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U.S. Transportation Dept To Release Revised Self-driving Guidelines

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The US government plans to unveil revised self-driving car guidelines this summer as the government sets out to rewrite regulations that pose legal barriers to robot vehicles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.

Chao told a Detroit auto show forum that the revised voluntary guidelines would address not only self-driving automobiles but “barriers to the safe integration of autonomous technology for motor carriers, transit, trucks, infrastructure and other modes.”

Chao said in a Reuters interview the department was preparing for autonomous technology coming rapidly to all transportation modes. “The technology is there, the question is how do we regulate it, how do we continue to promote innovation but also safeguard safety.” Chao said.

General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and many other companies are aggressively pursuing self-driving car technologies and want Congress and regulators to remove barriers to the vehicles.

Bills in Congress to speed the introduction of self-driving cars do not include commercial trucks. In September, Chao announced the first set of revisions to the guidelines that were unveiled by the Obama administration and now plans a revised version by summer.

 Chao said her goal was to eliminate “unnecessary obstacles to the development and integration of new technology. Our approach will be tech-neutral and flexible — not top-down, or command and control.” She added the government would “not be in the business of picking winners or losers, or favoring one form of technology over another.”

In October, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, said it was looking for input on how to remove regulatory roadblocks to self-driving cars.

NHTSA said in a report that it wanted to find any “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to self-driving cars “particularly those that are not equipped with controls for a human driver.”

The agency also wants comments on what research it needs to conduct before deciding whether to eliminate or rewrite regulations. But it could take the agency years to complete the research and finalize rule changes.

Automakers must meet nearly 75 auto safety standards, many written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of the vehicle. The agency said in 2016 that current regulations posed “significant” regulatory hurdles to vehicles without human controls.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Department published notices requesting comments to identify barriers to innovation including one from NHTSA, two from the Federal Transit Administration to address autonomous bus technology and barriers and one from the Federal Highway Administration to address autonomous infrastructure technology. Chao said more were planned.

Last week, GM filed a petition with NHTSA requesting an exemption to have a small number of autonomous vehicles operate in a ride-share program without steering wheels or human drivers.

 Chao said the “department will review this petition, and give it responsible and careful consideration.”

Is The iPhone X The Best Smartphone

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Realizing that few people were buying the iPhone X despite being told it was wonderful, the Tame Apple Press decided to carry out an investigation to discover why. 

A CNET reporter visited four carrier stores to ask their salesmen if they’d recommend an iPhone X. But after visiting stores for Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, “I couldn’t even find a salesperson to tell me it was the best iPhone I could buy,” he whined.

Realizing that no sane customer loving sales person would recommend an Apple product he thought he would go to an Apple store instead. There, at least a Genius recommending the most expensive product on the list could reassure him.

Unfortunately not even in Apple land could he find anyone dumb or brainwashed enough to recommend the iPhone X.

“Well, it depends on what you like… The biggest problem I have with it is using Face ID for Apple Pay. You really have to put the phone at a certain angle or it doesn’t work.”

The reporter was outraged at the genius’s sales pitch. “He started with a problem. I was already suspicious. I was in something of a hurry, but I asked him: “So are you selling a lot more of these than other phones?”

The sales genius suddenly sounded like a politician, moaned the hack. “All our phones sell well,” he said. Which sounded not entirely reassuring. Indeed, it sounded like a “no.”

Another Apple store “Genius” (who was testing his iPhone 6), CNET’s reporter was told that “The X and the 8 are the same phone… Inside, I mean. With the X, you’re just paying the extra money for the design.”

The hack noted that the salesman’s $999 iPhone X was wrapped in an ugly pink case, because after four weeks he’d already cracked it. And a third Apple salesman — who touted the glories of an OLED screen — also kept his iPhone X in a case at all times “It’s glass,” he explained. “You’ll definitely need a case.”

This means that you can’t see the lovely phone and show it to your friends, so they can see how beautiful it is, moaned the hack.

“Get a see-through case,” the Apple staff member advised.

Sales of the iPhone X are proving disappointing and it looks like Apple’s get punters to pay more for less strategy is finally not working.

