Jennie Josephson and Roger Chang host the Producer’s Choice edition of Daily Tech News Show with regular Friday team Darren Kitchen and Len Peralta. Self-driving cars! Rampaging Cows! Spin Doctors! It’s gonna be a Friday, all right.
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Today’s guests: Darren Kitchen, Jennie Josephson, Len Peralta and Roger Chang
TechCrunch reports that Google announced that it will begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in Mountain View this summer. The self-piloted vehicles will be limited to a maximum speed of 25 miles/hour, and each will include a safety driver, who can take over at any point. Google said its fleet has logged nearly a million miles of cumulative driving within its test facilities which Google says is equal to 75 years of human driving experience. Much more on this to come in the discussion section, but right now everyone gets one word: Roger? Darren?
UNITED AIRLINES ANNOUNCED this week that it’s launching a bug bounty program inviting researchers to report bugs in its websites, apps and online portals. It’s believed to be the first bounty program offered by an airline. Wired reports that United’s program specifically excludes “bugs on onboard Wi-Fi, entertainment systems or avionics” and United notes that “[a]ny testing on aircraft or aircraft systems such as inflight entertainment or inflight Wi-Fi” could result in a criminal investigation. Researchers who report vulnerabilities in the airline’s web sites or apps will be rewarded in mileage points. The awards range from 50,000 points for cross-site scripting bugs to 1 million for high-severity vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to conduct remote-code execution on a United system.
According to The Wall Street Journal, activist investor Carl Icahn has invested $100 million in ride-sharing startup Lyft. The money is an extension of a round of funding Lyft announced in March that values the three-year-old company at $2.5 billion. In an interview, Mr. Icahn said putting money into San Francisco-based Lyft is a good deal when compared to larger rival Uber Technologies valued at $41 billion. Jonathan Christodoro, one of Icahn’s managing directors, will be added to Lyft’s board of directors. Uber has expanded to more than 250 cities internationally. To date, Lyft operates in 65 cities, only in the United States. So, Carl Icahn is bargain hunting.
The Next Web has a story from the Financial Times reporting that “an executive at a European carrier confirmed that it and several of its peers are planning to start blocking adverts this year” and will be available as an “opt-in service” however they are also considering applying the technology across their entire mobile networks. According to the report’s anonymous sources, the carriers have installed software from Israeli ad-blocking firm Shine in their data centers to block advertising in Web pages and apps, but not social networks. The plan – which would be devastating to companies reliant on advertising – is not limited to a single European network. Its apparent aim is to break Google’s hold on advertising.Windows 10 Mobile’s latest build “10080” adds some important updates according to TechCrunch. The biggest is the first look of the Windows Store for mobile which will allow MS to deliver universal Office apps plus music, movies, and TV shows. Other features include an Xbox app, a music app, a new camera app and a video app.
KrebsOnSecurity reports a cache of data apparently stolen from spyware service MSpy has appeared on a TOR website. The data includes account information but also 4 million events including photos, calendar data, corporate email threads, and more. MSpy promotes itself as a way to monitor family members and boasts over a million users (or jealous lovers). When syrupticiously installed on iOS or Android, it collects messages from SMS, Skype, WhatsApp and Snapchat along with every keystoke typed.
Oculus has revealed the recommended specifications for PC rigs powering the Oculus Rift headset according to Tech Crunch. Recommended: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater, Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater, and 8GB+ RAM. Required: Windows 7 SP1 or newer, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture. In their blog post, Oculus’ Chef Architect Atman Binstock says GPU performance is highly important, since you’re basically running two, 2160×1200 displays at 90Hz simultaneously, which takes around three times the GPU power of your average full HD, 1080p rendering. Dropped frames are also fine on traditional desktop monitors, for the most part, while missing frames in VR results in considerable discomfort. Binstock also notes that Oculus still wants to develop for Mac and Linux, but that at this stage, they “don’t have a timeline.”
IGN reports that Harmonix, maker of the upcoming Rock Band 4 revealed the first six songs in the new game, only one of which I really know, can you guess which one?
Avenged Sevenfold – “Hail to the King”
Fleetwood Mac – “You Make Loving Fun”
Jack White – “Lazaretto”
The Killers – “Somebody Told Me”
Spin Doctors – “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”
The Who – “The Seeker”
Spin Doctors! Hey 90’s, Great to have you back! Rock Band 4 is coming some time this fall, and Harmonix just did a live demo a little while back so check out that video which we’ll link to in the show notes
Polygon reports that Blizzard’s Diablo 3 has been overrun by cows in honor of the third anniversary of the game. Battle.net will only say that “Rumors allege” that townships throughout Khanduras are being overrun by bipedal, bardiche-bearing bovine, and then strenuously denies any knowledge of their existence. The event is homage to The Secret Cow Level in Diablo 2 and will continue until dusk on May 21st.
Engadget reports that Hulu will pick up the Mindy Project, starting with a 26-episode fourth season. The show, named for star Mindy Kaling, already streams on the TV subscription service as one of several Fox series available there, so the news isn’t too surprising. There’s no word on a premiere date just yet, but when it arrives, it’ll be one of the many Hulu original series that you really mean to watch but just haven’t yet. Cancelled broadcast shows are getting revived online regularly these days, as Yahoo nabbed Community and Netflix is no stranger to picking up discarded series. All this magic and STILL NO QUANTUM LEAP. Strive to put right what once went wrong, Hulu!
