Technology archive for 2017-01-09

Shooting Suspect's Mental Issues May Explain Little

(2 years ago)
Esteban Santiago, the 26-year-old man held in the fatal shootings last week at Fort Lauderdale's airport, reportedly has a history of mental difficulties and it's tempting to assume they explain the crime

Volkswagen Unveils 'ID Buzz' Electric Microbus Concept

(2 years ago)
New submitter drunkdrone quotes a report from International Business Times: Given the emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen in 2015, we reckon Scooby Doo and the gang would opt for something a little more environmentally-sound were they to be reinvented for the 21st Century. VW's new ID Buzz electric concept car, unveiled at the International Auto Show in Detroit on 8 January, is exactly the sort of thing we can imagine the overbearing talking dog and four meddlesome kids driving around in today. The ID Buzz is the second electric concept vehicle to come from Volkswagen in recent months, following the VW I.D. concept car unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. The ID Buzz is a re-imagining of sorts of the German automaker's classic VW Microbus, with 'Buzz' being a phonetic play on 'bus' and, according to VW, "refers to the silent buzzing of the drive system." The all-electric van boasts a driving range of up to 270 miles, which VW says is comparable to traditional petrol-powered vehicles, and features a "fully-autonomous" mode that allows the driver's seat to swing round 180 degrees for a more social seating arrangement. Additional cutting-edge features include a heads-up display that projects navigational information as augmented reality images, which can appear as directional cues as much as 49 feet ahead of the car. This provides a more visual system that marks directions on the road itself, rather than having to rely on a 2D image as in the case with[..]

FBI Arrests Volkswagen Executive On Charges Related To Dieselgate

(2 years ago)
According to CNET, the FBI has arrested Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt over the weekend on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. relating to the ongoing Dieselgate emissions scandal. From the report: Schmidt headed VW's regulatory compliance office in the U.S. from 2014 to March 2015. The FBI's official Criminal Complaint states that during that time VW employees -- Schmidt included -- knowingly installed secret "defeat device" software in 475,000 diesel cars in the U.S., hiding during emissions testing the fact that those cars emitted up to 40 times the legally allowable pollution levels when on the road. The complaint asserts that by knowingly installing this secret cheat software, Schmidt and VW conspired to defraud the U.S. by impairing and impeding the Environmental Protection Agency and violating the Clean Air Act, leading to the arrest on Saturday. Schmidt is due to appear before a Federal Court in Miami on Monday. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Next-Gen Samsung EV Battery Gets 300+ Miles of Range From 20-Minute Charge

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Samsung's SDI battery subsidiary announced a new battery cell designed for use in electric vehicles that offers improved density to manage a max range of up to 372 miles on a full charge, with a quick charge capacity that will help it regain 310 miles or so of charge on just 20 minutes of charging. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show for the first time, the new battery tech come with a 10 percent decrease in the number of units and weight required vs. current production battery units made by Samsung SDI. Mass production isn't set to begin until 2021, but the tech should arrive in time to supply the first crop of autonomous cars, which are also targeting street dates sometime within that year from a range of manufacturers. A 20-minute charge delivering that kind of range would help considerably with making EVs more practical for more drivers; it's around the time you'd spend at a rest stop using the restroom and grabbing coffee or a snack, after all. By comparison, Tesla's superchargers currently manage to provide around 170 miles of range on a half-hour charge, so Samsung's planned tech could approximately double that. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Plans 'High-Tech Manufacturing' of Data-Center Gear in Arizona

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader shares a Business Insider report: Apple is seeking permission to conduct "high-tech manufacturing" and to build data-center server gear in a Mesa, Arizona, facility, according to a notice published Monday by the US federal government. A notification published in the Federal Register on Monday said Apple was looking for approval from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to produce "finished products" in a special zone that exempts it from customs duty payments. "Apple Inc has repurposed the site as a global data command center that will conduct high-tech manufacturing of finished data center cabinets for other data centers," according to a document filed by Mesa on behalf of Apple in June and made public Monday. [...] The Arizona effort would mark a rare instance of a US tech company manufacturing and assembling a finished product domestically, where labor costs are higher. Apple's effort appears limited to equipment for its internal operations, however, rather than for a mass-market consumer product. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cellphone, Wi-Fi Coverage Goes Live at NYC Subway Stations

(2 years ago)
Cellphone and Wi-Fi coverage is now being provided for commuters at each of New York City's many underground subway stations, one year ahead of schedule

'OLED TVs Will Finally Take Off in 2017'

