Month: May 2020

SpaceX’s astronaut launch marks the dawn of the commercial human spaceflight industry – TechCrunch

SpaceX on Saturday launched two NASA astronauts aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the accomplishment is a tremendous one for both the company and the U.S. space agency. At a fundamental level, it means that the U.S. will have continued access to the International Space Station, without having to rely on continuing to buy tickets aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to do so. But it also means the beginning of a new era for the commercial space industry – one in which private companies and individual buying tickets for passenger trips to space is a consistent and active reality.

With this mission, SpaceX will complete the final step required by NASA to human-rate its Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, which means that it can begin operationally transporting people from Earth essentially as soon as this mission concludes (Crew Dragon still has to rendezvous with the space station tomorrow,

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Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime priced a skosh under $40,000 – TechCrunch

When Toyota unveiled the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime in November, the vehicle garnered a lot of attention because it achieved two seemingly conflicting goals. It was Toyota’s most fuel efficient and one of its most powerful vehicles.

Now, it’s getting praise for managing a base price under $40,000. Toyota said Friday that the standard trim of the plug-in vehicle, the RAV4 Prime SE, will start at $39,220,  a price that includes the mandatory $1,120 destination charge.

This plug-in RAV4 will have an all-wheel drive, sport-tuned suspension. When in pure EV mode it has a manufacturer-estimated 42 miles of range — putting it ahead of other plug-in SUVs. Toyota said it has a also has up to a manufacturer-estimated 94 combined miles per gallon equivalent. We’re still waiting on official EPA estimates.

The vehicle has a tuned 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and when combined with the electric motors will deliver

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Public speaking for technical pros: How to deliver a great in-person or virtual presentation

Heidi Waterhouse, developer advocate for LaunchDarkly and a skillful public speaker, shares tips for developers, IT pros and other technical professionals who want to grow their presenting and public speaking skills.

Public speaking can be a challenge especially for technical people who love to get lost in the details…like yours truly. In an episode of Dynamic Developer, I spoke with Heidi Waterhouse, who knows how to give a great presentation whether it’s via video conference, in-person to your team, or at a keynote in front of thousands. She’s a developer advocate for LaunchDarkly as well as a writer and skilled public speaker. And Heidi shared her advice for developers, IT pros and other technical professionals who want to grow their presenting and public speaking skills. The following is an edited transcript of our interview.

Bill Detwiler: Heidi, thanks for joining us.

Heidi Waterhouse: Hey, it’s great to be here,

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Back to work: Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach to planning

There’s no “one size fits all” solution to long-term working arrangements in the post-COVID era.

Image: VasilyevD, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Most companies have transitioned from “crisis response” mode to planning what working arrangements look like in the longer term, with varying extremes ranging from companies like Facebook publicly announcing that remote work will become the standard mode of operation, while others like Tesla are returning to “normal operations” that look much like they did pre-COVID-19.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

The lack of proven “best practices” creates an additional degree of complexity, with companies, workers, and policymakers learning as they go. This uncertain environment might create a desire for a set of very specific rules in an attempt to address this uncertainty; however, that is likely to be the exact wrong approach.

Thou shalt avoid “thou shalt” policies

I’ve been involved

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Social engineering: A cheat sheet for business professionals

People, like computers, can be hacked using a process called social engineering, and there’s a good chance a cybersecurity attack on your organization could start with this technique.

Image: Tero Vesalainen, Getty Images/iStockphoto

We don’t operate like computers–they only do what they’re told, executing tasks based on a set of instructions, without the ability to critically assess the honesty or good faith of the person giving the input. At least, that’s what we think is different about us and machines.

But that isn’t the case at all: We humans, for all our smarts and ability to make critical judgements, are also prone to taking our instructions at face value without considering the honesty of the person asking us to do something. Hackers have learned this and turned it into a process called social engineering.

This human-hacking tactic is nothing new: Con artists have been performing social engineering tricks for

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10 golden rules for RPA success, and RPA and test automation

New Forrester research digs deep into RPA and looks at its key philosophies as well as the similarities and differences of RPA and test automation.

Image: Olivier Le Moal, Getty Images/iStockphoto

More about artificial intelligence

Two recent Forrester reports focus on two key robotic process automation (RPA) issues. The first identifies important RPA considerations, as it examines RPA’s key philosophies, and the second outlines how RPA and test automation are more aligned than commonly assumed, with a specific difference: Test automation technology. 

Lasting automation value

When a discussion evolves about enterprise automation, robotic process automation (RPA) is unquestionably a conversation starter, even though some organizations have struggled with ramping up to stable, scaled automation. 

Chalk up RPA disappointments to the nature of RPA’s inherent ups and downs, and the responsibility of stabilizing is dealt with by application development and delivery professionals (AD&D). It’s easy to get caught up “in the

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