In an attempt to stay ahead of the ride-sharing game, Uber has opted to increase its investment in global mapping systems.
“The ongoing need for maps tailored to the Uber experience is why we’re doubling down on our investment in mapping,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technologies and former vice president of Google Maps.
While McClendon didn’t reveal exactly how much Uber would be investing in his announcement last week, news reports have guessed that the amount would rack up to somewhere around $500 million.
“We are declining to comment on the $500 million number,” said Molly Spaeth, Uber spokesperson.
“Existing maps are a good starting point, but some information isn’t that relevant to Uber, like ocean topography. There are other things we need to know a lot more about,” explained McClendon, “like traffic patterns and precise pickup and dropoff locations.”
“Moreover, we need to be able to provide a seamless experience in parts of the world where there aren’t detailed maps- or street signs,” he continued.
Trip Chowdry, managing director for equity research at Global Research, shared his opinion that increased investment in maps made sense for the ride-sharing mogul:
“They don’t need to provide the all-things-to-all-people kind of maps like Google,” he explained. “It makes sense for Uber to have an alternative strategy. It needs highly targeted maps.”
That means maps that can support certain initiatives, like tracking vehicles, estimating times to pickup and dropoff, and pinpointing caller locations.
“It’s a different use case than what Google and Apple are doing,” Chowdry concluded.
Roger C. Lanctot, associate director for the global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, believes that Uber has needed to expand its maps program for some time:
“If anything, they’re a little late with this,” he posited. “They’ve had the advantage of all these vehicles wandering around all these cities around the world, so it only makes sense to start collecting data from these vehicles.”
“When you’re going to get rid of the driver entirely, you’re going to need a map,” Lanctot continued. “It looks like they’ve determined it’s in their interest to create their own maps.”
According to Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research, cars are becoming more valuable data generators in our internet-of-things era.
“As we start building out this IoT era, the data that’s used for things like autonomous cars is going to be extremely valuable,” he explained.
“Companies that have that data are going to want to leverage it more and more,” he continued. “Uber is thinking the data from its drivers is something valuable to have as the industry changes.”
While it’s hard to say exactly what kind of data Uber will be gathering and how it will be implemented into the initiative to improve the company’s maps, the company has proven its ability to predict industry trends over and over.
“Whether Uber can leverage the data enough to pay for the investment it’s making in mapping, that’s hard to tell,” McGregor offered.
The value of Uber’s newfound data is unlikely to go unnoticed by other ride-sharing companies, especially if Uber chooses to sell it.
Last week Facebook announced that it would begin the testing process of a widely anticipated end-to-end encryption capability for its Messenger app. This new level of security would make it possible for Facebook users to send messages that are only visible to senders and recipients, removing the ability for Facebook employees to read any messages.
Facebook users will even be able to set a timer limit for the amount of time that a message can be readable during a conversation. In order to offer this and many other new security features, Facebook as used Open Whisper Systems’ Signal Protocol technology.
While one major caveat is that the encrypted conversation will not make it possible to view single messages on multiple mobile systems simultaneously, the fact that people would want to do this is sort of weird anyway. That said, the encrypted feature is optional and if users deem it more convenient to go without the service, that will be possible too.
Users that want to switch devices in the midst of a conversation may come up against a wall in that the conversations will only be able to be read on one device. If that device is lost or damaged, this could be come increasingly problematic. Encryption will also not enable GIFs, video or payments.
Alex Stamos, chief security officer at Facebook, sent a series of tweets in response to concerns shared by Messenger users.
“All secret messages are encrypted in local storage with two keys and the remote key can be revoked,” he explained. “Further, it’s unlikely that an update to end-to-end encryption will allow it to support multidevice use, which is how millions of Facebook Messenger users currently operate.
Stamos went on to posit that millions of Messenger users speak Web-to-Web, but there will be no way to store code or verify keys without using mobile technology.
