Quick Bytes

One in a million
The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID), says Apple in its Face ID Security white paper. Face ID allows only five unsuccessful match attempts before a passcode is required to obtain access to your iPhone. The probability of a false match is different for twins and siblings that look like you as well as among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.

Smiling faces
Are you surprised? Younger millennials (ages 18-24) take more photos than any other age group in the United States – averaging 439 photos every six months, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association. The study, “Focus on Digital Imaging Industry Drivers: Apps, Outputs and Storage,” also shows that among the 81 percent of Americans who take photos and use apps, more than half (53 percent) have used a dedicated digital imaging (DI) tool or service app, such photo editing, management, output or kiosk services.

The smart home
The smart home is likely to become a major generator of connected and IoT (Internet of Things) device deployment growth during the 2020s, according to research by Strategy Analytics. Smart home devices will overtake smartphones by 2021 as a share of deployed connect IoT devices.

One word for you: Graphite
Electric vehicle manufacturers and battery makers have long been searching for the “Holy Grail” technology that could lower the cost of batteries while also extending their range, according to SafeHaven.com. One material that could actually lead to cheap, long-range and fast-charging electric vehicles is graphite. Within graphite is graphene, the world’s thinnest material. Graphene is durable and tough – 200 times stronger than steel – yet ultra-light weight. It is also transparent, and conducts electricity substantially better than copper, says SafeHaven.com. Electrons can travel using graphene with virtually zero resistance and no heat loss, nearly qualifying it as a superconductor. These virtues have singled it out as one of candidates most likely to take lithium-ion batteries to the next level, potentially leading to a breakthrough for electric vehicles. The only problem is that production of graphene is still low. Graphite itself is still cheap, but the trick is rendering out the graphene. Scientists were only able to separate out graphene in 2004, and researchers and entrepreneurs are still looking for ways to mass-produce the material at low cost.

The Facebook of its time
AOL Instant Messenger was scheduled to end its two-decade run on Dec. 15. From a Wall Street Journal “eulogy”: “The late 1990s was a period of technological growing pains. Cellphones weren’t smart. People dialed up the Internet through beige boxes with squawking 56K modems. The only glimmer of an always-on future came from shiny ‘America Online’ discs that arrived in the mail. It wasn’t cool, but it was the Facebook of its time. Family and friends signed up, mostly because loved ones were there. One AOL feature did induce envy: a window where you could type anything you wanted, and your ‘buddy’ could reply immediately. This was instant messaging.”

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