(2 years ago)
From a feature article on Engadget: After years of taunting consumers with incredible picture quality, but insanely high prices, OLED TVs are finally coming down to Earth. Prices are falling, there will be even more models to choose from and, at least based on what we've seen from CES this year, LCD TVs aren't getting many upgrades. If you've been holding out on a 4K TV upgrade, but haven't had the budget to consider OLED up until now, expect things to change this year. Even before CES began, it was clear the OLED market was beginning to change. Throughout 2016, LG steadily lowered the prices of its lineup -- its cheapest model, the B6, launched at $4,000, but eventually made its way down to $2,000 by October. Come Black Friday, LG also offered another $200 discount to sweeten the pot. A 55-inch 4K OLED for $1,800! It was such a compelling deal I ended up buying one myself. Since then, the B6's price has jumped back up to $2,500, but I wouldn't be surprised to see its price come back down again. So why the big discounts? LG reportedly increased the production of its large OLED panels by 70 percent last year, likely in anticipation of more demand. That could have led to a slight oversupply, which retailers wanted to clear out before this year's sets. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Supreme Court Will Not Examine Tech Industry Legal Shield

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader shares a Reuters report: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court's decision that an online advertising site accused by three young women of facilitating child sex trafficking was protected by a federal law that has shielded website operators from liability for content posted by others. The refusal by the justices to take up the women's appeal in the case involving the advertising website Backpage.com marked a victory for the tech industry, which could have faced far-reaching consequences had the Supreme Court decided to limit the scope of the Communications Decency Act, passed by Congress in 1996 to protect free speech on the internet. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

IBM Is First Company To Get 8,000 US Patents In One Year, Breaking Record

(2 years ago)
Reader Mickeycaskill writes: For the 24th year in a row, IBM received the most patents of any company in the US. But for the first time it got more than 8,000 -- the first firm in any industry to do so. In total, its inventors were granted 8,088 patents in 2016, covering areas as diverse as artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, cloud, health and cyber security.That's equal to more than 22 patents a day generated by its researchers, engineers and designers, with more than a third of the patents relating to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing alone. IBM is betting big on cloud and other services, having spun off its hardware units like servers and PCs to Lenovo. The other nine companies in the top ten list of 2016 US patent recipients consist of: Samsung electronics (with 5,518 patents), Canon (3,665), Qualcomm (2,897), Google (2,835), Intel (2,784), LG Electronics (2,428), Microsoft (2,398), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2,288) and Sony (2,181). Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sources: Amazon's AWS cloud division quietly acquires AI security startup harvest.ai for around $20M (TechCrunch)

(2 years ago)
TechCrunch:Sources: Amazon's AWS cloud division quietly acquires AI security startup harvest.ai for around $20M  —  Natasha Lomas, Ingrid Lunden and Ron Miller  —  Jan 9, 2017, 9:34 amJan 9, 2017, 9:34 am  —  Amazon Web Services appears to be ramping up its security chops.

Microsoft and Qualcomm invest in Israeli cybersecurity firm Team8, bringing its total raised to $92M+, other investors include Cisco, AT&T, and Nokia (Tova Cohen/Reuters)

(2 years ago)
Tova Cohen / Reuters:Microsoft and Qualcomm invest in Israeli cybersecurity firm Team8, bringing its total raised to $92M+, other investors include Cisco, AT&T, and Nokia  —  The venture arms of Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Qualcomm (QCOM.O) have invested in Team8, an Israeli creator of cybersecurity start-ups …

Atlassian Acquires Trello For $425M

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader shares a TechCrunch report: Atlassian today announced that it has acquired project management service Trello for $425 million. The vast majority of the transaction is in cash ($360 million), with the remainder being paid out in restricted shares and options. The acquisition is expected to close before March 31, 2017. This marks Atlassian's 18th acquisition and, as Atlassian president Jay Simons noted, it is also the largest. Just like with many of Atlassian's other acquisitions, the company plans to keep both the Trello service and brand alive and current users shouldn't see any immediate changes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Bitcoin exchange operator pleads guilty in U.S. case tied to JPMorgan hack

(2 years ago)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Florida man pleaded guilty on Monday to charges that he conspired to operate an illegal bitcoin exchange, which prosecutors said was owned by an Israeli who oversaw a massive scheme to hack companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Supreme Court will not examine tech industry legal shield

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court's decision that an online advertising site accused by three young women of facilitating child sex trafficking was protected by a federal law that has shielded website operators from liability for content posted by others.

Big China bitcoin exchange says no government pressure on outflows

(2 years ago)
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The head of a major bitcoin exchange in China says few people there use the cryptocurrency to get around rules on how much money they can take out of the country, and despite a publicized meeting with the central bank last week the exchange, BTCC, hasn't been told explicitly to check capital outflows.

