ShinyShiny tech roundup: rise of the ‘Silver Streamers’

Covid has sparked a surge in so-called “silver streamers” switching to on-demand services during lockdown, delivering a blow to struggling terrestrial broadcasters such as the BBC.  The number of consumers aged between 65 to 75 with access to a subscription to a video streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime surged from 36pc in 2020 to 57pc this year, according to figures from Deloitte.  The over 65s have been eager adopters of new gadgets and technology over the last 12 months, driven by increasing need for digital communication to avoid isolation during the pandemic. Telegraph 

A critical vulnerability affecting more than 83 million smart devices, including smart cameras and baby monitors, could allow hackers to listen to and watch live audio and video feeds, it has emerged. The flaw “poses a huge risk” to people’s security and privacy said security company Mandiant, which is coordinating its disclosure with the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). While default passwords have prompted UK security services to warn consumers about criminal activity, the flaw discovered by Mandiant also affects devices which do not use default passwords. Sky News

Don’t expect an easy getaway if one of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robots ever chases you down. The Hyundai-owned firm has shared a video (below) of the humanoid bots successfully completing a parkour routine in an obstacle course for the first time. The pair of Atlas machines leapt gaps, vaulted beams and even coordinated a backflip, all without missing a beat — they might be more graceful than you are. The routine took “months” of development, according to the company, and served as a useful test of the robots’ ability to maintain their balance while switching behaviors and coordinating actions. This isn’t just canned behavior, either. As with other recent tests, Atlas now uses visuals to adapt its movement to the course. Engadget


Thousands of new jobs could be created by investing in low-carbon hydrogen fuel to power vehicles and heat homes, the government says. Ministers have unveiled a strategy for kick-starting a hydrogen industry, which they say could attract billions of pounds in investment. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the fuel was also essential for UK efforts to reach net zero emissions. He said it had the potential to provide a third of UK energy in future. Because of the current higher cost involved in producing hydrogen compared to existing fuels, subsidies have been proposed to overcome the gap. The government has launched a consultation on this plan. BBC 

The Google Pixel 5a has finally been unveiled – months after Google confirmed that it existed, and its headline features include the biggest battery yet in a Pixel phone, and water resistance for the first time in an A-series model. That battery is 4,680mAh, which compared to other non-Pixel phones is an above average but not massive size. The affordable Moto E7i Power for example has a 5,000mAh one, but the Google Pixel 5 has just a 4,080mAh one, and the Pixel 4a 5G only has 3,885mAh of life. So this is certainly an upgrade compared to its predecessors. Tech Radar 

Mastercard is to stop issuing cards with a magnetic strip. By 2033, none of its debit or credit cards will have a strip, with banks in many regions including Europe able to issue the strip-less cards from 2024. The UK moved to chip-and-pin for all card payments in 2006, but in the US, some magnetic strip systems are still in use. Mastercard says chip-and-pin and new biometric cards that use fingerprints, offer greater security. The firm claims to be the first payment network to phase out the technology. BBC 


Chris Price