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Unregistered drone owners risk jail time

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An estimated 1.6 million drones were sold in 2015, half of which landed as Christmas gifts, in socks over the fireplace, and under Christmas trees. If you were lucky enough to unwrap one of these high-tech quadcopters, some action may be required to avoid some unplanned jail time.

With drones believed to be the next big thing in tech, the U.S. Federal government through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is making it mandatory for all US citizens and permanent residents over the age of 13 to register their “small unmanned aircrafts.”


Failure to register comes with severe consequences, including civil penalties of up to $27,500 and criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and/or up to three years in prison.  

You have until February 19, 2016 to complete the online registration process to avoid any kind of penalty for the drones you already own. If you are planning on buying a drone in the future you will need to register your new toy before you are allowed to operate it.

Nearly 300,000 US drone owners have registered with the FAA’s online database since the registration process went live on December 21, 2015. But with the deadline looming, and millions of drones sold, the requirement to register all existing drones may just be a lofty goal.

The online process costs $5.00 and is currently only open to hobbyists with drones that weigh more than 250g (0.55lbs) and less than 25kg (55lbs). If you own a nano drone like the OnagoFly which we reviewed during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, you’re exempt from the process altogether.

Commercial users and owners of unmanned aircrafts that are on the heavy side (above 25 kg or 55 lbs.) are still bound to a paper registration process. Although the FAA promised to change this to an online registration as well by March 21, 2016.

Once registered each owner receives a number and a certificate. The number then has to be noted on every unmanned aircraft you plan to operate. There isn’t an actual license plate or sticker. Instead, we recommend using a waterproof pen to write the number directly on your drone to ensure your registration number will be visible even after a flight through the rain.

Good news is that registration process is based on individual users and doesn’t have to be repeated for each drone you plan on buying.

The FAA says that the registration number will help them to quickly identify drone operators in case of accidents and will provide a way to inform you about safety requirements and future regulations. 

[irp posts=”7560" name=”GoPro recalls Karma drone because of ‘performance issues'”]

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Redmi 7A offers a solid budget phone experience

Continuing the legacy of great value

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When we first reviewed the Redmi 5A, we dubbed it the best smartphone you could buy below US$ 100. But then the Redmi 6A happened, and it wasn’t nearly as impressive. Fast forward to the Redmi 7A, which looks to bring Xiaomi’s entry-level A-series back to its roots.

Xiaomi once again placed a capable Snapdragon chipset in its lowest-end Redmi model. This time, it’s the Snapdragon 439. With the 4000mAh battery, this phone is built to last long on a single charge.


The memory and storage options of 2GB+16GB and 3GB+32GB aren’t as impressive, especially against today’s standards, but as the previous two generations had proven. they’re sufficient for basic apps and tasks.

On the back is a single 13-megapixel camera while the front houses a standard 5-megapixel shooter. As for the display, it’s a 5.45-inch 720p LCD with no notch or hole in it. Once again, there’s no fingerprint scanner to be found.

Indeed, this is as basic as it gets for a smartphone, but like the Redmi 5A and 6A, the Redmi 7A is suitable for first-time smartphone users and those who needs an inexpensive secondary phone.

While no official pricing has been announced yet, it’s expected to retail for no more than US$ 100 like its predecessors. We’ll learn more during the Redmi K20 launch happening on May 28.

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Enterprise

Huawei’s phones can’t use microSD cards anymore

Another casualty of the ban

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Everyone knows what happened to Huawei. As the week winds down, the Trump ban is dismantling the Chinese company piece by piece. Most notably, Google has stopped its business dealings with Huawei. Soon after, hardware company ARM ceased support for future Huawei chips. Huawei has lost considerable support on both hardware and software sides.

Now, the company has lost another major backer. Reported by Nikkei Asian Review, the SD Association has revoked Huawei’s membership status. As the name suggests, the trade group dictates the SD and microSD standards of the industry. The Chinese company cannot use the standard for future devices anymore. Fortunately, Huawei can still use the memory cards for existing phones.


However, the latest bridge-burning has drastically changed the company’s future. Given everything, Huawei’s future does not include Google, ARM, and microSD extensions, among others. All three components are major parts of today’s phones.

Fortunately, the loss of microSD support isn’t a deadly deal. Huawei can still use other standards for memory card extension. The company also has its own proprietary standard called the Nano Memory Card. Of course, proprietary hardware is almost always a turn-off. Despite cushioning the SD Association loss, the Nano Memory Card isn’t as appealing as the universally available microSD card.

In other news, Huawei has also “temporarily” lost access to the Wi-Fi Alliance. Much like the SD Association, the Wi-Fi Alliance dictates the connectivity standards of devices. Thankfully, Huawei can still use Wi-Fi in its devices. However, the company cannot participate in any discussions to shape Wi-Fi’s future.

Likewise, Huawei has voluntarily withdrawn from JEDEC, a trade group that defines semiconductor standards. As with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the company cannot contribute to any future discussions.

Fortunately, both restrictions don’t impact the company’s future as much. However, Huawei’s future is slowly moving away from industry standards. If the company hopes to survive, Huawei must develop its own proprietary hardware or find replacements elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

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Enterprise

Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

States the Philippines’ robust cybersecurity measures

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Throughout the past few days, the Huawei debacle has devastated companies and consumers across the globe. Everyone is falling for the fear. Huawei’s long-standing suppliers have cut ties with the company. Huawei’s consumers are getting rid of their favored headsets. The wave has swept the whole world.

Naturally, the Philippines isn’t immune. Recently, smartphone retailers and resellers have started refusing Huawei devices from their stores. Local Huawei users can’t easily sell their devices to the second-hand market anymore.


However, an important question still stands. How much will the Huawei ban affect the Philippines?

Of course, the ban originates from Trump’s trade war against China. Among other reasons, the American government cites the company’s inherent cybersecurity risks as the prime motivator. Supposedly, Huawei’s telecommunications hardware can transmit valuable data to the Chinese government. Given the Philippines’ proximity to China, are we also at risk?

According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Huawei’s ban “will have a little impact in the Philippine telecommunications industry.” Shared through a Facebook post, the DICT assures users of the country’s robust cybersecurity measures. As of now, the department has not reported any cybersecurity breaches coming from Huawei equipment.

Likewise, shortly after the news broke, local telcos confirmed continued support for Huawei’s devices. According to the DICT, “they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future proof.” The department is also imposing strict rules on local telcos regarding network monitoring. The statement also quickly adds the imposition of the same rules on a potential third telco.

Is the DICT’s statement believable? For now, Huawei’s impact is still marginal at best. Companies and consumers are going on the perceived risk of the future. Right now, Huawei has not announced drastic changes to its products yet. Existing Huawei products still support Google.

Of course, cybersecurity is another issue. The risk will always exist when foreign companies control the telecommunications equipment of another country. At the very least, the DICT isn’t treating the whole debacle as a non-issue. Hopefully, the department’s promises are an optimistic sign for the country’s telecommunications industry.

SEE ALSO: Huawei granted 90-day extension before total ban

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