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This is SpaceX’s big chance to really make history

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On Wednesday, May 27, at 4:33 p.m. US Eastern Time, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are scheduled to launch into orbit for a rendezvous with the International Space Station. This is standard stuff, except for three important facts: it will be the first time in almost nine years that American astronauts have flown to space from American soil; it will be the first time in history astronauts have reached low Earth orbit on a commercially built rocket and spacecraft; and it will the first time in its 18-year history that SpaceX has launched humans into space.

The mission, called Demo-2, is set to take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Behnken and Hurley will fly to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon, launched using the company’s flagship Falcon 9 rocket. The mission could last anywhere between 30 and 119 days, depending on the status of Crew Dragon and whether NASA needs the pair to stay longer to help out with operations on the station. The agency won’t make that decision until they are already in orbit. Regardless, 119 days is the maximum because Crew Dragon’s solar arrays are currently not designed to withstand degradation for longer than 120 days. 

The launch date for the follow-up Crew Dragon mission to the ISS, Crew-1, won’t be set until Demo-1 returns safely to Earth. That mission, which plans to take one Japanese and three American astronauts into space, will use a version of the capsule that’s designed to last 210 days in orbit. 

NASA has not launched humans into space from American soil since the space shuttle flew for the last time on July 21, 2011. The plan has always been for NASA to turn over its low-Earth-orbit missions to the private sector—first for cargo resupply missions to the ISS and then for astronaut flights themselves through the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). NASA gave massive contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to build the crew vehicles required—and hoped to have them up and running by 2017. 

In the interim, NASA has paid Russia more than $4 billion to take its astronauts to the ISS aboard Soyuz missions. But the timeline slipped, forcing NASA to shell out additional money for Soyuz tickets and at one point raising the strange possibility the ISS would be unoccupied for the first time in two decades. The financial burden and the cratering of US-Russian relations through the last decade put more pressure on NASA to end its reliance on Soyuz. A successful Demo-2 mission gives NASA a preferable new option for its human spaceflight program. 

SpaceX and Boeing have almost never been on schedule. Although SpaceX aced all its major tests, it experienced its most significant setback in April 2019, when a launchpad fire destroyed one of its Crew Dragon capsules just a month after the vehicle finished a successful uncrewed test flight. That explosion eventually pushed Demo-2 into 2020. The December test flight for Starliner, meanwhile, never even made it to the ISS because of one of many software glitches. Boeing will redo this mission later in the fall

Wednesday’s mission, nevertheless, is a big leap forward for both SpaceX and the commercial space industry. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to send humans to Mars one day through its Starship vehicle and establish a sustainable interplanetary transportation system. Crew Dragon is the first step toward making SpaceX a human spaceflight company, and the vehicle itself is expected to run private astronaut and tourist missions in the coming years. If successful, Crew Dragon’s and Starliner’s inaugural crewed missions will demonstrate that private spaceflight is technically viable, although the companies will still have to make the business case. 

The Commercial Crew Program wasn’t simply a selfless act by NASA to open up opportunities to private industry; it was also a way to save money. In the space shuttle’s heyday, each mission cost nearly $1.8 billion (in 2020 dollars). Now NASA is paying SpaceX $55 million per astronaut for every Crew Dragon mission. A recent analysis by the Planetary Society estimates that NASA has invested just $6.6 billion to bring Crew Dragon and Starliner to the launchpad—much cheaper than what the agency likely would have spent developing its own vehicle for low-Earth-orbit transportation. Instead, NASA has focused its own resources on developing deep-space architecture for a return to the moon and eventual travel to Mars (that program is also far behind schedule).

There’s been a fair share of criticism directed at NASA’s and SpaceX’s decision to continue with Demo-2during the covid-19 pandemic. One of the most prominent voices was former NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, who told The Atlantic in April: “I’m not sure risking so many lives to launch two people to the same place we’ve been going for 20 years should be prioritized.” 