Lithuania bars data center project over fears of Russian spying

(2 years ago)
VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania, at the front line of growing tension between the West and Russia, barred construction of a data center last year over concerns it could be infiltrated by Russian intelligence, a Lithuanian security official said on Monday.

Phil Schiller reflects on iPhone's launch, the debate around opening it up with the App Store, the importance of iPod in reaching non-Apple customers, more (Steven Levy/Backchannel)

(2 years ago)
Steven Levy / Backchannel:Phil Schiller reflects on iPhone's launch, the debate around opening it up with the App Store, the importance of iPod in reaching non-Apple customers, more  —  A reporter there for the creation gets Apple's exclusive take on the “Jesus Phone"'s 10th birthday.  —  Why do a phone?

Alibaba tells Trump about U.S. store plan for China e-shoppers

(2 years ago)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma met U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday and laid out the Chinese e-commerce company's new plan to bring a million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five year, an Alibaba spokesman said.

Alibaba's Jack Ma meets with Trump, talks about US/China relations and having US products sold on the platform, as Alibaba tweets pledge to create 1M US jobs (Bob Bryan/Business Insider)

(2 years ago)
Bob Bryan / Business Insider:Alibaba's Jack Ma meets with Trump, talks about US/China relations and having US products sold on the platform, as Alibaba tweets pledge to create 1M US jobs  —  Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Alibaba Group, is meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower.

Streaming Now Officially the Number One Way We Listen to Music in America

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes: It's official: according to a new year-end report released by Nielsen, over the course of 2016, streaming became the primary mode of music consumption in the U.S. Overall on-demand audio streams surpassed 251 billion in 2016 -- a 76 percent increase that accounts for 38 percent of the entire music consumption market. Plus, "the on-demand audio streaming share [of total music consumption] has now surpassed total digital sales (digital albums + digital track equivalents) for the first time in history." Nielsen's data is in line with others' findings. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lawyer Rewrites Instagram's Privacy Policy So Kids and Parents Can Have a Meaningful Talk About Privacy

(2 years ago)
Kids, of age between 12 and 15, are increasingly joining Facebook's Instagram service, but according to a research, they likely don't even understand what they are signing up for. Jenny Afia, a privacy law expert at Schillings, a UK-based law firm, rewrote Instagram's terms of service in child-friendly language, so that not only the kids but their parents are able to understand what things are at stake. Highlighted are the changes the lawyer has made: Officially you own any original pictures and videos you post, but we are allowed to use them, and we can let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that. [...] We may keep, use and share your personal information with companies connected with Instagram. This information includes your name, email address, school, where you live, pictures, phone number, your likes and dislikes, where you go, who your friends are, how often you use Instagram, and any other personal information we find such as your birthday or who you are chatting with, including in private messages (DMs). [...] We might send you adverts connected to your interests which we are monitoring. You cannot stop us doing this and it will not always be obvious that it is an advert. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

IMDb Ignores New Law Banning It From Publishing Actors' Ages Online, Cites Free Speech Violations

(2 years ago)
Back in September, the state of California passed a new law that banned sites that offer paid subscriptions, and allow people to post resumes, from publishing individuals' ages. It's a law that has the potential to affect many sites, but it is the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) that hit the headlines. From a report: IMDb was told to remove actors' ages from the site by 1 January, 2017, but the site has failed to take any action. A full week into 2017, IMDb has not only chosen to ignore the new law, but has also filed a lawsuit in a bid to stop California from implementing Assembly Bill No. 1687. The reason? IMDb believes that the law is a violation of the First Amendment and it says the state has "chosen instead to chill free speech and to undermine access to factual information of public interest" rather than trying to tackle age-discrimination in a more meaningful way. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russia Demands LinkedIn App Takedown, Apple and Google Comply

(2 years ago)
Russia has forced Apple and Google to remove the LinkedIn mobile app from their Russian application markets, the latest chapter in a months-long campaign against the professional networking site. From a report on Fortune: A recently-passed Russian law requires that any company holding data on Russians house that data within Russia. Russia began blocking LinkedIn's website last November under that law, which some critics argue is an indirect form of censorship. The removal of the LinkedIn app from Apples App Store and Google's Play shows the willingness of major internet gatekeepers to comply with individual nations' data-control laws, on both the web and mobile devices. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

LG Threatens To Put Wi-Fi in Every Appliance it Introduces in 2017

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: During the company's CES press conference today, LG marketing VP David VanderWaal says that "starting this year" all of LG's home appliances will feature "advanced Wi-Fi connectivity." One of the flagship appliances that will make good on this promise is the Smart Instaview Refrigerator, a webOS-powered Internet-connected fridge that among other things supports integration with Amazon's Alexa service. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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