Automatically Record Calls From Unknown Numbers With Google’s Phone App

Code from a Phone app update detailed this past January pointed to the upcoming ability to automatically record calls from phone numbers not saved in your contacts. Well, that feature is apparently very real and rolling out to users of Google’s dedicated Phone app right now.

Detailed by the good people at XDA, the feature is rolling out, but there is a huge disclaimer with it. Both you and the person calling will need to live in an area where it’s legal to record peoples’ conversations without their direct consent for the automated portion of this feature to function. In addition, at the start of calls, “Everyone will be notified ahead of time that the call is being recorded.”

Here’s the disclaimer.

You or the other person in your call might be somewhere that requires everyone to consent to being recorded. Everyone will be notified ahead of time that the call is being recorded. It’s up to you to follow laws about recording conversations. Recordings are stored only on your phone.

In the setting menu for the Phone app, users will begin to see a new toggle in the Call Recording menu. When enabled, users can automatically record calls from numbers not in their contacts. Easy enough.

Anyone seeing this on their supported devices yet?

// XDA

Read the original post: Automatically Record Calls From Unknown Numbers With Google’s Phone App

via Droid Life: A Droid Community Blog

April 9, 2021 at 03:28PM

Tiny Astroscale satellite will test space junk cleanup tech with magnets

Astroscale just launched the first commercial space junk cleanup mission designed to locate and retrieve used satellites and other debris orbiting Earth. 

The Japan-based company’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 22. It was among the 38 payloads that were carried into space by a Soyuz rocket as part of the first all-commercial rideshare mission for Russian company GK Launch Services. 

The ELSA-d mission will test new technology developed by Astroscale, which consists of two satellites stacked together: a 385-lb. (175 kilograms) “servicer” and a 37-lb. (17 kg) “client.” The servicer is designed to safely remove debris from orbit, while the client spacecraft will serve during the demonstration as a piece of debris to be cleaned up. Once the two satellites separate, they will perform a cosmic game of cat and mouse over the next six months.

Related: Space junk clean up: 7 wild ways to destroy orbital debris

The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission will test a magnetic docking technique to remove space debris from orbit. The “servicer” satellite will use GPS to locate space debris and then latch onto it using a magnetic docking plate to carry it down toward the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up. (Image credit: Astroscale)

“I am pleased to confirm that Astroscale’s Mission Operations team at the In-Orbit Servicing Centre in Harwell, U.K., has successfully made contact with our ELSA-d spacecraft and established that all initial system checks are satisfactory,” Seita Iizuka, ELSA-d project manager, said in a statement from Astroscale. “I congratulate our team and look forward to moving into the first phase of our technical demonstrations.”

Using a series of maneuvers, Astroscale will test the satellite’s ability to snatch debris and bring it down toward the Earth’s atmosphere, where both servicer and debris will burn up. The servicer is equipped with a magnetic docking plate, as well as GPS technology to estimate the exact position and motion of its target. This debris removal demonstration project is the first of its kind by a commercial satellite operator, according to the statement. 

During the trial mission, the company will test whether the servicer can catch the client satellite in three separate demonstrations. 

In its first maneuver, the servicer will gently release the test debris then quickly catch it. Next, the servicer will attempt to capture the client as it tumbles through space at up to 18,000 miles per hour. 

Finally, Astroscale will simulate an actual mission, in which the servicer will need to search for, locate and capture the client from a distance. If successful, ELSA-d’s magnetic capture mechanism could be installed on future satellites launched into space, allowing future servicers to safely remove these spacecraft when they are no longer in service. 

“While leading the way in proving our debris removal capabilities, ELSA-d will also propel regulatory developments and advance the business case for end-of-life and active debris removal services,” Nobu Okada, Astroscale founder and CEO, said in the statement. “This successful launch brings us closer to realizing our vision of securing the safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations.”