With many of NASA’s projects slowed or outright halted by the pandemic, CCP has been one of the few programs continuing as regular business. Though the agency has minimized Behnken’s and Hurley’s contact with the outside world, the hundreds of NASA and SpaceX personnel required to launch the mission must still risk coronavirus exposure. NASA and SpaceX both say they are taking precautions to increase social distancing between people on site and having employees work in shifts to minimize contact. Spectators are being asked to stay home and watch the launch remotely. “No virus is stronger than the human desire to explore,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted in April. And Musk has publicly stated his opposition to lockdown measures, even reopening a Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in defiance of stay-at-home orders. If Demo-2 is delayed, it won’t be because of coronavirus.



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Why You Should Remove Xiaomi’s Default MIUI Cleaner App?

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Two weeks ago, India banned 59 Chinese apps, citing that they “pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country.” The list includes some of the most downloaded Android and iOS apps such as TikTok, UC Browser, ShareIT, and the app that concerns Xiaomi users — Clean Master by Cheetah Mobile.

The Indian government said Clean Master and other Chinese apps have been “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”

Clean Master, as the name suggests, is a cleaner app that promises to clear the junk files on the device and boost performance. Although Android cleaners ironically work against the device (more on this below), the bigger problem with Clean Master is that it is owned by Cheetah Mobile. Cheetah Mobile has been under the radar of privacy experts long before India noticed suspicious activity around its apps. The Chinese company has previously been caught in ad fraud and user data theft.

While CleanMaster has been removed from the Google Play Store and App Store in India, it is still being pushed as a default cleaner app in Xiaomi, one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in India.

How to remove Xiaomi’s MIUI Cleaner app?

All Xiaomi and Redmi devices come with a cleaner app pre-installed known as MIUI Cleaner app. If you go into the app settings, you will notice that the app uses the Clean Master definition. Apart from that, the app brings up “Cheetah Mobile” a number of times in its privacy policy.

Unfortunately, Xiaomi doesn’t allow users to uninstall or even disable several default apps (also known as Bloatware), and one of them is MIUI Cleaner app. But here is a workaround to remove MIUI Cleaner app —

Prerequisite:
A Windows PC
USB cable to connect the device to the PC
USB debugging turned on the Xiaomi device

  • Connect your Xiaomi device to PC using the USB cable
  • Allow the USB debugging prompt on your device
    USB debugging Android Prompt
  • Download and extract ADB tools
  • Go to the extracted folder. Right-Click and choose “Open PowerShell Window here”
    How to use ADB tools
  • Type in the command “adb devices” and hit Enter
    ADB tools for deleting android apps
  • You will now see a number and “device” under the list of devices attached
  • Type in the command “adb shell,” press enter, then type, “pm uninstall –k —user 0 com.miui.cleanmaster” and hit Enter.
  • Remove the USB cable and restart your Xiaomi device

And that’s it, this process will remove MIUI Cleaner app. It is a universal process to remove pre-installed apps on any Android device. In other words, you can follow the same method if you have a Realme, Oppo, or any other Chinese smartphone.

Previously, Mi browser was accused of collecting data from users. You can use this method to remove the Mi browser or any default apps. What you need is the app’s package name and insert it in the “pm uninstall –k —user 0 <app package>” command. Use App Inspector to find out the exact name of the app.

Alternatives to Xiaomi MIUI Clearer

Over the years, Android has become extremely efficient in handling apps and background services. It intelligently allocates resources to apps and pauses apps that are not being used frequently. Most cleaner apps offer a performance boost which is simply force-quitting all background apps. While it may give a performance jump, it can create problems with Android’s way of doing things.

The only useful feature of a cleaner app is allowing users to delete unwanted apps and data under one roof. However, in return, it may collect user data. That being said, if you still want a cleaner app, you can start with SDMaid which does a pretty good job and keeps your data secure. Alternatively, you can also choose from our best cleaner apps list.

The post Why You Should Remove Xiaomi’s Default MIUI Cleaner App? appeared first on Fossbytes.



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Another big Galaxy Z Fold 2 leak spoils the phone’s specs

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  • Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 specifications and features have leaked once again in a comprehensive report from Korean tech news site ETNews.
  • According to the report, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will feature a 7.7-inch AMOLED display inside the fold and a 6.23-inch AMOLED Cover Display on the outside.
  • Samsung will hold its next Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5th.

