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Author: winuxe

EnduroSat CEO to talk about making satellites more affordable at Disrupt Berlin

It has never been easier to launch a satellite into space. But EnduroSat wants to make it even easier by making CubeSats more affordable thanks to a unique platform. That’s why I’m excited to announce that EnduroSat CEO Raycho Raychev is coming to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin to talk about his platform. Many industries have gone through a standardization revolution. Decades ago, shipping stuff from one continent to another was costly because it was a manual process. Exporters now put everything into containers so that you can carry them seamlessly from a port to a cargo ship, a train or a truck. Similarly, it became much easier to create a new data center thanks to standardized server racks. You can fit servers, routers, or disk arrays into a metal frames, and line all the server racks in a warehouse. The same is happening with satellites. Thanks to CubeSats, you get to choose the list of components that you want to put in your satellite and they’ll all fit nicely in a cubical package. EnduroSat is working on next-generation CubeSats. You first choose the frame of your CubeSat. You can then buy different modules to build the perfect satellite for your use case. The company now has over 30 clients and the EnduroSat One is currently flying above our heads. If you want to hear Raychev tell you more about what...

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Google is closing its Schaft robotics unit after failing to find a buyer

Sad news for anyone into giant robots: Google parent Alphabet is closing down Schaft, its secretive unit that develops bipedal robots aimed at helping out in disaster efforts and generally looking badass. The news was first reported by Nikkei, but Alphabet confirmed to TechCrunch that the business will be shuttered. It said it is helping staff find new roles, most of which will likely be outside of Google and its Alphabet parent. Firstly up, many people — myself included — might have forgotten that Alphabet owns Schaft . The company was scheduled to be sold to SoftBank alongside Boston Dynamics — another of Alphabet’s robotics ventures — through a deal that was announced last year. Boston Dynamics made the transition but Schaft didn’t. Softbank never shouted that omission from the rooftops, but a source with knowledge of the deal told us that certain conditions agreed for the deal were not fulfilled, hence Schaft remained with Alphabet. Our source explained that Alphabet’s robotics focused shifted away from Schaft and instead to non-humanoid robots and industry-led solutions such as robotic arms. The departure of Andy Rubin, the controversial robotics evangelist who reportedly got a $90 million payout to leave amid sexual misconduct allegations, seemed to speed up its demise inside the organization. Alphabet shopped the Schaft business fairly widely — since 2016 and after the SoftBank deal collapsed — but to no avail, we understand. That left closing...

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Legrand acquires smart home startup Netatmo

French hardware startup Netatmo got acquired by the biggest manufacturer of switches and sockets in the world, Legrand. Terms of the deal are undisclosed. Legrand and Netatmo already collaborated together on some products. Back in 2017, the company announced that it would work with industrial groups to connect everything in your home, starting with Legrand and Velux. With Legrand’s “Céliane with Netatmo” switches and power outlets, you could build a house with a smart electrical installation from day one. This way, you could have a wireless master switch near your entrance, activate some outlets using Amazon Alexa and control your home from Messenger. “Our strategy is the connected home. But there are some connected features that we can’t sell to consumers because those products are sold to professionals directly,” Netatmo founder and CEO Fred Potter told me at the time of the original announcement. Netatmo’s team is going to be integrated into Legrand. Legrand plans to release more connected objects in the future. Netatmo founder and CEO Fred Potter is becoming CTO of Legrand’s research & development division. According to the announcement, Netatmo was generating $51 million (€45 million) in annual revenue. Netatmo’s first product was a weather station. It works over Wi-Fi and was one of the first weather stations that you could check from your phone. More recently, the company released security products, such as a connected...

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No display for your Mac Mini? No problem.

Astropad’s Luna Display isn’t just for your MacBook. It turns out that you can take advantage of that tiny little red dongle to turn your iPad into your one and only Mac Mini display. The Luna Display was designed to extend your laptop display. Many desktop users who travel tend to feel limited with a 13-inch or 15-inch display. That’s why the Luna Display turns any iPad into a second monitor. It works wirelessly and pretty well. But the team behind the device tried a fun experiment. Many Mac Mini users tend to use the Mac Mini as a headless server. It sits below your TV, near your router or in a closet. In that case, there’s no display connected to your Mac Mini. You can control it using screen sharing or a VNC client. And, of course, you can also enable SSH access to control it using the command line or even an SSH app on your phone. But it also works as expected with the Luna Display. After plugging the dongle into a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can launch the Luna app on your iPad and see what’s happening on your Mac. If your Mac Mini is connected to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you’ll see your actions on the screen. And because Luna’s dongle works over Wi-Fi, you can even control your Mac Mini from your...

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MacBook Pro with updated GPU is now available

Apple recently unveiled a bunch of new products during a press event in New York. But the company also quietly shared a press release with new configurations for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Customers can now get a MacBook Pro with an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 or Vega 20 graphics processing unit. Before this update, users could only get Radeon Pro 555X or 560X GPUs. Those options are still available, but you can now pay a bit more money to get much better GPUs. As the name suggests, Vega is a new generation of graphics processors. The iMac Pro comes with desktop-class Vega processors — the Vega 56 and Vega 64. The Vega 16 or Vega 20 are less powerful than the iMac Pro GPUs. But they also fit in a laptop and consume much less power. In particular, Radeon Pro GPUs use GDDR5 memory just like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X. But Vega GPUs now take advantage of HBM2 memory, which provides more bandwidth and consumes less power. It leads to a direct bump in performance. Apple says you can expect as much as 60 percent faster graphics performance. But we’ll have to wait for the benchmarks to know that for sure. Vega GPUs are only available on the most expensive 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration that starts at $2,799 with a Radeon Pro 560X. Upgrading to...

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