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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April 8, 2021 at 06:33AM

This autonomous tracking drone is frighteningly capable

This is a video putting Skydio’s Skydio 2 autonomous tracking drone to the test and it works frighteningly well. First they track a person running through the woods, then a car driving under a bridge, then test out it’s electromagnetic shielding. And the results? Well turns out this is the perfect stalking tool because it was able to keep up with everything they were doing. The Skydio 2 uses six 200 degree 4k color cameras to get 45 megapixels of visual sensing which it computes with AI to help navigate. Obviously the intended use case is for personal filming of sports and activities, but if you decided to just aim it on a subject I’m not entirely sure what they could do to escape aside from shooting it down. The good news is that it’s still as loud as every other drone so I’d like to see a stalker actually try and use it. It’s hard to be creepy and stealthy when there’s a flying vacuum cleaner following you around.
Keep going for the full test video as well as Skydio’s own promo video. The Skydio 2 costs $999 and you can reserve them here.

And Skydio’s official promo video:

via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome

April 5, 2021 at 03:16AM

Uranus is belching X-rays and is weirder than we ever thought

The more scientists study it, the weirder Uranus gets.

The newest mystery to add to the planet’s repertoire? Astronomers have detected X-rays from the strange world — and while some of the signal may be reflected emissions from the sun, some appear to be coming from the planet itself, according to a NASA statement.

That’s according to new research that analyzed observations of Uranus gathered by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2002 and 2017.

Related: Photos of Uranus, the tilted giant planet

A composite image of the planet Uranus shows 2002 X-ray emission in pinkish purple. (Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXO/University College London/W. Dunn et al; Optical: W.M. Keck Observatory)

Plenty of solar system objects emit X-rays — everything from Venus to Saturn to moons of Jupiter, the scientists write in a paper describing their research. In fact, of the solar system’s planets, only little-studied Uranus and Neptune were missing from the list. 

The team of astronomers were particularly drawn to study Uranus in X-rays because the planet’s alignments are quite jumbled: the planet lies on its side and the axis of its magnetic field is akimbo from both the orbital plane and the spin axis. The skewed axes may trigger particularly complicated auroras, which can emit X-rays.

So the scientists decided to dig into the scant Chandra observations of Uranus — just three segments of data, one from August 2002 and two from November 2017. The 2002 and 2017 observations also come from different instruments on the telescope, and in the 2017 data, the researchers can’t clearly mark which X-rays come from the planet itself and which from elsewhere in the detector’s view.

A composite image of Uranus shows both X-ray emissions and infrared emissions against an optical view of the planet.  (Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXO/University College London/W. Dunn et al; Optical (HRC): W.M. Keck Observatory); Optical (VLT/HRC): ESO/VLT/Kirill Feigelman)

All that means that the scientists, as usual, want more observations. But according to the researchers, both patches of data appear to show X-ray emissions from the strange planet — and more than would be expected solely from the planet’s atmosphere scattering off X-ray emissions from the sun.

If some of the X-rays the researchers detected are indeed coming from Uranus itself, rather than reflected emissions from the sun, a few phenomena could be at play, the scientists wrote. Saturn’s rings produce X-ray fluorescence when hit by charged particles from the sun, and Uranus’ two sets of rings may do the same. Or, the X-rays may come from auroras on Uranus, as they do on Jupiter, although scientists aren’t positive what would trigger the auroras themselves.

Scientists hope that future observations by Chandra may help determine what’s happening at Uranus. Missions yet to launch may also be able to study the planet’s X-ray emissions, particularly the European Space Agency’s Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA), due to launch in 2031, or the Lynx X-ray Observatory mission that NASA is considering for launch after its Nancy Grace Roman Telescope.

The research is described in a paper published today (March 31) in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Email Meghan Bartels at or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:


March 31, 2021 at 03:05PM

Google Maps adds indoor AR directions and prioritizes eco-friendly routes

Today, the company is unveiling a set of updates that should make the app more helpful in more scenarios. For one thing, it’s bringing its AR navigation tool Live View to some indoor locations like select malls, airports and transit stations.

via Engadget

March 30, 2021 at 05:15AM

How to Create NFTs for Fun and Profit, Maybe

It seems like everyone is making money off of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, those digital artworks that have been labeled the next investment mania. Everyone, that is, except for you. It’s the same feeling you had when you realized GameStop’s stock was a thing and you missed the boat sailing toward easy riches. Bitcoin, too—had we only kept our silly mining utilities on our PCs running 24/7 a decade ago.

But the latest get-rich craze is now upon us. Now you, too, can own a digital asset that’s legitimized by the blockchain: wild and wacky items like a column from The New York Times ($584,000), 81 Deadmau5 images ($50,000), or you-know-who ($501,000). (Yes, someone paid seven Teslas’ worth for an “authentic” version of that pop-tart cat, whatever authentic means here.)

