Wireless Technologies

News Roundup: FB Workplace, Graphene worms, and hazardous Teslas

A roundup of the week’s news including why kettles don’t need Wi-Fi. Like, seriously, they don’t.

Safety announcement

Public safety announcement time. If you own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (and assuming it hasn’t already exploded), turn it off immediately, and send it back to the Korean phone giant in a fireproof box.

Shipments of the device have stopped and the company has lost billions of value from its shares (plus the estimated $5 billion profit loss). Depending on which expert you ask, Apple, Google, LG, and all the Chinese handset makers will benefit from the fallout.


This week saw Facebook finally launch its Slack-killing enterprise social network upon the world. Previously known as FB at Work, Workplace looks a lot like Facebook, and is cheaper than Slack’s premium offering.

Workplace has been in the works for almost two years, and makes sense since the rest of the online world is quickly reaching saturation point on the consumer side, and it’s a product most people will be familiar with. Hard to say at this point whether even a company of FB’s size and scale can dominate what is already an over-crowded market.

Facebook also spun out it’s events section into a dedicated app, because events is also an underserved market, and people definitely hated having everything in a single FB app.

Graphene worms

Graphene (aka single layers of carbon atoms) and Carbon Nanotubes (Graphene rolled up in a cylinder shape) have all kinds of great potential uses within the technology industry, but are an expensive pain to make.

A team of scientists from Tsinghua University in Beijing have found a novel way to produce a new version of the super material: feed it to silkworms. By feeding graphene to silk worms, the silk they produce is far stronger and also conducts electricity.

Elsewhere, researchers have found a way to use terahertz radiation – often used in 3D imaging and airport scanners – that could potentially speed computer memory a thousand-fold.


YouTube has acquired FameBit, and Infineon has Dutch LiDAR maker Innoluce BV.


-          Despite recent headlines about providing data for the NSA, Yahoo! have the gall to patent a billboard that tracks biometric data.

-          Wearable tech is banned within the UK cabinet office over fears of spying.

-          People don’t trust UK PM Theresa May or Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with their private data, according to a new poll.

-          The US government officially blames Russia for the DNC hack.

-          The CIA can predict civil unrest well ahead of time.

-          Various social networks have cut off access to a social surveillance platform used by intelligence agencies.

-          Open Source code is now covered by Freedom of Information requests in France.

Teslas of Hazzard

The German Transport Ministry thinks Tesla’s AutoPilot feature is dangerous. The Ministry called the feature a “considerable traffic hazard” in an internal note, according to Der Spiegal.

According the paper, the car’s breaking, rear sensors, and lack of proper notice during unexpected events represent a danger.

Kettles don’t need Wi-Fi

This week I wrote about how smart home adoption has stalled due to high costs and a misunderstanding about the benefits. As if to emphasise the point, one man’s travails with a Wi-Fi kettle went viral this week.


The poor sod was trying to run a script to enable his new kettle to boil via voice activation through integration with his Amazon Echo. He spent 11 hours trying to make it work. 11 hours. You know how many times you could have gone to the shops, bought a normal kettle, bought tea bags and milked a cow in 11 hours? A lot.

For the sadistic ones among you, there’s a Medium post detailing all the technical of how to recreate the experiment.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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