Tim Mulligan, senior analyst at Midea Research, stated that end-to-end encryption posits two important users for Facebook given the debate around consumer privacy and security protocols that is picking up steam at a global level:
“First, it would help Facebook appear to be on the side of the digital consumer; and secondly, it allows the company to inhabit the same ethical high ground that has hitherto been the preserve of Apple regarding the privacy of its users.”
That said, Nate Cardozo of The Electric Frontier Foundation believes that Facebook’s dual approach that enables both encrypted and unencrypted messages is a “fundamentally unsafe design choice.”
“It’s just plain too easy to send an unencrypted message when the tool has two options,” he explained. That said, Cardozo conceded that it would have likely caused problems were Facebook to make all messages encrypted. It could have risked losing millions of users who appreciated the Web-to-Web option for Messenger, plus it would have required a huge amount of engineering work, both outcomes likely costing Facebook a huge amount of revenue.
The choice is one of many interesting outcomes of the highly publicized argument between Apple and the US federal government surrounding consumer privacy.
Google’s Cardboard recently put forward a new iteration of its product that has excited critics and VR aficionados alike. The inexpensive cardboard headsets use smartphones to create head-mounted displays that are accessible and affordable for those interested in VR but not interested in or able to make large investments in the budding technology.
The Oculus Rift, a much more sophisticated gadget, costs $600, while the $900 Vive costs even more. Even the less expensive Rift requires some extreme computing power that would be costly in and of itself.
Google Daydream, however, builds on the more affordable and accessible Cardboard concept. The VR software will be added into the upcoming Android N, which will give users the ability to switch between a traditional mobile interface and the additional VR mode.
Cardboard involves baking in some features into Android smartphones. These invlude having VR versions of Street View and YouTube, and then Daydream will have a fair amount of additional content a well. Daydream is also compatible with CNN, HBO Now, MLB.com, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Hulu, Netflix and IMAX, who are all working on their own fledgling projects to create VR content for users as well as videos for more standard platforms.
Unlike Google Cardboard, Google has created actual hardware for its newest product, giving top manufacturers standards for developing Daydream-ready smartphones and headsets that can hold them and make them possible to operate. Vendors that sell the headsets will be liable for packaging the devices with the Daydream remote control.
Industry analysts have noticed that Google is quietly making moves to conquer the VR market, a market that some people believe is doomed to fail and that some people believe will open up into a completely new financial and social frontier.
Clay Bavor, head of the VR department at Google, has cited the fact that Cardboard app downloads have already surpassed the 50 million mark in his assertion that the VR market will be a success.
“While high-end developers like Oculus and HTC have worked to create headsets that provide highly immersive experiences, these pieces of hardware are very much unavailable to the general population due to their price tag and additional computer power needed to support them,” Mandelbaum stated.
Google’s Cardboard only charges $30 for admission into a completely new virtual realm, making it possible for it to become the source of both the most basic and the most varied experiences in VR.
According to Google, the Daydream hardware will make it possible for Google to establish itself in both the hardware and software sides of VR:
“Google is helping to close another massive hole within the VR industry- that is, the gap between the growing number of devices to view VR experiences and the limited amount of immersive content available to consumers,” Mandelbaum continued.
If Google sees Daydream through to its completion, it may be one of the most strategic moves made by a company hoping to spearhead the VR industry.
After its pop-up encouraging users to upgrade to Windows 10 was called a “nasty trick” by many users, Microsoft has back pedaled and undone some changes recently made onto the pop-up.
Users were very frustrated when they found that clicking the cross to dismiss the pop-up box actually ended up being interpreted as them agreeing to update.
In response to “customer feedback,” Microsoft promised to add another notification that provided users with “an additional opportunity for cancelling the upgrade.”
“We’ve added another notification that confirms the time of the scheduled upgrade and provides the customer an additional opportunity for cancelling the upgrade,” Microsoft recently told a news source.
“If the customer wishes to continue with their upgrade at the designated time, they can click ‘OK’ or close the notifications with no further action needed.”
It was Brad Chacos, senior editor for PC World magazine, who called the pop up “a nasty trick” despite himself being a fan of the Windows10 operating system.