News From You:
habichuelacondulce sent us this warning about mobile payments and passwords. Starbucks app users are getting their bank accounts drained by password-guessing thieves according to Gizmodo. People with Starbucks rewards can link the coffee-payment app to their bank accounts, credit cards, or PayPal accounts. Scammers buy gift cards then sell them illegally. Consumer journalist Bob Sullivan said Starbucks mobile payments fraud are a big deal with the company processing $2 billion in mobile transactions last year. Starbucks has acknowledged that this scam is happening but says it hasn’t been hacked, and that its hacked customers likely used bad passwords.
anotherjmartin submitted the ArsTechnica article with the amazing headline:
Humanity weeps as Candy Crush Saga comes preinstalled with Windows 10. Microsoft announced that King’s addictive game will be the Minesweeper of Windows 10, and will include cross-play options for iOS and Android devices. No word if there’s an opt-out for those who want to use the new Windows operating system to actually work.
thelouisguy sent us a TorrentFreak article about angry YouTube man Benajmin Ligeri, who has filed a lawsuit at the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island which lists Google, Viacom, Lionsgate and another YouTuber as defendants, Ligeri bemoans a restrictive YouTube user contract and a system that unfairly handles copyright complaints. Ligeri says that he has uploaded content to YouTube under the name BetterStream for purposes including “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and/or research,” but never in breach of copyright. Nevertheless, he claims to have fallen foul of YouTube’s automated anti-piracy systems when he uploaded what he claims is a parody of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movie, only to have it removed by YouTube after another YouTube user filed a complaint.
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the Day:
Hey, guys. With all the recent wearable discussion, I thought I’d submit one of my favorite devices for a pick of the day: the new Garmin Fenix 3 fitness/smartwatch.
With Apple Watch, Android Wear, and Pebble Time getting most of the smartwatch attention, it’s easy to overlook the Fenix. But if you’re looking for a smartwatch that is a watch first, fitness tracker second, and a smart device last, this is it.
The best features of the Fenix 3 are:
– Always-on color display (highly visible in bright light).
– Built-in GPS (so you don’t need your phone to track runs).
– Both activity (steps, goals, etc.) and hardcore training features.
– Extensive outdoor and hiking features (compass, altimeter barometer, etc.).
– iOS and Android compatible.
– Smart notifications from your phone (customizable per app).
– Water-resistant to 100 meters.
I could go on and on about why I think, for many people, the Fenix 3 is the best smartwatch, but it basically reduces to this: it’s a watch first, activity/fitness device second, and an extension of your smartphone last. For me, that’s exactly the right priority.
David Wilke writes in:
Hello Tom, Jenny, & co-host from just south of lovely Cleveland….Columbus. A few months ago I lost my pebble watch. I’ve been holding out on a replacement decision pending the Pebble II & Apple watch release.
I was in the golf store the other day and all the golf GPS widgets and wearables caught my eye….but they were all geared toward golf. I asked if they had any wearable’s that do all fitness stuff plus notifications….They pulled out the Garmin Vivoactive which they had just got in, but was not yet on display.
Similar to the new Pebble it has a color e-ink display but the Vivoactive is touch screen….just swipe the display to bring up notifications, calendar, music player, weather, and activity. Additionally the Vivoactive has built in GPS and specific tracking apps for Run, Bike, & Walk both stationary/treadmill or outside. It also has a swimming tracking app as the watch is water resistant to 5 ATM’s (I think 50 feet or so). Oh…and yes it has a golf app that you upload your most frequent courses to the watch, and viola! you have your golf GPS.
It’s very lightweight and has a very similar look/feel to the original Pebble and they are slowly building out their app store so you can download different faces, etc….I’m bummed I lost my pebble but I’m pleasantly surprised with how Garmin is becoming competitive in the smart-watch space.
Paul Franz writes:
In the discussion on Thursday (May 14th, 2015), I think the comparison of Walmart to Amazon is off base. I think Walmart is missing their greatest strength and that is their stores being every where. What they should do is use the Best Buy model. That is to buy things that are in the local store and just have them ready for pickup. I find BestBuy’s service in this category to be awesome. No looking through the store for the items that you are looking for. The items are available within the same day. If Walmart had the same ability I would love it. It would save a lot of time that is normally wasted looking for items through out the store.
Josh Gardner, who wrote an email we read last week, wrote us again! He writes:
“Yesterday my email regarding the audio spec that will be used on Blu-ray was read on the show and I incorrectly stated that DTS had not yet announced their audio spec (Dolby has, it will be called Dolby Atmos as a quick reminder), apparently DTS DID announce a spec last week and I missed it, it will be called DTS:X, aside from the afore mentioned compressed audio (Dolby Digital) and uncompressed audio (DTS), DTS:X will NOT use discreet channels like Dolby Digital, instead, it will use an algorithm to extrapolate your particular speaker setup, supporting a limitless number of speakers in any shape and positioning.
The Blu-ray spec will support DTS:X and Dolby Digital Atmos.
Monday’s guest: Veronica Belmont & Roger Chang!