Daily Tech Headlines – October 25, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Xiaomi’s new bezel-free phone, first self-driving truck delivers beer, 8Gbps WiFi gets certified.

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DTNS 2886 – The internet is Toast!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comFriday’s web outages were caused by an attack launched from things like webcams and smart TVs. Lamarr Wilson and Tom Merritt discuss the things you should do to stop your stuff from being used for attacks. Plus, should AT&T be allowed to buy Time Warner?

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Daily Tech Headlines – October 24, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Xiongmai recalls IoT devices that cause denial of service attacks, Samsung confirms Note brand will stay alive. AT&T to acquire Time Warner TV and Movies.

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DTNS 2885 – If It Quacks Like A Duck, Run!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comMore on the great Dyn DNS Outage, AT+T Officially buys Time Warner, and AirBnb Strikes Back

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Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog – Oct 22, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

We’re all pretty excited in northeast Ohio that what is, historically, our nation’s most revered championship will be decided right here in Cleveland. It’s been a long season, and now it comes down to a dramatic battle between two worthy contestants to determine a victor and answer the ultimate question: Will Pokemon Go or the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 get the most mentions this year in the Weekly Tech Views?

 Also, the Indians are in the World Series.

 

 For the week of October 17 – 21, 2016…

 

You Make A Good Point, But In Our Defense, ‘Autopilot’ Sounds Cool
German officials don’t want Tesla to use the term “Autopilot” to describe its driver assistance technology, fearing that drivers may overestimate its abilities. Tesla argues that that the term has been used in the aerospace industry for decades, apparently reasoning that if pilots with years of intense, high-pressure training can understand Autopilot’s limitations, it shouldn’t be any problem for sixteen-year-olds who took three tries to pass the written test and made the instructor scream, “Mommy!” during parallel parking.

There’s No Pleasing Some People
In other Tesla news, they had a car announcement scheduled for Monday, but CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday that it “needs a few more days of refinement,” and the announcement would instead come Wednesday. Then he put down his phone, turned back to his marketing team, and said, “Seriously gang, it’s a nice German name, but I don’t think they’re going to go for Otto Pilot either.

The Grass Is Always Less Explosive On The Other Side Of The Fence
With Galaxy Note 7s banned from flights, Samsung has set up booths at airports where customers can exchange their Note 7s. You get a new, airline-approved phone while your Note 7 gets tossed into a container that will provide perfectly safe housing for the possibly-incendiary devices. “Easy for you to say,” said the Samsung employees having to nervously stand next to the bin for an eight-hour shift while looking longingly across the concourse at Cinnabon where the workers’ biggest worry is getting icing on their pants.

They Are Really Steamed About This
After becoming aware of a YouTube video of a mod for Grand Theft Auto V allowing players to use Note 7s as grenades, Samsung issued a takedown notice. “Sure you don’t mean burn notice?” said pretty much everybody.

Nobody Said It Was A Classy Action
A law firm filed suit on behalf of three Galaxy Note 7 customers who continued to be billed for device and plan charges despite not being able to use their phones for weeks due to the phone’s recall. The attorneys are hoping for class action status to add many more clients to the case.

We asked another class action lawyer how much these attorneys might demand Samsung pay.

“Oh, tens of millions of dollars. Maybe hundreds of millions. This was a grievous injustice.”

We were stunned, wondering aloud how the actual inconvenience incurred could really warrant those clients receiving that kind of money.

The clients? Oh, ha-ha, no. No, they’ll get a ten dollar credit on their phone bill and a coupon for five percent off a faux-leather case,” said the lawyer, chuckling and blowing his nose on a hundred-dollar bill.

Yet They Somehow Tested Equally On “Pizza Delivery Guy”
Microsoft’s speech recognition technology has reached a word error rate of 5.9%, the same level as human transcribers. Humans did perform better at distinguishing “uh” from “uh-huh,” thanks to humans’ vast advantage in watching porn.

First!
China’s LeEco had a new products announcement which included two phones, four TVs, a VR headset, an autonomous car, and an Android-based, battery-powered “super bike” that can reach 30 mph and comes with GPS, internet connectivity, a fingerprint scanner, and a side laser system to mark its lane.

“Well, just like I predicted, nothing about the so-called “super” bike having a unicorn-fur-covered seat customized to my butt. This whole announcement sucked!” said the first comment at LeEco’s blog.

You Have To Be Able To Delegate
A professor at Carnegie Mellon has taken the job of Director of Artificial Intelligence Research at Apple while maintaining his position at the school. Asked if it wouldn’t be difficult to carry on his educational responsibilities, the professor replied, “No, my students are extremely important to me and I have taken steps to assure there is no dropoff in the attention paid these young minds. I don’t think they will notice anything different as long as I do not injure a human being and I do obey orders given by human bein–I mean as long as I manage my time efficiently.”