Courtesy-Fud

Can Samsung Sell Over 300 Million Smartphones In 2018

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

According to a fresh report, Samsung aims to sell a total of 320 million smartphones in 2018.

The South Korean The Investor, spotted by GSMArena.com, reported that Samsung plans to retain its lead in the smartphone market without increasing its targets from last year.

In addition to the high 320 million target for standard smartphones, the company also wants to flog 40 million feature phones, 20 million tablet units, and five million wearables.

The goal is similar to its last yearly target,  and the company reckons that it should be enough to keep the lead in the smartphone market, ahead of Apple, which sold around 200 million devices in 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

Chinese AI Chipmakers Joining Forces

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

China’s major AI chipmakers, including HiSilicon, Cambricon Technologies, Horizon Robotics and DeePhi Tech,have signed up under the glorious TSMC umbrella

According to Digitimes they are expected to make a killing in 2018 from their launch of various AI (artificial intelligence) chipsets, mostly ASICs and NPU (neural processing unit) chips, for a variety of applications in the second half of 2017.

TSMC will make the chips and its AI chip foundry services are expected to grow exponentially in 2018 along with volume shipments of the AI chips by the China makers, according to industry sources.

Huawei’s HiSilicon chip design arm worked out the Kirin 970 as the new flagship SoCwith built-in AI computing capabilities and it was adopted in Huawei’s Mate 10 and M10 Pro smartphone models launched in mid-October 2017. Official production of the Kirin 970 chips kicked off in mid-2017 using TSMC’s 10nm FinFET process at a monthly capacity of 4,000 pieces of 12-inch wafers, placing Huawei among TSMC’s top-5 customers.

Huawei is working on sprucing up AI capabilities on smartphones and wants to capture a 40 percent share of the China smartphone market. Huawei requires stable and sufficient supply of AI chips and even has to seek second supply sources other than TSMC, the sources said.

Cambricon Technologies released three new AI processor IPs in November 2017: the Cambricon-1H8 for lower consumption computer vision application, the higher-end Cambricon-1H16 for more general-purpose applications, and the Cambricon-1M autonomous driving applications.

While licensing AI processor IPs to end device vendors, Cambricon is selling chips to those in the cloud market. The company has newly debuted MLU100 AI chips to support inference application by datacenters and small- to medium-size servers, and MLU200 chips to support training applications at AI R&D centers of enterprises. These two AI chips will be manufactured using TSMC’s 16nm process.

Horizon Robotics officially rolled out two Gauss-based AI processors, 1.0 Journey and 1.0 Sunrise, in December with the former for image processing and the latter supporting smart city applications with low power consumption. The company plans to introduce Bernoulli-based processor in 2018 and Bayes-based processor in 2019 with higher-performance AI chips.

Horizon has recently raised around US$100 million in series A+ financing led by Intel Capital to support its development of a prototype driverless car and driving technology innovations. The company aims to have its AI chips applied to more than 100 million IoT (Internet of Things) devices by 2020 before realizing the goal as a leading supplier of autonomous driving chipset solutions by 2025.

DeePhi Tech plans to debut two system chipsets in 2018, one for AI cloud services and the other for AI terminal devices applications, with the latter to adopt the firm’s in-house-developed Aristotle architecture and manufactured using TSMC’s 28nm process.

Courtesy-Fud

Germany Implements New Online Hate Speech Law

January 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

In Germany, social media companies were hoping to avoid the fireworks marking the start of the new year.

On Jan. 1, the country began enforcing strict rules that could see platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube being fined up to €5 million (about $6 million) if they don’t remove posts containing hate speech within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, BBC reported Monday.

The new hate speech rules, passed last June, require companies to maintain an “effective and transparent procedure for dealing with complaints” that users can access readily at any time. Upon receiving a complaint, social media companies have to remove or block “obviously illegal content” within 24 hours, although they have up to a week when dealing with “complex cases.”

Social media companies haven’t been viewed too favorably in many countries due to the massive volume of hate content on their platforms. To fight that, Facebook in June said it removes 66,000 posts every week, saying it wants to do better but admitting the task is not easy. Last month, Twitter escalated its fight against hate, enforcing an updated policy that bans users from promoting violence and hate in their usernames and bios, and threatening to remove accounts if users tweeted hate speech, symbols, and images.

