Hackaday links: October 16, 2022

Be careful where you take your iPhone 14 or Apple Watch, because under the right circumstances, you could end up beating yourself up. At least that’s what happened to some owners when their device’s fault-detection feature interpreted the roller coaster ride as a car accident, and called emergency services. Obviously, fault detection is set up to make the call automatically when the accelerometers detect the high acceleration forces that typically occur in a collision, but can also occur while on board—at least the good thing. In at least one case, the fake call to 911 was accompanied by the screams of fellow ship passengers, as the service appears to open the device’s microphone when an accident is detected.

Fun followed, of course, as long as you weren’t someone with a legitimate emergency who experienced a delayed response because of this. We’ve sworn that having a 911 auto dial system is completely illegal just for this reason, but it seems like it isn’t. We think there are two lessons here: one, that Apple engineers should have thought about it well, and may need to get out into the real world once in a while; And second, that people will be happy to dump their hard-earned money for the privilege of going on a fun ride that is indistinguishable from a car accident. Our Lowen’s Day took a closer look at the situation earlier this week if you wanted to read more about it.

Reports of the death of film photography seem somewhat exaggerated, with old photography company Kodak declaring it couldn’t hire enough people to keep up with the demand for films. Kodak reports record consumer demand for its products, especially for 35mm film, with consumers wanting to take advantage of older SLR cameras. It’s probably a loving fad, but if it is, it’s a good idea for a Rochester, New York company, which went from a single five-day-a-week shift a few years ago to three around the clock. And they’re hiring more people for all of their shoots, which is good news for the region. Things weren’t great in Rochester when the Hackaday writer lived there in the early ’90s, so it’s good to see a resurgence. It might be time to dust off your old equipment and support your hometown again.

The solar system is full of strange and wondrous sights, especially through a telescope. But almost every planet you can see even with an average power telescope gets a little boring after a while. So what does an amateur astronomer who is tired of staring at rocks and bags of gas do? Why, point this telescope at the sun, of course, and in the process, take some beautiful pictures of our star. David “Deddy” Dayag is a self-taught astronomer who has been breaking the conventional wisdom that solar imaging is out of the reach of amateurs. His time-lapse images are breathtaking, showing the exact structure of convective cells on the surface of the Sun, as well as sunspots, flares and filaments. They’re great stuff, especially because they’re made with fairly modest equipment.

Finally, there’s great news for people who want to pay an optional surcharge to California, as digital license plates are now legal for all vehicles. We’ve covered E-ink license plates before, when the project was still in its beta phase, and what seemed to be a solution in the search for a problem still looks the same to us now that all Californians can participate. Renting plates for $20 a month seems like a steep price to pay for the novelty of being able to show custom, DMV-approved logos and messages as well as your vehicle’s registration number. And we wonder what law enforcement thinks about losing the retro-reflective background that makes it easy to read old license plates at night. We assume this is all academic at this point, and at least we can now look forward to a large influx of large format e-ink screens hitting the secondary market.

#Hackaday #links #October

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