Believe It Or Not, I Missed Out On A Lot Of School Dances
Facebook’s Messenger app has added a new feature called Conversation Topics that will suggest things to talk about by listing events from the other person’s timeline. You know what this means, don’t you? I don’t want to sound bitter, but there are probably boys in junior high now that don’t have to start every conversation with a girl with, “So, do you think Hulk could beat Superman in a fight?”

It Would Have Been Neat If It Was Eleven Though
Netflix reported earnings twice what analysts expected, twelve cents per share versus the predicted six cents. Asked if they had any expectations internally of such a surprising performance, a Netflix executive said, “Well, we didn’t think it was completely out of the question; we have, after all, seen stranger things.” He then produced a cane, twirled it, and repeatedly doffed his top hat while shuffling sideways out of the room.

The More Things Change
Apple has reportedly shifted the focus of its automotive division from building a self-driving car to building an autonomous system for other cars. “Huh, who saw that coming?” said Apple’s TV division.

C’mon, We’re Sorry About The Wii U
Previously known as Project NX, Nintendo’s new console was unveiled as the Nintendo Switch, the final name chosen only after the marketing department insisted Nintendo Switch Please Switch From The Other Guys C’mon Switch Remember How Fun Mario And Zelda Were wasn’t very tweetable.

He’ll Come Around; He Wasn’t Happy When They Put Hoods On Sweatshirts At First Either
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters that he is “done with tablets” due to in-game technical issues, and is going back to paper pictures to analyze on-field action. “Frankly,” he said, “I don’t see the use for technology of any sort in football.” Then everyone had a hearty laugh as he sent a fleet of camera-equipped drones toward the Pittsburgh Steelers practice field.

 

Wow, what a comeback for the Note 7! Pokemon Go fans must be furious that the app’s designers didn’t think to add some sort of real injury potential. The sore Pokeball-flipping thumb just doesn’t grab headlines.

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

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Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

DTNS 2884 – The Internet Stops On A Dyn

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comMultiple websites got knocked off the Internet Friday because of a DDoS against Dyn. What’s that even mean? Darren Kitchen explains to Tom Merritt while Len Peralta illustrates.

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Daily Tech Headlines – October 21, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Denial of Service hits major sites’ DNS, Microsoft earnings rise high, and evidence port in against former NSA contractor Thomas Martin.

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DTNS 2883 – Switch Way is Up for Nintendo?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comNintendo trickles out some info and video about its tablet/console hybrid the Nintendo Switch. Plus Razer puts all the specs in its new gaming laptop. Justin Robert Young and Tom Merritt discuss along with Nintendo insights from Patrick Beja.

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Daily Tech Headlines – October 20, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Nintendo reveals the Nintendo Switch tablet/console hybrid. Tesla adds self-driving to all its cars, China’s LeEco announces all the things.

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Your Private Driver: SCAM ALERT

Hey readers, I know today isn’t Tuesday (or even Monday), but this is another topic that’s been coming up very often lately and is important enough for an out-of-cycle update.

Uber drivers have been taking advantage of the company’s trip cancellation policy to collect cancellation fees without actually attempting to pick anyone up.

A driver may just go right by your house without stopping, or they won’t move at all, but instead call you with some flimsy excuse about why they can’t make it and you should cancel the trip.

Drivers actually do get a cut of those five-dollar cancellation fees, and interestingly enough it’s more money than what drivers make from the average short fare (as an example, in my market I get paid $4 from a cancellation but only $2.40 from a one-mile trip).

The best way to protect yourself from unnecessary charges is to know Uber’s cancellation policy. Most relevant to this scenario, if a driver hasn’t arrived more than five minutes after the ETA estimate given in the app, you won’t be charged a fee. This works best when the driver is a no-show, and don’t be pressured into cancelling early if a deadbeat driver calls and asks you to.

In cases where the driver just zooms by without stopping, you may have to dispute the charges; the driver can mark you as a no-show after five minutes and collect a cancellation fee themselves. Fortunately this is one thing the drones at Uber support are actually competent with.

Finally, report any driver that you believe is intentionally trying to defraud you. In the app, HELP > Trip and Fare Review > My driver was unprofessional.

In the meantime, you can also try switching to Lyft if it’s available in your area. I’ve not heard of any Lyft drivers using any of these tactics, probably because the company is a bit stingier with paying for cancellations.

Sekani Wright is an experienced Uber driver working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. If you have any questions you would like answered for this column, you can contact him at djsekani at gmail dot com, or on twitter and reddit at the username djsekani. Have a safe trip!