June 16, 2019
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Tesla Model Y orders are now open

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Customers can already place an order for the Tesla Model Y, a mid-sized crossover SUV that won’t go into production until 2020.

Tesla requires a $2,500 deposit to complete the order for the all-electric vehicle, according to information posted on its website. A disclaimer on the order form states that “production is expected to begin late next year.” Under that timeline, deliveries wouldn’t begin until late 2020 or possibly early 2021.

There are other clues on the order page, including that the seven-seat interior won’t be available until 2021. The Model Y will come standard as a five seater.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Model Y on Thursday night at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles. During the presentation, Musk didn’t mention that customers could order the Model Y. That’s a departure from previous events, notably the Model 3 reveal in March 2016, which prompted thousands of people to put down $1,000 deposits.

The Model Y bears a striking resemblance to Model 3, and for good reason. The Model Y shares about 75 percent of the same parts as the Model 3.

The vehicle, which will come in a standard, long range, dual-motor all-wheel and performance variants, is larger than the Model 3, allowing it to accommodate seven people (for those who opt to pay the $3,000 up charge). The order page of the Model Y shows that it comes standard as a 5-seater. To get the 7-seater configuration, customers have to pay an additional $3,000.

The Model Y also sits higher than the Model 3, a distinction that is more obvious once you’re sitting inside. One of the most distinguishing differences is the Model Y has a panoramic roof.

The standard range version will start $39,000 and have 230 mile range. However, Tesla will first produce the performance, dual-motor and long range versions. Customers who want the standard range version of the Model Y will have to wait until at least spring 2021. The performance and dual motor variants will be able to travel 280 miles on a single charge, while the long-range version will, as it sounds, have the longest range at 300 miles.

All of the variants are designed to have the same kind of performance as its smaller sibling. The performance version of the Model Y will be able to travel from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 150 mph.

But that kind of performance comes at a higher price. The performance version will start at $60,000. The dual motor variant will start at $51,000 and the base price of the long-range version will be $47,000.

3D-printed heads let hackers – and cops – unlock your phone

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There’s a lot you can make with a 3D printer: from prosthetics, corneas, and firearms — even an Olympic-standard luge.

You can even 3D print a life-size replica of a human head — and not just for Hollywood. Forbes reporter Thomas Brewster commissioned a 3D printed model of his own head to test the face unlocking systems on a range of phones — four Android models and an iPhone X.

Bad news if you’re an Android user: all four phones unlocked with the 3D printed head.

Gone, it seems, are the days of the trusty passcode, which many still find cumbersome, fiddly, and inconvenient — especially when you unlock your phone dozens of times a day. Phone makers are taking to the more convenient unlock methods. Even if Google’s latest Pixel 3 shunned facial recognition, many Android models — including popular Samsung devices — are relying more on your facial biometrics. In its latest models, Apple effectively killed its fingerprint-reading Touch ID in favor of its newer Face ID.

But that poses a problem for your data if a mere 3D-printed model can trick your phone into giving up your secrets. That makes life much easier for hackers, who have no rulebook to go from. But what about the police or the feds, who do?

It’s no secret that biometrics — your fingerprints and your face — aren’t protected under the Fifth Amendment. That means police can’t compel you to give up your passcode, but they can forcibly depress your fingerprint to unlock your phone, or hold it to your face while you’re looking at it. And the police know it — it happens more often than you might realize.

But there’s also little in the way of stopping police from 3D printing or replicating a set of biometrics to break into a phone.

“Legally, it’s no different from using fingerprints to unlock a device,” said Orin Kerr, professor at USC Gould School of Law, in an email. “The government needs to get the biometric unlocking information somehow,” by either the finger pattern shape or the head shape, he said.

Although a warrant “wouldn’t necessarily be a requirement” to get the biometric data, one would be needed to use the data to unlock a device, he said.

Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project On Government Oversight, said it was doable but isn’t the most practical or cost-effective way for cops to get access to phone data.