“I don’t think that adding more pestering pop-ups improves the situation. At the very least they should add a large, obvious ‘No, I don’t want this’ button.” the editor continued. Since the Windows 10 update became available, Chacos has been a more vocal critic of what he sees as “heavy-handed tactics that Microsoft’s been using to force people into the upgrade.”
Chacos stated that since users previously had to press the cross to cancel selected upgrades, swapping out the cross meaning for one that is affirmative in wanting the upgrade is “akin to swapping out the brake and accelerator in your car.”
Users have been swapping horror stories of difficult upgrades and the unnecessarily frustrating process of attempting to stop an upgrade after it has accidentally started. Havard Hughe’s experience was one of the more typical ones:
“Windows 10 update ran on my PC despite all my efforts to stop it, including dismissing the update several times and frantically trying to abort the installation as it started when I was halfway through writing an important email… My attempt to roll it back to Windows 7 resulted in the blue screen of death and a dead PC. Now I have to reinstall my home computer from scratch because of this so-called ‘free’ upgrade. As someone who paid for my software and was perfectly happy with my fully functional Windows 7 machine, this has been an absolute disaster.”
Unfortunately this author has had her own issues with the Windows 10 update. While I opted into the update purposefully and of my own accord, the new software ended up being incompatible with my refurbished ThinkPad, which came with Windows 8 already installed. Issues with internet connectivity didn’t start maturing until the month after it was possible to opt into rolling back to Windows 8, at which point Microsoft service support told me that I would have to purchase Windows 8 again, but from a third party provider because Microsoft no longer carried the Windows 8 software. Duped and frustrated, I was forced to choose between buying something I already bought and pirating something I already bought.
When it comes to the remaining political field one field of discussion that has rarely come up which is surprising considering how pervasive it is in every aspect of our lives. Not to worry though of the remaining candidates they have gone on record and their opinions are fairly cemented. In the case of Sanders and Clinton they are fairly similar but with Clinton you can never tell. But when it comes to Donald J Trump there are predictably some controversial view points. But what else is new.
When it comes to the relationships with Silicon Valley elites Hillary Clinton is believed to have the support the luminaries of the valley such as Larry Ellison, Sheryl Sandberg, John Doerr and Elon Musk. She’s held a number of big dollar fund raisers in the Valley during the campaign as well. But on the whole, the Valley’s big donors the people who back the big cheese to Obama have reportedly yet to commit to the Clinton cause. Maybe because they do not know what it is. During the campaign and several visits to the Valley Clinton has called for the aid in high profile data privacy issues that undermine the 4th amendment under the guise that it is in the interest of national security.
When it comes to Bernie from Brooklyn he is likely edging out a number of individual contributions from the Valley. for instance as recently as February Sanders had raised more money than Clinton. as one report put it, Clinton may be popular, among the big donors, but Sanders has won the support of “rank and file” tech workers. This is unexpected, considering Bernie has be able to make far less trips to the valley during the campaign as Clinton did. Sanders takes a less intrusive roll as Clinton in terms of national security but believes there has to be a middle ground. The reason being if we are compromised on this front and give up our privacy then we have lost something invaluable and intangible to our way of living.
And then there is Donald J Trump who has expressed contempt for the Valley in general. He attacked Apple on several occasions including their refusing to help the FBI recover the data off an iPhone used in the San Bernardo terrorist attacks. He is quoted as saying that “To think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cellphone? Who do they think they are?” Trump also criticized Apple for outsourcing so much of its manufacturing to Asian countries. The celebrity candidate did not stop with Apple and has gone after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for hiring too many foreign engineers with H-1B visas. Trump also called the CEO of Amazon a “scammer.”
To say the least this is a bad starting point to be in with one of Americas largest industries, and one that we largely pioneered. When you type in a web address you don’t put .uk or .ca you put .com which should tell you something. This is our industry and the one that will keep us at the top, and our leadership should at the very least try to maintain a dialog in this regard.