There are a lot of issues surrounding NFTs: what you’re actually getting for your money, what you can do with that item, what it means when a million duplicates of your original also exist in the real world, what it means when the source of your expensive NFT (like a popular digital trading-card site, for example) no longer exists in ten years, the copyright issues involved when someone creates an NFT of someone else’s idea or work, the environmental issues related to the energy cost of playing in the blockchain…the list goes on.

If you don’t care about any of this and you just want to learn how to make your own NFT to either get rich quick or have a little fun, you might be surprised to find just how easy it is. And, spoiler, it ain’t free—at least, not if your NFT sells.

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Listing an NFT is as easy as eBay

I’ll start with an assumption: that you want to create your NFT on the Ethereum network (ETH), which is where most people are playing nowadays. As a result, you’ll have to pay for gas—an amount that varies by network congestion, designed to cover the cost of your computations on the blockchain. In other words, you’re blocked from using a script to crank out 100,000 NFTs in the hopes that you can sell a small handful to make some cash. Rinse, wash, repeat; you would be paying a small fortune for that scenario—unless you switch to an a service like OpenSea.

“The new collection manager allows creators to make NFTs without any upfront gas cost, as the NFT isn’t transferred on-chain until the first purchase or transfer is made.

We call this lazy minting. It unbundles the on-chain issuance of your NFTs from the metadata.”

Back to creating. To keep this easy, we’ll create an NFT on Mintable, one of the “household names” of NFT marketplaces that makes it simple to launch your own item into the blockchain without paying gas to launch the listing. Start by creating a free account on the service, which will require you to enter a verification code sent to your email address. Easy.

Next, create a MetaMask Wallet to use with the service—where your digital currencies will live. You’ll start by installing a browser extension:

To set up a new MetaMask wallet, you’ll need to submit a password. You’ll get a “seed phrase” in return, which is a list of 12 random words. Write that down somewhere; it’s your backup code that will let you into your wallet in case you ever misplace said password. You’ll then have to confirm said seed phrase to continue:

Once you’ve done that, your wallet is good to go:

Head back to Mintable and click on “Mint an item.” You’ll be asked to pick whether the NFT already exists in your wallet (it doesn’t), or whether you’re creating a new one (you are). Mintable will default to a gasless NFT—remember, that’s where you can upload anything you want, and it won’t enter the blockchain (and incur fees) until it’s sold or transferred. If you want to do things the “old-fashioned way,” click the slider over to Advanced mode, where you’ll be able to select the transaction model instead. (Hello, upfront fees.)

You won’t have to connect your MetaMask wallet to begin filling out the details for a gasless NFT. But you might as well save your self a step and click on the big purple “Connect a Wallet” link in the site’s upper-right corner. After a few clicks, you’ll be set.

As for the NFT, your screen will look like this:

Fill out the details, add your file, add any preview images you want to use, throw in a description, and select whether you want the item’s copyright to transfer over once a sale is made. You can then set a fixed price for the item, set up an auction, or choose a hybrid of both. And that’s about it; it’s as easy to list as an eBay item.

It costs money to make (or lose) money

No matter what platform you’re using, make sure you’ve done your homework and you fully understand what you’re getting into and what you’ll be charged to sell NFTs. That includes gas fees, any transaction fees a service takes as part of an operational cost (like eBay), and how commissions for future secondary sales work. What do you get? What does the service get? You might very well end up losing money even if you make a successful sale, which is going to be difficult enough itself.

But, hey, that’s the nature of the game. It’s a hot market right now if you can get the right goods, but it can have just as much of an impact in reverse for people caught up in the hype cycle with little to show for it. Good luck to you, fortune-seeker.

via Gizmodo

March 29, 2021 at 11:39AM

Scientists unlock the ‘Cosmos’ on the Antikythera Mechanism, the world’s first computer

Scientists may have finally made a complete digital model for the Cosmos panel of a 2,000-year-old mechanical device called the Antikythera mechanism that’s believed to be the world’s first computer.

First discovered in a Roman-era shipwreck by Greek sponge divers in 1900, the fragments of a shoebox-size contraption, once filled with gears and used to predict the movements of heavenly bodies, has both baffled and amazed generations of researchers ever since. 

