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Weekly Bytes | SpaceX’s floating spaceport, Ransomware attack on Fujifilm, and more

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SpaceX building first floating spaceport

Earlier this year, SpaceX bought two oil rigs in the Port of Brownsville, Texas, with a plan to convert them into floating launch pads for the Starship. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Monday confirmed the company has started building one of the floating spaceports that may be launch-ready in 2022. “Ocean spaceport Deimos is under construction for launch next year,” Musk wrote on Twitter. The spaceports have been named after the two moons of Mars, Deimos and Phobos. SpaceX is building the Starship to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond. It also plans to use the Starship and floating spaceports for hypersonic travel around Earth. Sometime in the future “Starship will be capable of taking people from any city to any other city on Earth in under one hour,” according to the aerospace firm. In another space update, NASA announced plans to launch two missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030, its first in decades, to study the atmosphere and geologic features of Earth’s so-called sister planet.

Fujifilm hit by ransomware attack

Fujifilm corporation on Wednesday said that it became aware of a possible ransomware attack in the late evening of June 1. Two days later, the firm confirmed it and said the impact of the unauthorised access is confined to a specific network in Japan. “A special Task Force, including external experts, was immediately established, and all networks and servers were shut down to determine the extent and the scale of the issue,” the Japanese company said in a statement. “Starting today [June 4], with a clear understanding of the extent of the impact, we have begun to bring the network, servers, and computers confirmed safe back into operation.” The Japanese multinational conglomerate is the latest victim of a cyberattack amid a growing number of ransomware attacks that have become a major cause of concern for organisations across the globe. This week, a ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat processing company disrupted production around the world just weeks after a similar incident shut down a U.S. oil pipeline.

Credible climate information on Twitter

Twitter on Thursday said it is partnering with organisations committed to tackling climate change and making it easier to find credible climate information from global experts. The micro-blogging platform is collaborating with organisations like Earth Day Network, UN Environment Programme, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Greenpeace, Voice for the Planet, Let Me Breathe, WWF, 350.org, and FridaysForFuture. Also, starting this week, users can follow the Climate Change Topic to find personalised conversations about climate change, including Tweets from environmental and sustainability organisations, environmental activists, and scientists, it noted. In a separate development, Twitter resumed accepting requests for its verification programme after pausing it due to an overflow of requests. In another update, Twitter unveiled its new subscription-based service that will grant users access to exclusive features, including one to undo a published tweet within 30 seconds of posting.

Microsoft broadens Airband Initiative

Microsoft on Wednesday said it is expanding the Airband Initiative to U.S. cities that face some of the largest broadband gaps among racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Black and African American communities. The initiative was launched four years ago to improve broadband access in rural areas. “Our approach focuses on providing access to affordable broadband, devices and digital skilling tools and resources in eight cities, including aiding in the digital transformation of the institutions that support these communities,” Vickie Robinson, General Manager, Airband Initiative, said in a blog post. The initiative will be extended to communities in Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee and New York City. Federal Communications Commission claims that more than 14.5 million people in the U.S. do not have broadband access. This week, Morgan Stanley and Microsoft announced a cloud partnership to support the former’s digital transformation and push the financial services industry forward.

Firefox browser gets a redesign

Mozilla on Tuesday released a redesigned version of Firefox with a modern and cleaner look to offer users a fresh new web experience. The browser’s tabs are now bigger and float neatly above the toolbar. “We detached the tab from the browser to invite you to move, rearrange and pull-out tabs into a new window to suit your flow, and organise them so they’re easier for you to find,” Mozilla noted in a blog post. The menus are streamlined with labels that are clear and easier to understand, and fewer icons for better navigation. The browser also got a new simplified toolbar, and consolidated panels for notifications like microphone and camera permissions, enabling users to get to all their web calls and meetings with fewer clicks. The redesigned version of Firefox, which also improves privacy protection in Private Browsing mode, is available for desktop and mobile devices. Next year, Google plans to phase out technology in its Chrome browser that lets other companies track users' web browsing. Here’s how brands may target ads after the death of browser cookies.

Samsung expands Galaxy Book line-up

Samsung on Thursday unveiled two new Galaxy Book devices, expanding its PC line-up. The Galaxy Book Go series is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, with optional LTE connectivity, and the Galaxy Book Go 5G powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G, promises to deliver lightning-fast 5G connectivity speeds. The Galaxy Book Go series features a 14-inch FHD display, 720p HD camera, 180-degree folding hinge, Dolby Atmos for rich soundscape, 4GB or 8GB (LPDDR4X) RAM, 64GB or 128GB (eUFS) storage, 42.3 Watt-hour battery, and builds on Windows 10 experiences with the benefit of instant boot speeds, allowing users to open it and immediately use their PC. The Galaxy Book Go Wi-Fi and LTE versions will be available from June in select markets starting at $349 (about ₹ 25,400), while the Galaxy Book Go 5G will be available later this year, Samsung noted. In another gadget update, Alienware, a favourite among the gaming community, expanded its product portfolio with the launch of new X-Series gaming laptops.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 11:04:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/weekly-bytes-spacexs-floating-spaceport-ransomware-attack-on-fujifilm-and-more/article34733991.ece

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