German isn’t the only country that wants social media companies to do more about hate speech. While the European Union acknowledged Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft for being better at the job, it said it managed to block twice the volume of hate content at a faster rate than those companies did in the beginning of the year.

“We’re committed to being part of the solution to illegal hate speech and extremist content online — around the world, and in Germany, working within its new legal framework,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement. “We’ll continue to invest heavily in teams and technology to allow us to go further and faster in removing content that breaks our rules or German law, and by working with government, law enforcement, civil society groups and other companies.”

North Korea Accused Of Crytocurrency Theft

January 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

North Korea has expanded its reason for hacking, alleges its Southern counterpart.

North Korean hackers known as Andariel breached a server at a company in South Korea to steal 70 Monero coins last summer, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing analysis from the South Korean government. The coins, supported bymusicians such as Mariah Carey and Fall Out Boy, are valued at a total of $25,000 (£18,440 or AU$31,880).

The news comes as reports surface of North Korea turning to cryptocurrencies as a source of funding for the government at a time when international sanctions against the reclusive state are tightening. Last month, the US accused North Korea of having orchestrated the WannaCry cyberattack which crippled over 300,000 servers worldwide in May, although the state denied any involvement. Victims of the attack found their computers locked and had to pay a ransom in Bitcoin in order to retrieve their files. The potential of Bitcoin to be used by the North Koreans as an “economic weapon” is also thought to be one reason the South Korean government wants to launch a crackdown on cryptocurrencies and is fighting the trend so aggressively.

The Monero cryptocurrency is designed for those with a keen preference for privacy, as it’s harder to trace (claimed to be “untraceable” by its creators) than competitors like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Monero for this reason is an easier currency to launder, said Kwak Kyoung-ju, head of South Korean government’s Financial Security Institute, according to Bloomberg.

“Andariel is going after anything that generates cash these days,” Kwak told the publication. “Dust gathered over time builds a mountain.”

AT&T Says All 50 States Will Participate In Nationwide First Responders Network

January 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T Inc confirmed that all 50 U.S. states had decided to participate in the nationwide broadband network it is building for first responders as part of a $6.5 billion government contract.

In March, the U.S. government awarded a contract to AT&T to build the network, years after a federal commission recommended setting up such a system following the 9/11 attacks.

The No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier will receive 20 megahertz of wireless airwaves and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years as part of the project known as FirstNet. AT&T expects to spend about $40 billion over 25 years to build and maintain the network.

States had until Thursday to opt out of AT&T’s network and build their own public safety networks. In addition to the states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also opted for FirstNet, AT&T said. Decisions from the three Pacific territories of American Samoa, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands are not due until March 12, 2018.

Wall Street analysts have said FirstNet is a way for AT&T to add to its portfolio of wireless airwaves, or spectrum, at a time when consumers are using more data on their cell phones. The company can use the spectrum it receives from the U.S. government to provide more network capacity for wireless customers when it is not in use by emergency responders.

Britain Wants Social Media Giant To Do More To Fight Extremism

January 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Britain may enact new tax laws for tech giants like Google and Facebook unless they do more to combat online extremism by taking down material aimed at radicalizing people or helping them to prepare attacks, the country’s security minister said.

Ben Wallace accused tech firms of being happy to sell people’s data but not to give it to the government which was being forced to spend vast sums on de-radicalization programs, surveillance and other counter-terrorism measures.

“If they continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivizing them or compen­sating for their inaction,” Wallace told the Sunday Times newspaper in an interview.

His quotes did not give further details on tax plans. The newspaper said that any demand would take the form of a windfall tax similar to that imposed on privatized utilities by former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government in 1997.

Wallace accused the tech giants of putting private profit before public safety.

“We should stop pretending that because they sit on beanbags in T-shirts they are not ruthless profiteers,” he said. “They will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government.”

 Facebook executive Simon Milner rejected the criticisms.

“Mr Wallace is wrong to say that we put profit before safety, especially in the fight against terrorism,” he said in an emailed statement. “We’ve invested millions of pounds in people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content.”

YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it was doing more every day to tackle violent extremism.