The discovered fragments made up just one-third of a larger device: a highly-sophisticated hand-powered gearbox capable of accurately predicting the motions of the five planets known to the ancient Greeks, as well as the sun, the phases of the moon and the solar and lunar eclipses — displaying them all relative to the timings of ancient events such as the Olympic Games.

Related: Photos: Ancient Greek shipwreck yields Antikythera mechanism

Yet despite years of painstaking research and debate, scientists were never able to fully replicate the mechanism that drove the astonishing device, or the calculations used in its design, from the battered and corroded brass fragments discovered in the wreck.

But now researchers at University College London say they have fully recreated the design of the device, from the ancient calculations used to create it, and are now putting together their own contraption to see if their design works. 

“Our work reveals the Antikythera Mechanism as a beautiful conception, translated by superb engineering into a device of genius,” the researchers wrote on March 12 in the open-access journal Scientific Reports. “It challenges all our preconceptions about the technological capabilities of the ancient Greeks.”

This is the largest piece of the 2,100-year-old Antikythera Mechanism, which is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. (Image credit: National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece)

Why recreate Antikythera?

The researchers wanted to recreate the device because of all the mystery surrounding it, as a way to possibly get to the bottom of so many questions. In addition, nobody had ever created a model of the so-called Cosmos that reconciled with all of the physical evidence.

“The distance between this device’s complexity and others made at the same time is infinite,” co-author Adam Wojcik, a materials scientist at UCL, told Live Science. “Frankly, there is nothing like it that has ever been found. It’s out of this world.”

The intricate gears that made up the device’s mechanism are of a scale you could expect to find in a grandfather clock, but the only other gears discovered from around the same period are the much larger ones that went into things like ballistas, or large crossbows, and catapults. 

This sophistication brings up a lot of questions about the manufacturing process that could have made such a uniquely intricate contraption, as well as why it was discovered as the only known device of its kind on an ancient sunken ship off the island of Antikythera.

Related: The 20 most mysterious shipwrecks ever

“What is it doing on that ship? We only found one-third; where are the other two [thirds]? Have they corroded away? Did it ever work?” Wojcik said. “These are questions that we can only really answer through experimental archaeology. It’s like answering how they built Stonehenge, let’s get 200 people with some rope and a big stone and try to pull it across Salisbury Plain. That’s a bit like what we’re trying to do here.” 

Each gear in the mechanism charts the movement of a heavenly body. (Image credit: Tony Freeth/UCL)

Making the first computer

To create the model, the researchers drew on all of the past research on the device, including that of Michael Wright, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, who had previously constructed a working replica. Using inscriptions found on the mechanism and a mathematical model of how the planets moved that was first devised by the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides, they were able to create a computer model for a mechanism of overlapping gears that fit inside a just barely 1-inch-deep (2.5 centimeters) compartment. 

Related: Ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism came with a user guide

Their model recreates each gear and rotating dial to show how the planets, the sun and the moon move across the Zodiac (the ancient map of the stars) on the front face and the phases of the moon and eclipses on the back. It replicates the now-outdated ancient Greek assumption that all of the heavens revolved around the Earth.

Now that the computer model has been made, the researchers want to make physical versions, first using modern techniques so they can check that the device works, and then employing the techniques that could have been used by the ancient Greeks. 

“There’s no evidence that the ancient Greeks were able to build something like this. It really is a mystery,” said Wojcik. “The only way to test if they could is to try to build it the ancient Greek way.”

“And there’s also a lot of debate about who it was for and who built it. A lot of people say it was Archimedes,” Wojcik said. “He lived around the same time it was constructed, and no one else had the same level of engineering ability that he did. It was also a Roman shipwreck.” Archimedes was killed by Romans during the Siege of Syracuse, after the weapons he invented failed to prevent them from capturing the city.

Mysteries also remain as to whether the ancient Greeks used similar techniques to make other, yet-to-be-discovered, devices or whether copies of the Antikythera mechanism are waiting to be found. 

“It’s a bit like having a TARDIS appear in the Stone Age,” said Wojcik, referring to Doctor Who’s time-traveling spacecraft. 

Originally published on Live Science.


March 24, 2021 at 09:39AM