Andrew Mayne joins the show and we discuss Facebook’s plan to cover the world with Internet-bearing solar-powered drones and lasers. What could go wrong? Also, Len Peralta will attempt to illustrate this mess. You will not want to miss this.
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Today’s guest: Andrew Mayne and Len Peralta
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a blog post announcing a new effort in conjunction with Internet.org to have Facebook’s Connectivity Lab work on a project to provide Internet connectivity worldwide from the air. Sparsely populated areas could be covered by satellites, both geosynchronous and low earth orbit varieties. Suburban areas could gain coverage from solar-powered automatic drones that can fly for months at a time. Facebook has acquired the 5-member company Ascenta who have worked on the Breitling Orbiter and Zephyr drone. They also employ former engineers from NASA as part of the effort. Oh and lasers. They connect all the satellites to each other with lasers. No sharks were reported to be involved.
Facebook also picked up a future employee once the acquisition of Oculus VR is done. TechCrunch reports Michael Abrash will leave his gig heading up VR at Valve to become Oculus’s Chief Scientist. Abrash said in his blog post that Facebok brings the resources and long-term commitment VR needs to solve the hard problems. You likely that today you used something Abrash coded since he has written for everything from Quake to Windows.
BlackBerry announced earnings Friday and Reuters reports that losses were smaller than feared. It was still a 64 percent drop in revenue. In an investor call, CEO John Chen gave a few hints on upcoming hardware. The Foxconn-made Z3 will come to Indonesia first in April, then the rest of the world. The Q20 with physical keyboard will be ready for Q1 2015. And the BlakcBerry 7 OS-powered Blackberry Bold will get another production run.
Remember I mentioned the Wall Street Journal said its sources claimed Amazon was going to roll out a free ad-supported video streaming service. Well the Verge passed that along too as well as a flat denial from Amazon. In an email to Variety an Amazon spokeswoman Sally Fouts said “we have no plans to offer a free streaming-media service.” So you’re saying there’s…no chance. Got it.
The Ethernet Alliance issued a press release announcing the formation of the IEEEp802.3bs Task Force. Yep. dot three bs. I know. Hopefully they won’t live up to that name and WILL successfully develop the standard for 400 Gigabit Ethernet, because that’s their job. They won’t go alone however, as they have the support of the Ethernet Alliance 400Gb/s Subcommittee. Maybe IEEE can take a little naming convention lesson after all this is over. The inaugural meeting of the IEEE P802.3bs Task Force will take place the week of May 12, 2014 in Norfolk, Va. as part of the IEEE Joint Interim Meeting.
GigaOm reports Tesla Motors has started adding a triple-layer metal shield, made of titanium and aluminum, to the underbodies of its cars. The shield is meant to protect the battery from impacts from below. All cars made after March 6th will have the shield, cars made before March 6th can be retrofitted free of charge. Elon Musk posted to Medium to make the announcement and put up some rather nifty animated GIFs of underbody impacts.
The Next Web reports a group of Dutch users have made a parody of Google Maps, called Google Naps which lets users mark and describe a particularly restful places to catch a few Zs. The group posted a detailed explanation of how the site was a joke and please don’t sue us Google. You know. For lawyers.
TechCrunch reports Microsoft General Counsel and EVP – Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith posted some more information about Microsoft’s conundrum when it needs to investigate email accounts that it also hosts as part of outlook.com’s service. Previously Microsoft explained it couldn’t get a warrant for these since it already had the right to look but that it would be super extra careful and almost never do it. Well they’ve changed their mind. Microsoft says they’ll now never do that. And will refer any potential similar situations directly to law enforcement. They’re even working with the Center for Democracy and Technology and The Electronic Frontier Foundation on future privacy issues. OK.
News From You
Draconos sent us the Ars Technica article about DARPA’s new program called Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments , yes CODE for short, which wants to make autonomous cooperative swarms of drones that share sensor data but still respond to the commands of a single human. Cooperative groups could be more flexible in heavily defended airspace while still giving a commander the ability to control all the units from a single console.
KAPT_Kipper posted the GeekWire article that Microsoft has confirmed they will bring Office to Android devices too. John Case, a Microsoft Office corporate vice president for marketing told GeekWire “Let me tell you conclusively: Yes, we are also building Android native applications for tablets for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.” They haven’t picked a date for release but they are committed to it.
And Berke80 who I believe is in Turkey pointed out the EFF post that says in addition to blocks on Twitter and now YouTube, Turkish ISPs appear to be blocking the Tor Project’s website. Tor is a way of obfuscating connection information and can get around IP address blocks among other things. The EFF is providing links to mirros of the Tor Project site where users can still get the Tor Browser bundle.
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Pick of the Day: G.I. Joe Coffee Company
Tonx is great, but the G.I Joe Coffee Company is awesome for an entirely different reason. They are all fair trade, good quality coffee, but 20% of all proceeds go to support disabled veterans. I know you get tons of picks, but I figured I had to throw one in the mix since it is a cause near and dear to my heart (retired Army and 90% disabled myself). With Respect, Scott Napier
Monday’s Guest: Wil Harris