“Over the course of 2017 we have made significant progress through investing in machine learning technology, recruiting more reviewers, building partnerships with experts and collaboration with other companies,” a YouTube spokeswoman said.

is The iPhone X Selling As Expected

December 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The numbers for the iPhone X are well down on what was expected with only 30 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the figure is expected to drop slightly in the first quarter of 2018.

 This number was dug up by Digitimes which has been asking its chums in the semiconductor packaging and testing service industry.

The sources pointed out that the pre-orders for the iPhone X in some markets such as Taiwan, the US and Singapore, are not as strong as expected.

The poor iPhone X performance is unlikely to hurt Apple much. The markup on the phone is so high that Apple is still coining it in.  However, it does show that there is still a general slump in things Applish. 

Because of the iPhone X’s weak performance, the upstream supply chain has been rumored that Apple is planning three new smartphones for 2018 with two using OLED displays and one LCD display, and the 3D sensing functionality may be more broadly used in these devices.

Apple is also rumored to adjust its pricing for iPhone devices in early 2018 and has even started preparing a prototype iPhone with the support of pre-5G features.

Whether or not that will be enough to save the iPhone, is hard to say.  People are generally starting to wake up that the iPhone is behind in technology terms and price.

Courtesy-Fud

North Korea Rejects Claims It’s Responsible For ‘WannaCry’

December 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry pushed back that Pyongyang is linked to any cyber attacks, the North’s first response since the United States publicly blamed it for a massive worldwide cybersecurity breach.

“As we have clearly stated on several occasions, we have nothing to do with cyber attack and we do not feel a need to respond, on a case-by-case basis, to such absurd allegations of the U.S.,” the spokesman said, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

The U.S. accusation was a serious political provocation against North Korea that Pyongyang would never tolerate, the spokesman said. The May cyber attack crippled hospitals, banks and other companies.

 

Are Smartphone Hazardous To Your Health

December 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

There is some bad news for Apple fanboys who take their mobile phone to bed with them so that they will dream that Siri is a real girlfriend. It could be that this behavior is just nature’s way of taking you out of the gene pool.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning against the hazards of mobile radiation this week. It is asking people to stop using the devices and keeping them as far away from your body as possible.

The warning comes after findings were offered up this week from a 2009 department document, which was published after an order from the Sacramento Superior Court.

A year ago, UC Berkeley professor Joel Moskowitz initiated a lawsuit to get the department to release the findings after he started looking into whether mobile phone use increased the risk of tumours. A draft of the document was released in March, but the final release is more extensive.

According to the Federal Communication Commission’s website, there is no national standard developed for safety limits.

However, the agency requires cell phone manufacturers to ensure all phones comply with “objective limits for safe exposure.”

The CDPH recommends not keeping your phone in your pocket, not putting it up to your ear for a prolonged amount of time, keeping use low if there are two bars or less, not sleeping near it at night and to be aware that if you are in a fast-moving car, bus or train, your phone will emit more RF energy to maintain the connection.

Courtesy-Fud

Kasperky Challenges Software Ban In US Court

December 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab confirmed it has asked a U.S. federal court to overturn a Trump administration ban on the use of its products in government networks, saying the move deprived the company of due process.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in September issued a directive ordering civilian government agencies to remove Kaspersky software from their networks within 90 days. It came amid mounting concern among U.S. officials that the software could enable Russian espionage and threaten national security.

The appeal is part of an ongoing campaign by Kaspersky to refute allegations the company is vulnerable to Kremlin influence. The company has repeatedly denied it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyber espionage.

 “DHS has harmed Kaspersky Lab’s reputation and its commercial operations without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company,” the company’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, said in an open letter to the Homeland Security agency published on Monday.

The department did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that the government largely relied on uncorroborated news media reports as evidence in a review of Kaspersky software. It asks the court to overturn the ban and also declare that the Russian company’s products do not pose a security threat to U.S. government computers.

The value of Kaspersky’s software sales to the U.S. government totaled less than $54,000, or about 0.03 percent of its U.S. subsidiary’s sales in the United States, according to the complaint.

Still, the allegations about the software have hurt its much bigger consumer software business, prompting retailers such as Best Buy Co to pull Kaspersky products.