Computers have been an absolutely essential tool for professionals for the past decade. Accordingly, a whole variety of personal computers have been created by manufacturers like Apple, Google and Microsoft to profit off of every niche of every computer user with his or her set of needs. In the subsequent barrage of personal computing products now flowing through computing markets, it may be difficult to even understand the difference between different models. For example, what’s the difference between laptops, notebooks, and netbooks, and why does it even matter? Read on to find out.
Laptops, notebooks and netbooks all share certain formal qualities; namely, they have monitors and keyboards that are permanently attached in a hinge formation. Their major differentiating qualities are their sizes and features. That said, there’s no universally accepted difference between a laptop, notebook and netbook; the FTC doesn’t force them to define their terms, and some of the categories seem to blending. However, there are certain general guidelines that are useful to keep in mind when determining the difference between a laptop, notebook and netbook, especially if you’re trying to figure out which one’s right for you.
The difference in size between laptops, notebooks and netbooks is this: laptops are the largest, netbooks are the smallest, and notebooks are right there in the middle. Laptops and notebooks are becoming increasingly similar as manufacturers figure out how to pack more processing power into smaller devices; laptops continue to be smaller and smaller than their previous models, causing them to overlap with notebooks a fair amount. Still, there are plenty of obvious laptops not-netbooks; for example, gaming laptops tend to have screens as large as 17 inches across and can weigh up to 11 pounds. These are powerful computers that, while being more portable than a desktop computer, are going to bog down a student’s backpack and definitely won’t fit into a tote bag.
Notebooks tend to be smaller than these laptops, weighing as little as three pounds, with screens around 12 inches. However, they still usually have all of the features of a laptop; they’ll have dual-core processors, CD and DVD drives, at least 64 GB of hard drive space, etc. Notebooks are meant to be the smallest possible full-featured laptops.
This tends to set them apart from netbooks, which are made chiefly with portability in mind. Netbooks can weigh anywhere from a pound to three pounds and often have screens smaller than a foot across. They don’t usually have CD of DVD drives, nor do they have ample storage for the typical user; they’re made primarily for accessing the internet, and any data a netbook user hopes to save will have to be stored on an external hard drive. They have headphone and microphone inputs, USB ports, potentially a visual output port and that’s really about it. Netbooks usually have low processing power, but extremely long battery life.
So there you have it. While no universally accepted definitions of laptop, notebook and netbook exist, there are some general guidelines that you can keep in mind when it comes time to differentiate between the three. Hopefully this article helped you to better understand what kind of personal computer works for you!
A bitter and publicized battle between tech mogul Apple and the United States Department of Justice has officially ended; the DoJ announced that it would back out of its case against Apple after confirming that it could, without Apple’s help, crack the code of the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, CA shooters.
Whether or not you absolutely hate Apple’s Maps GPS system, if you own an iPhone you’ll likely be relieved of the news. The department had originally attempted to strong arm Apple into creating a code itself that would allow the FBI to crack open the encrypted smartphone by issuing a demand authorized by the over two-centuries-old All Writ’s Law.
Apple balked at the offer, making a strong legal case for the government having overstepped its power in what it could ask of a business. While the debate raged on for many weeks, the DoJ seems to have finally determined that the issue is not worth its while.
Perhaps this was because the FBI was ultimately able to retrieve data with the help of an undisclosed third party, no longer necessitating Apple’s assistance, as DoJ spokesperson Melanie Newman stated. Newman continued on to make clear that the agency still reserved the right to confront Apple yet again if any encrypted evidence happens to run up against privacy rights, corporate interest and the Constitution.
“It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails,” expanded Newman. “We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying on the creativity of both the public and private sectors.”
Apple’s major complaint in reaction to the FBI demand was that the company was being asked to open the door to additional requests not only in the U.S. but also in foreign states that lack the civil liberties protections. It claimed that political dissidents around the world could potentially be made vulnerable to their regimes without the safety of Apple’s encryption.
That said, it seems to be that the government’s ability to hack into iPhone’s without Apple’s help would stand to prove that Apple’s feared “backdoor” already exists. