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Submission + - Tesla poaches Apple's Swift developer to oversee Autopilot development (networkworld.com)

anderzole writes: Earlier today, Chris Lattner revealed that he was leaving Apple in pursuit of a new opportunity. While not a household name, Lattner is a highly regarded engineer who not only spearheaded the development of Swift, but also oversaw Apple's Xcode team.

"This decision wasn't made lightly," Lattner said earlier today, "and I want you all to know that I’m still completely committed to Swift. I plan to remain an active member of the Swift Core Team, as well as a contributor to the swift-evolution mailing list."

A short while ago, we've finally ascertained where Lattner is going to end up. Interestingly enough, he'll be taking his talents to Tesla.

Submission + - Once mocked, Facebook's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram was genius (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: In 2012, Facebook shocked the tech world when it acquired Instagram for $1 billion. At the time, the acquisition raised quite a few eyebrows, along with many more questions than answers. Not only did people wonder how Instagram would fit into Facebook’s existing business, many also questioned if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had lost his mind by outlaying $1 billion for a company that, at the time, had no revenue.

Nearly five years later, Facebook’s Instagram acquisition not only looks like a bargain, but a full-fledged stroke of genius. Today Instagram still shows no signs of slowing down, Instagram’s active user base jumped from 500 to 600 million in just the last 6 months alone, marking its “fastest growth rate ever.” Incredibly, Facebook saw the longterm potential and impact of Instagram and managed to swoop in and acquire the company long before its user base began to accelerate wildly.

From an economic standpoint, Instagram is already paying dividends via highly targeted and lucrative ads. During the first quarter of 2016, for example, it was estimated that revenue from Instagram checked in at $572.5 million and accounted for 10% of Facebook’s overall revenue. In fact, analysts at Credit Suisse believe that Instagram will have delivered $3.2 billion in revenue for Facebook by the time 2016 comes to a close. That’s not bad for a $1 billion acquisition that Facebook is still in the relatively early stages of monetizing.

Submission + - Apple engineer reveals Apple tested Flash on the iPhone back in 2008 (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: It all seems like ancient history now, but it really wasn’t all that long ago that Apple and Adobe were engaged a very public and extremely bitter dispute stemming from Apple’s refusal to support Flash on the iPhone. While Adobe was quick to call out Apple out for engaging in anti-competitive behavior, Apple’s party line was that Flash was a security nightmare riddled with a number of performance and security issues.

Apple and Adobe’s battle over flash reached its zenith in 2010 when Steve Jobs penned a widely circulated screed detailing why Apple’s mobile products, which at the time included the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, did not support Flash. Titled “Thoughts on Flash” and weighing in at nearly 1700 words, Jobs thoroughly explained Apple’s rationale for completely ignoring, what was then, a very relevant piece of software technology.

That said, a series of tweets from Bob Burrough, a former software development manager at Apple, reveals that Apple at one point actually tested Flash on the iPhone as far back as 2008. What’s more, Burrough relays that Jobs’ vehement refusal to support the technology may have had less to do with security considerations and more to do with the fact that Adobe, as a partner, couldn’t be relied upon to address said security issues.

Submission + - Tesla shocks Wall St. with huge earnings surprise and actual profits (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Tesla on Wednesday posted its earnings report for the quarter gone by and investors will have a lot to cheer about. While analysts on Wall St. were expecting Tesla to post a loss, Tesla during its September quarter actually posted a profit, and an impressive profit at that. When the dust settled, Tesla posted a quarterly profit of $22 million and EPS of $0.71. Revenue for the quarter checked in at $2.3 billion.

Illustrating how impressive Tesla’s performance was this past quarter, Wall St. was anticipating Tesla to post a loss amid $1.9 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Submission + - The Internet of Things Is Taking Over Cities (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Last week's DDoS attack drew the world's attention to the Internet of Things, and the fact that if we're not careful, smart devices can be used for harm rather than for good. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford underscores the importance of deploying IoT with the public's benefit in mind, and spells out the questions that local governments should be asking themselves as they weigh the pros and cons of smart cities.

Submission + - The Simpsons writer Kevin Curran dies aged 59 (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Television comedy writer Kevin Curran, who worked on The Simpsons for 17 years, has died at the age of 59. A spokesman for Fox, which produces the animated series, confirmed he died on Tuesday.

Curran started working on The Simpsons in 1998 as a consulting producer and stayed with the show until 2015. He won six Emmys across his career as part of the writing teams for The Simpsons as well as Late Night with David Letterman.

The Simpsons team won three Emmys for outstanding animated programme in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Curran also shared three Emmys between 1985 and 1987 for his work on Letterman's comedy chat show.

Submission + - A comprehensive look at all of Donald Trump's positions on technology issues (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Later tonight, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will square off once again when the third and final presidential debate kicks off at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. If the first two debates are any indication, tonight’s event will be long on personal attacks and short on substance.

While the debates thus far have straddled the bizarre line of being both entertaining and embarrassing, the end result is that neither debate has presented either candidate with a real opportunity to address important issues in great detail. One such is the realm of technology. With that said, we figured it was high time to go back and take a look at everything Donald Trump has had to say about issues pertinent to the tech world.

Submission + - PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel donates $1.25 million to Trump campaign (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: With many high-profile Republicans withdrawing their support for Donald Trump in the wake of lewd comments the Presidential candidate made in 2005, the Trump campaign received a large and unexpected campaign donation from a high profile tech titan over the weekend. Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and the man largely responsible for the dramatic downfall of Gawker, recently opened up his checkbook to the tune of a $1.25 million donation to Donald Trump’s campaign.

Submission + - Samsung reportedly suspends Galaxy Note 7 production (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: For all intents and purposes, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was doomed from the start. Working under the assumption that Apple’s iPhone 7 was going to be a boring upgrade, Samsung reportedly rushed development of the Note 7 in an ill-fated effort to steal some of Apple’s thunder.

In reality, Samsung shipped a device to market that was not just faulty, but flat-out dangerous. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an inordinate number of reports involving Galaxy Note 7 devices catching fire and exploding. In the process, we’ve seen Note 7 devices utterly destroy cars and even burn down a house.

Samsung tried to alleviate the problem by issuing a worldwide recall and handing out replacement units. But with a growing number of reports involving replacement Note 7 units exploding, not to mention Samsung caught trying to cover up such stories, the Korean based company was ultimately forced to halt Galaxy Note 7 production completely.

Submission + - Apple sold its billionth iPhone last week (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone back in 2007, the Apple co-founder laid out a rather modest goal for the company’s revolutionary smartphone — to sell 1 million units, a figure which at the time represented approximately 1% of the global smartphone market. Not only did Apple reach that goal with ease, it quickly became apparent that the iPhone itself was a juggernaut, a once-in-a-lifetime product that would forever change the way we interact with technology.

With each passing quarter, iPhone sales continued to skyrocket. Indeed, it wasn’t until the company’s March 2016 quarter that iPhone sales would experience their first year-over-year sales decline. That said, Apple last week reached an impressive new milestone — 1 billion iPhones sold.

Submission + - The hysteria over Tesla's Autopilot has been completely blown out of proportion (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Over the past few weeks, Tesla’s Autopilot software has been unfairly singled out and scrutinized as a piece of technology that Tesla recklessly deployed before being 100% ready for day-to-day use. This hysteria against all things Tesla reached a fever pitch this week when Consumer Reports published a self-righteous piece calling for Tesla to disable Autopilot until they get the technology figured out. And late on Thursday, we learned that even the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation directed a letter to Elon Musk asking him or Tesla representative to answer a few questions.

With all of the commotion, speculation and, at times, wild accusations being thrown in Tesla’s direction, you might be forgiven for assuming that Teslas on Autopilot have been running amok like mindless zombies on The Walking Dead and causing accidents by the hundreds.

It’s time to jump back to reality.

Submission + - UK scientists are trying to grow military drones in a lab with advanced chemistr (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: More often than not, some of the most cutting edge technology comes not from Silicon Valley, but from military companies and various branches of the armed forces. With generous budgets at their disposal, it’s hardly a surprise that grandiose research projects involving items like stealth motorcycles and drones that can both fly and swim are often rooted in military research.

That said, the following research initiative is a bit outlandish even for military standards. Over the past few days, word emerged that two military-backed defense companies based out of Scotland and England are currently working on technology that appears to be a wacky, futuristic and intriguing marriage between advanced chemistry and 3D printing.

Submission + - Original iPhone reviews that got everything completely wrong (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: When the iPhone burst onto the scene in 2007, it was evident that the world of mobile technology would never be the same. While the original iPhone admittedly had its fair share of shortcomings (it lacked 3G, MMS support, copy and paste etc.), its multitouch display and full web browser were immediate game-changers. Without equivocation, the iPhone quickly, if not instantly, became the blueprint upon which all other smartphone manufacturers based their own hardware and software designs.

But as tends to be the case in the tech world, not everyone at the time was able to appreciate the immediate impact that the iPhone was poised to exert over the entire tech industry. Rather predictably, an onslaught of short-sighted and pessimistic reviews tended to hone in on all of the features the iPhone lacked rather than looking at all of the revolutionary new features it introduced into the mainstream. Some reviews, believe it or not, even criticized the iPhone for boasting too many features.

So with the iPhone celebrating its ninth birthday this week, below are a handful of original iPhone reviews and opinion pieces that got it way wrong.

Submission + - New website lets users experience the Amazon Echo first-hand (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: With a rumored 3 million+ units sold, the Amazon Echo has been something of a sleeper hit for the online retail giant. In fact, the surprising success of the Echo has created a whirlwind of competition in the smart-home space: Google recently unveiled Google Home and now there are rumors that Apple is planning to release its own stand-alone Echo competitor.

In an effort to show users what using Echo is like, developer and Echo-enthusiast Sam Machin recently launched a new website at Echosim.io that allows users to take Amazon’s AI software for a test drive. Interested users must first login with an Amazon account and, following that, they can see what all the fuss about Alexa is about.

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"I'm not a god, I was misquoted." -- Lister, Red Dwarf