DJI Palm-Sized Drone—30 Minute Flying Time; Disney+ Will Launch With 6 Pixar Shorts; e-Hallpass Tracks Students’ Personal Data; xHelper Malware on Android Keeps Re-installing ItselfPosted: October 30, 2019
DJI has bowed its lightest and smallest model ever. Engadget.com is reporting that the foldable Mavic Mini weighs only 249 grams, and is so small you don’t even need to get an FAA registration for it. It only has a range of 2.5 miles, but has a better that average flight time…30 minutes. Many drones have 20 minutes or less in the air on a charge. It sports GPS receivers and downward visual sensors that allow for precise hovering and stable flying. It can shoot 2.7k video at 30 fps. Note that the Mini does NOT have obstacle avoidance features of DJI’s bigger drones, or as many pre—programmed Quickshots options. It folds to fit in the palm of your hand and is $399. Preorders are open now, and it ships November 11th.
With all the hoopla about Disney +’s banner ‘The Mandalorian,’ people have wondered what other original material would be coming out in the next couple weeks when the service launches. Disney obviously has a giant back catalogue, but what about new goodies? According to cnet.com, now we know. Disney + will launch November 12th with 6 new Pixar shorts. The shorts all have pretty simple titles: Purl, Smash and Grab, Kitbull, Float, Wind and Loop. They’re part of Disney Pixar SparkShorts, an experimental initiative designed to let Pixar employees tell personal stories.
Schools have started using an app called e-Hallpass, which operates on school Chromebooks, and is used when a student wants to go to the restroom. The Washington Post says this is cool in that the youngster doesn’t have to raise a hand and call as much attention to their tiny bladder or whatever. The teacher approves the break, then logs the student back in. If the student is gone too long, the program calls an administrator to check on them. Well, surprise, surprise! The app allows school administrators to check pass histories and look for patterns. e-Hallpass says it does not collect data, and it is up to the school whether to keep or delete it.
Here’s a little turnabout I found out about a couple weeks ago. Returning to my hometown for a reunion, I took a tour of the remodeled high school. It was led by a classmate who, among other things, had taught computer science until he retired. The school there was using software to track the administrator’s smartphones, to see where they were, so the closest one could be dispatched to take care of problems. An administrator came to my friend and asked him what kind of code he was teaching those kids. Apparently, the students wrote a hack, and could also track the administrators on THEIR phones, enabling them to dodge the school brass and hide out, smoke, or whatever. My friend just laughed. He said he had nothing to do with it…they just had some really smart kids!
Over the last 6 months, malware called xHelper has infected over 45,000 Android devices. Malware is nothing new, but this is…zdnet.com reports that the malware can be removed, but then manages to re-install itself. It gets into your device when you download software from outside the Play Store. The upside? At least so far, the trojan doesn’t carry out any destructive operations….it seems to be limited to intrusive popup ads and notification spam. Symantec says the malware ‘phones home’ to websites and downloads a morphed version of itself, making it extremely hard to permanently delete. Until Google or the antivirus companies come up with a fix, stick with the Play Store! This xHelper could be loaded with ransomware, banking trojans, DDoS bots, or password theft software at some point!