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Transportation

Ford Plans a Fleet of Fully Autonomous Cars Operating in a Ride-Hail Service By 2021 (recode.net) 101

Ford will mass-produce autonomous vehicles without steering wheels by 2021, Ford chief executive Mark Fields said today at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California. Recode reports:Fields announced that the company is working toward launching a fleet of commercial, level 4 (one level below a completely autonomous system, in which drivers don't have to be engaged) vehicles in a ride-hail service by 2021. The details of that ride-hail service -- such as which company Ford will partner with to operate it -- still haven't been determined. As part of that effort, Ford is investing in Velodyne, a self-driving tech company, and is working with three other startups. Ford has acquired Israel-based computer vision and machine learning company SAIPS, struck up an exclusive licensing agreement with machine vision company Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC and, as previously announced, invested in 3-D mapping startup Civil Maps.

Comment Nokia was going downhill well before that (Score 3, Insightful) 87

I've friends that worked for Nokia and from what I've heard they were in a death spiral well before Microsoft bought them out. Nasty internal politics, software development drama, no real plan for the smartphone revolution, etc.

I loved Nokia phones back in the day, but I'm not sure what they would bring to the table now. They can compete with all of the "Me-too!" Android vendors in East Asia, try to push out a new OS (good luck), or keep beating the Windows Mobile dead horse. Personally, I would *like* to see another mobile OS have some success, but that's a mind-blowingly difficult and expensive pursuit right now.

Books

Nicholas Carr Says Tech 'Utopia Is Creepy' (cio.com) 213

itwbennett writes: It probably won't come as a big surprise that Mr. 'IT Doesn't Matter' isn't a big fan of Silicon Valley's vision for the future, a future defined by autonomous cars and the inevitable rise of robots. In his new book, 'Utopia is Creepy: And Other Provocations,' Carr takes aim at the irrational exuberance of Silicon Valley, where tech is the answer to every problem. One of the exuberances that Carr takes particular exception to is the notion that social media is a better, freer form of media than 'old' media, which maybe makes sense coming from a former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, but he does have a point. "The old gatekeepers, to the extent they were gatekeepers, have been replaced by companies like Facebook and Google and companies that really now have become the new media companies and are very much controlling the flow of information," Carr told CIO.com's Clint Boulton.

Comment Re:Overkill for the vast majority of viewers (Score 4, Interesting) 154

We got a lot of this when 4K came out, but we were ready to upgrade our television (something we don't do very often), so I said screw it and went with 4K (65" at about 3 meters / 10'). It looks great with upscaling, but when I switched our streaming to true 4K with a Roku4 my wife said "Wow - this looks awesome! Did you change anything?" To me, that's the real test - when somebody with average visual acuity who doesn't give a crap about pixel count and whatnot notices that it looks a lot better.

I don't think 8K will be worthwhile until 120" screens are the norm, and even then cinematography will have to change to accommodate the changed field of vision. Even at 4K I notice that I'm annoyed when my eyes can't wander to the corner of the screen because the depth of focus blurs everything out there.

Comment Hillary's cat's paw comes home to mommy (Score -1, Troll) 644

There were two points to Sander's campaign:

1) He gets to keep the left-over money, and since he'll likely be retiring soon he won't even have to hide it in his wife's name like he does the rest of his assets.

2) He energized the progressive base, and then flipped them into supporting a warmongering, corporatist, Wall Street shill.

In other words, he joined the Democratic Party.

Comment Mislead in the headline much? (Score 4, Insightful) 150

There is *speculation* that takedowns are coming from Apple, but no actual evidence and generally speaking DMCA notices have names (at least of a law firm) attached. As news sources go, Reddit forums rank right up there with the National Enquirer. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to bash Apple: political censorship, slumping software quality, etc. No need to invent fake ones.

Facebook

Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Others Agree To Remove Hate Speech Across the EU 405

Tech giants in conjunction with European Union are taking a stand to fight hate speech. Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Facebook have launched "code of conduct" aimed at fighting racism and xenophobia across Europe. The companies aren't legally obligated, but have agreed to "public commitments" to review the "majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech" in less than 24 hours, and make it easier for law enforcement in Europe to notify the firms directly. From a TechCrunch report: Tech companies will have to find the right balance between freedom of expression and hateful content. Based on the code of conduct, they'll have dedicated teams reviewing flagged items (poor employees who will have to review awful things every day). Tech companies will also educate their users and tell them that it's forbidden to post hateful content. They'll cooperate with each other to share best practice. They'll encourage flagging of hateful content and they'll promote counter speech against hateful rhetoric. It's good to see that this issue got escalated and the European Commission was able to come up with a code of conduct quite quickly. Instead of making tech companies deal with every single European country, they can agree on rules for the EU as a whole."The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech," Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, wrote in the European Commission press release. "Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racist use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected."

Comment Otherwise CNN would go out of business (Score 1) 343

Just Another Government Subsidy. Shouldn't the airlines have to pay for the cost of finding the wreckage of their planes? I think that would have some interesting effects on aircraft maintenance. Or - heh - you could choose the cheaper airline that takes the "shit happens" approach.

Security

Beware Of Keystroke Loggers Disguised As USB Phone Chargers, FBI Warns (arstechnica.com) 49

An anonymous reader cites an article on Ars Technica: FBI officials are warning private industry partners to be on the lookout for highly stealthy keystroke loggers that surreptitiously sniff passwords and other input typed into wireless keyboards. The FBI's Private Industry Notification (PDF) comes more than 15 months after whitehat hacker Samy Kamkar released a KeySweeper, a proof-of-concept attack platform that covertly logged and decrypted keystrokes from many Microsoft-branded wireless keyboards and transmitted the data over cellular networks. To lower the chances that the sniffing device might be discovered by a target, Kamkar designed it to look almost identical to USB phone chargers that are nearly ubiquitous in homes and offices."If placed strategically in an office or other location where individuals might use wireless devices, a malicious cyber actor could potentially harvest personally identifiable information, intellectual property, trade secrets, passwords, or other sensitive information," FBI officials wrote in last month's advisory. "Since the data is intercepted prior to reaching the CPU, security managers may not have insight into how sensitive information is being stolen."

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