On July 7th, Samsung sent out invitations to its virtual Galaxy Unpacked event, which take place on August 5th and feature their “latest ecosystem of Galaxy devices.” Rumors and reports that have popped up over the last few months led us to believe that the “ecosystem” would include a Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Flip 5G, and Galaxy Z Fold 2, but it’s now being reported that the sequel to the Galaxy Fold could be delayed. Regardless, that hasn’t stopped the internet from attempting to spoil every last feature and specification of the foldable phone.

A recent report from South Korea’s ETNews claims the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (which is rumored to be the rebranded name of the phone that will follow the Galaxy Fold) will feature a 7.7-inch Youm On-Cell Touch AMOLED (Y-OCTA) display with a refresh rate of 120Hz and the same Ultra-Thin Glass found on the Galaxy Z Flip.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about an even larger display for the Fold 2, but the leak doesn’t end there.

According to ETNews, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will also feature a 6.23-inch Cover Display (a significant upgrade from the 4.6-inch outer screen of the original) and a biometric fingerprint scanner mounted on the side. As for the cameras, the Z Fold 2 is said to have two 10-megapixel selfie cameras — one on the inside and one on the outside — as well as a rear-facing triple-lens camera array. The primary array features a 12-megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel camera with an ultra wide-angle lens, and a 64-megapixel telephoto camera.

As SamMobile notes, if this report is accurate, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will have the same setup as the Galaxy S20.

As for battery power, ETNews says that the Z Fold 2 will support 15W fast wireless charging as well as 15W reverse wireless charging (which is when you charge another device with your phone). Previous reports have suggested that Samsung will put both a 2,090 mAh battery and a 2,275 mAh battery inside the Galaxy Z Fold 2, giving the phone a total battery capacity of 4,365 mAh. We also expect the phone to feature a Snapdragon 865+ processor, 12GB of RAM, support for 5G networks, and up to 256GB of storage. At this point, there’s very little we don’t know.

We still do not know when an official announcement from Samsung will arrive, but August 5th is still weeks away, so perhaps the company will sort out any issues and reveal the Galaxy Z Fold 2 at the Unpacked event.



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Government dumps Huawei from UK’s 5G network in massive U-turn

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The logo of Chinese company Huawei is on view at their main UK offices in Reading, west of London (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

Huawei has been denied access to the UK’s 5G telecoms network just six months after it was given the all-clear by the government.

The dramatic u-turn was announced today following mounting pressure on Boris Johnson’s cabinet not to include the Chinese tech giant in Britain’s infrastructure.

In January the government said that Huawei could supply up to 35% of the equipment for the UK’s 5G plans but would be kept out of the core network.

But now it has been made clear the company will not be allowed to install any equipment at all from next year.

Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, told MPs that the government will now no longer allow Huawei to supply kit for use in 5G networks operated by the likes of BT, O2 and Three.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Dowden said that telecoms operators will not be allowed to buy equipment from Huawei from the end of the year and that a complete removal of all Huawei kit will take place by 2027.

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‘5G will be transformative for our country, but only if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure it is built upon,’ he said.

‘Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it is necessary to ban Huawei from our 5G networks. 

‘No new kit is to be added from January 2021, and UK 5G networks will be Huawei free by the end of 2027. This decisive move provides the industry with the clarity and certainty it needs to get on with delivering 5G across the UK.

‘By the time of the next election we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks.’

‘This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,’ he told MPs.

The decision comes after the United States moved to impose further sanctions on Huawei, which it believes is a tool for espionage used by the Chinese government. Last month the US Federal Communications Commission branded Huawei a threat to ‘national security.’

Huawei has long denied the accusations from the Trump administration but the latest round of US sanctions have had consequences. Huawei is no longer allowed to use American-made processor chips, forcing it to look elsewhere.

This, in turn, led the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to launch a review of the company’s involvement in national networks.

Technical experts at the NCSC reviewed the consequences of the sanctions and concluded Huawei will need to do a major reconfiguration of its supply chain as it will no longer have access to the technology on which it currently relies and there are no alternatives which it has ‘sufficient confidence’ in.

They found the new restrictions make it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future. 

Ed Brewster, a spokesperson for Huawei UK, said: ‘This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone. It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of ‘levelling up’ the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.

