So if you have a genuine issue, and want to get an appointment in-between all of the teenagers asking why Instagram isn’t working on their iPhone, it can mean quite a wait.

Well, Apple apparently has a solution to that. The ever reliable 9to5Mac reports that the company is developing a new system that will allow people to just turn up to the Apple Store with their issue. They say that a new algorithm system will mean that a customer can simply inform any staff member of their issue and they’ll immediately be given an estimate of how long they have to wait.

The staff members will input the customer’s issue into a custom iPhone, and then a special app will strategically place the customer in a queue based on their complaint. If it’s a simple problem, like being unable to sign into iCloud, they’ll go straight to the front of the queue as it can be fixed and got out-of-the-way quickly. If it’s a complex issue, like a MacBook with a blinking display, they’ll be pushed further down the queue as so more time can be allocated to them. Following this, customers will then receive three text messages – one informing them of the wait time, another telling them to head back to the store, and a third informing them that the ‘Genius’ is ready and waiting.

As Apple apparently deems most Genius Bar visits to be minor and quick to fix issues, the notion of putting those appointments first makes sense.

Source: 9to5Mac

Apple Fix For Basic iPhone Feature Now Available

Apple are one of the most high-profile businesses that there are around the world, yet, as some unfortunate users have found, they seem to fail at writing some of the most basic code needed for a mobile. Considering the massive amount of functions that the iPhone has to carry out, it is hard to conceive the fact that there is an issue with the code needed to run the clock and even more importantly its wake & sleep buttons. Surely this has to be a joke right?

Sadly though this is far from a joke and after a large number of customers consulted Apple for this simple issue, Apple have admitted that there is a problem with its ever popular iPhone 5 handset. Whilst the problem may not seem that bad, if you happen to use the clock on your shiny new 5 handset, you may have been experiencing some late awakenings in the morning after the wake/sleep buttons fail to respond to the user’s input. Additionally this is NOT the first time that iUsers have experienced a problem with their clocks. As early as 2010, there have been known problems and bugs with the simple looking clock and whilst many have been fixed with simple updates, this time it’s worse than ever.

The problem is so severe that it simply can’t be resolved with an iOS update and this means that it is time to head down to your local Genius bar and get it hands on repaired. Apple claim that this problem only affects a ‘small percentage’ of users and the fix-it program as been introduced to enable users to have their handsets fixed free of charge; and rightly so to be honest. US and Canada users initially can access the program and after entering the devices serial number into the Apple website, qualifying users will be prompted to head to the Apple Repair Centre.

There are one or two points that Apple do wish to add though, damaged screens will HAVE to be repaired before the device is sent in to have the clock fixed and you will have to part your beloved and cherished phone for around a week. There are other options to consider if parting with your handset is not an option. One is to ignore the problem and find another solution, another is to get another non-iDevice handset instead, or simply get a non-Apple branded clock. Some of these options are a little more drastic than others, so I’ll leave it to you to decide.

Will this be the last time we’ll hear of a problem like this? For some reason I think not.

Source: Fudzilla

 

Cracked iPhone 5C Screens Can Reportedly Be Fixed At Your Local Apple Store

Apple can now repair your iPhone 5C screen at the local Apple store, so don’t fret if your iPhone 5C has suffered a drop that eventually lead to having a broken display. You can now take it to any Apple store to have it replaced, though expect to have a big wallet as well.

It is reported that Monday was the first day on which Apple stores started taking in iPhones with broken displays to have them replaced. The screen-repair service will cost you $149 though, less than what Apple offered for an alternative to ship the handset to a repair center, which eventually lead to a repair cost of roughly $229.

Cnet has reported that the price will eventually take longer and be more expensive, depending on the damage suffered by the display. Those with minor scratches and cracks are said to be treated in-store and quicker, for a less fee. However the more extreme cases are required to be shipped out and have the display (or phone) replaced completely, eventually upping the price.

There have been reports from last year that Apple will introduce in-store technical support for the 5S and 5C. However, nothing has been heard of the iPhone 5S and the 4S receiving in-store support, leading to the handsets still having to be shipped to a repair center to get the proper repairs done on them.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Apple

Thousands Of Computers Attacked By MalwareBytes Monday

Do you use Malwarebytes? If so you are among millions of customers of the Anti-Malware software distributor. Many of us monitor and repair our own computers, and we use largely known companies to keep our computers safe and secure. Unfortunately, every once in awhile there is a glitch which causes major issues for our computers, such as how Malwarebytes released an update which made our computers think that Windows was attacking Windows! Even though you might think that the Windows operating system is a virus, or acts like a virus from time to time, we don’t want Malwarebytes or any other software for that matter to delete our windows. The update did just that.

On April 15 at approximately 3 P.M. (PDT) Malwarebytes was updated, this update disabled thousands of computers within just a few minutes. Though the issue was caught in the initial few minutes of the release the damage had already been done. A simple definitions update for Malwarebytes turned into a fatal application for your computer, attacking .exe and .dll files alike thinking that nearly all of the files in your computer were viruses. Malwarebytes acted swiftly in working to disable the update and removing it from their servers. Unfortunately the damage had already been done. And they have apologised for their mistake, taking the blame.

“I want to offer my sincere apology to our millions of customers and free users. I started this company because I thought everyone was entitled to malware-free computing. We acted overzealously in that mission and realize far superior procedures around updating are needed. More was expected of us, and we failed.”  CEO Marcin Kleczynski posted on the official Malwarebytes forum

Thousands of computers being affected by this simple release is really devastating, we can only hope that Malwarebytes will test out the updates more thoroughly in the future. Of course we understand that they may have missed this issue, by trying to be the best anti-malware software out there, having the most current and up to date definitions available.

If you have been affected by the update, and you have not been able to fix your computer just yet, you can find repair information, and a tool HERE.

How do you keep your computer safe and secure, do you use a combination of Malwarebytes and an anti-virus software? Let us know in the comments below.

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