 Kaspersky said in October that it would submit the source code of its software and future updates for inspection by independent parties. U.S. officials have said that step, while welcome, would not be sufficient.

The September DHS order applied only to civilian government agencies and not the Pentagon. U.S. intelligence agencies said earlier this year that Kaspersky products were already generally not allowed on military networks.

 

Amazon Prime Facing Probe In UK

December 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Christmas might not be so merry for Amazon’s UK shoppers.

The online shopping giant could be the subject of an investigation by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Guardian reported Sunday, adding that the ASA said it received “a handful of complaints” pertaining to late deliveries by Amazon Prime as Christmas approaches.

Prime is a membership service by Amazon that, in the UK, promises subscribers “unlimited one-day delivery” and access to discounts and deals. The service is available as a complimentary 30-day trial and costs £7.99 (which converts to $10.66) every month after.

On its page, which lists the last order dates for Christmas, shoppers are advised that orders for one-day delivery should be submitted by 23 December so items can be delivered the following day, although Amazon adds that dates and times are “subject to availability.”

The company also advises shoppers to reach out to customer service if they do not receive their parcel by the estimated delivery date. UK consumer rights group, Which?, says a late delivery is a contract breach if a customer has already paid for delivery to arrive by a set date or time, which means the customer will have the right to terminate the purchase and obtain a full refund.

Still, with just a week left to Christmas, this situation may be enough to send holiday shoppers relying on Amazon Prime into a panic.

And as it turns out, delays are not restricted to the UK. Customers are taking to Twitter to voice their displeasure with late deliveries from Amazon Prime in the US, too.

AT&T Testing High-Speed Broadband Over Power Lines

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T Inc began trials in Georgia state and a non-U.S. location to deliver high-speed internet over power lines, the No. 2 wireless carrier confirmed, marking its latest push to offer faster broadband service to more customers.

AT&T aims to eventually deliver speeds faster than the 1 gigabit per second consumers can currently get through fiber internet service using high-frequency airwaves that travel along power lines. While the Georgia trial is in a rural area, the service could potentially be deployed in suburbs and cities, the company said in a statement.

“We think this product is eventually one that could actually serve anywhere near a power line,” said Marachel Knight, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, in an interview. She added that AT&T chose an international trial location in part because the market opportunity extends beyond the United States.

AT&T said it had no timeline for commercial deployment and that it would look to expand trials as it develops the technology.

“Potentially, it can be a really big deal,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. “You need the power company to play ball with you. That’s the downside.”

AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, have also been testing 5G internet services in which the last leg of the connection is delivered via a radio signal to homes using high-frequency airwaves known as millimeter wave spectrum.

Verizon said in November it would launch the faster broadband service in three to five U.S. markets in 2018.

Will Off-Branded iPhone Chargers Put You At Risk

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Many of the fake or look-alike iPhone chargers put consumers at risk of lethal electric shock. 

So says experts at Electrical Safety First who, in a study carried out with Apple, found that 49 out of 50 ‘lookalike’ chargers purchased in the UK failed safety tests.

One in three chargers tested failed every part of the safety screening, while almost half failed an electric strength test, which means they post a “severe risk” of electric shock.

What’s more, internal examination of the knock-off cables revealed that almost half ailed basic safety requirements and contained sub-standard internal components or inadequate spacing.

“We tested a range of fake iPhone chargers and found that 98 per cent of them had the potential to cause a lethal electric shock or start a fire,” Electrical Safety First said in a blog post.

“It’s a scary thought, especially when you think about how often we continue to use our phones while they’re charging. And if you leave yours to charge overnight, you have even more reason to be concerned.”

The outfit has offered up some advice on how to spot a fake Apple charger. For example, a look-a-like cable could take twice as long to charge your iPhone’s battery, will likely be missing markings or contain spelling errors, and the USB port could be upside down or in a different place.

This latest warning comes just weeks after Trading Standards has warned consumers to bite the bullet and pay for official Apple charges after discovering that fake alternatives are just as dangerous as they are cheap. 

The consumer advice outfit earlier this year bought up 400 fake Apple chargers, likely costing it approximately £396, and found that 397 of them failed to pack enough insulation to protect users’ against electric shocks.

Courtesy-TheInq

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