‘Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicized, this is about US trade policy and not security. Over the past 20 years, Huawei has focused on building a better connected UK. As a responsible business, we will continue to support our customers as we have always done.

‘We will conduct a detailed review of what today’s announcement means for our business here and will work with the UK government to explain how we can continue to contribute to a better connected Britain.’



The debate around Huawei

A woman walks by a Huawei retail store in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

A woman walks by a Huawei retail store in Beijing (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Here is a look at the key issues in the debate around Huawei.

What is Huawei?

Huawei is the Chinese telecoms giant which describes itself as a private company ‘fully owned by its employees’.

In recent years, its range of smartphones have become commonplace across the UK, and it is now established as one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, alongside Apple and Samsung.

In addition to making mobile devices, the firm also makes telecommunications networks.

Why is the company controversial?

Huawei has come under criticism over its alleged close ties to the Chinese state.

The country has a history of state censorship and surveillance, such as the ‘Great Firewall of China’ which blocks multiple internet services in the country and, under Chinese law, firms can be compelled to ‘support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work’.

As a result, critics of Huawei have expressed concerns that Beijing could require the firm to install technological ‘back doors’ to enable it to spy on or disrupt Britain’s communications network.

The US is a strong critic of the firm and last year President Donald Trump added Huawei to the Entity List, effectively blacklisting the firm and preventing it from trading with US companies.

Consequently, Huawei has not been able to use core Google apps on its newest smartphones as part of the Android operating system it uses to power the devices.

However the firm has always denied any suggestions of close links with the Chinese state or that it has ever been asked by Chinese authorities to help spy on others, insisting it fully abides by the laws of each country in which it operates.

How is it linked to 5G?

As well as its smartphone business, Huawei is one of the market leaders in telecoms infrastructure equipment, including that for 5G.

The next generation of mobile data communications, 5G has been rolling out to areas of the UK for the last year.

The new networks allow for larger amounts of data to be transferred at once, which could one day power new technologies such as autonomous car networks and remote surgery where specialist surgeons cannot reach a hospital physically.

As a result, a great deal of debate among telecoms firms and governments is ongoing over how to secure such a data-sensitive network, which has led to the scrutiny of Huawei.

Earlier today, former BP chief Lord Browne stepped down as the chairman of Huawei UK six months before his tenure was due to end.

‘The UK has had a very long relationship with China and I hope it’s not one that they simply throw away,’ he told Reuters last week.

A Huawei spokesperson said: ‘When Lord Browne became Chairman of Huawei UK’s board of directors in 2015, he brought with him a wealth of experience which has proved vital in ensuring Huawei’s commitment to corporate governance in the UK. He has been central to our commitment here dating back 20 years, and we thank him for his valuable contribution.’

Engineers from EE the wireless network provider, owned by BT Group Plc, check on 5G masts and Huawei Technologies Co. 5G equipment undergoing trials in the City of London, U.K., on Friday, March 15, 2019. Europe would fall behind the U.S. and China in the race to install the next generation of wireless networks if governments ban Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies Co. over security fears, according to an internal assessment by Deutsche Telekom AG. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Engineers from EE the wireless network provider, owned by BT Group Plc, check on 5G masts and Huawei Technologies Co. 5G equipment undergoing trials in the City of London, U.K., on Friday, March 15, 2019 (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Earlier this month, executives from Vodafone and BT told the Science and Technology Select Committee they would need at least five years to completely remove the Chinese firm’s equipment without causing disruption which could cause signal blackouts for several days.

‘Should the guidance become stricter it will have an effect, it will delay the rollout of our 5G, it will have cost implications and focus our investment in the removal of the existing equipment,’ Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK’s head of networks said.

According to Huawei, it employs about 1,600 people in the UK says it is one of the largest investments in Britain from China.

It doesn’t have publicly traded shares and it doesn’t provide any kind of regional breakdown of its revenue. However, it said that despite the US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic it achieved a 13% rise in sales for the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, totalling 454 billion yuan or £51.3 billion.

Huawei is also expecting similar decisions to be made by Germany later this year.

Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer and daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is currently under house arrest in Canada, in an extradition trial that could result in her being sent to the US to face charges that include bank fraud and a violation of trade sanctions.



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