“A situation where you couldn’t get the actual person but could use a 3D print model may exist,” he said. “I think the big threat is that a system where anyone — cops or criminals — can get into your phone by holding your face up to it is a system with serious security limits.”

The FBI alone has thousands of devices in its custody — even after admitting the number of encrypted devices is far lower than first reported. With the ubiquitous nature of surveillance, now even more powerful with high-resolution cameras and facial recognition software, it’s easier than ever for police to obtain our biometric data as we go about our everyday lives.

Those cheering on the “death of the password” might want to think again. They’re still the only thing that’s keeping your data safe from the law.

Kiiroo launches an adventure in bi-directional teledildonics

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In the future everyone will be naked for fifteen minutes. It’s with this novel thought in mind that I connect with a model named Nazanin who will walk me through the new world of bi-directional teledildonic cam life.

I was there to test a new device from Kiiroo called the Kiiroo Launch. This novel sex jar connects with a Flashlight – essentially a masturbator – and can send and receive signals from a remote dildo. When I first explored the Kiiroo system three years ago and found it fascinating although, arguably, it was like having sex with a 3D printer. And so I was ready to work with Nazanin.

This is going to be NSFW by the way.

Bi-directional, you say?

In the world of cam-based teledildonics the models usually wear some sort of vibrator connected to a tipping system. When the viewer tips them the model’s vibrator vibrates, adding a frisson of interactivity to what is usually a one-way street. This became the norm for most cam sites and the Lush from Lovense is a popular choice in the current cam world.

What Kiiro has done is add that level of interactivity to its offerings. The Launch, for example, can send sensations to other devices including the OhMiBod, the We-Vibe, and the Kiiroo Pearl. You can either vibrate any of these things with tips or, in some cases, send signals from the Launch to the vibrator which sort of mimic your movements in real time.

Cam site Flirt4Free is the first site to enable this functionality and was also one of the first to enable Kiiroo in general, allowing models to send sensations to viewers using a robotic sex jar.

I told you this would be NSFW.

Sex jar, you say?

The experience, for the most part, was quite pleasant. The Launch is an excellent device – Engadget loved it – and it is far superior to the original Kiiroo Onyx I reviewed a few years ago. The Launch is a massive thing that holds an entirely separate sex toy inside it and it literally looks like a giant black egg sack.

I connected with the model using an app called Feel Connect that uses QR codes to link two phones or devices. In this case I linked to Nazanin’s room directly during a private session. Private sessions on Flirt4Free are paid in credits and you get 1050 credits for $100. Each model sets up their own pricing system – 40 credits per minute, for example – and once you’re in private you can talk, flirt, and show each other your bits.

In this case we were testing a device for science so Nazanin and I began a mating dance involving the swapping of QR codes and the preparation of various robotic attachments. The game proceeded apace with my signals reaching her and hers reaching me and I found myself asking fewer and fewer journalistic questions as the interview continued. She said she liked the feelings I was sending and I enjoyed the feelings she sent. It was, in the end, like a Slack room but naked.

“Up until now, performers have been using ‘read-only’ interactive devices, which react to the wildly popular tip-by-sound functionality,” said Flirt4Free President Greg Clayman .
“With compatible devices, clients can now play with their device, causing the model’s device to react- and the model can also control their device, resulting in the most realistic, mind-blowing experience ever!”

Ultimately I suspect most of us will have something like this in the home. Given the prevalence of masturbation in the human mammal and our lifelong dedication to technology, I can imagine this being just another way for all of us to get off. While it’s not perfect – my battery went dead during the session – nothing really is and I suspect the camaraderie and hearty hail-fellow-well-met nature of video sex will make a few converts over the next few years.

Ultimately tech touches everything. The fact that I’m able to send a message – be it an email or a vibration – around the world is fascinating. And as tech enters our lives more and more completely tools like the Launch will become commonplace. We trade a lot for this evolution of pleasure, to be sure, but we gain much as well. Nazanin said she liked it too, which was nice.

I told you this was going to be NSFW, didn’t I?

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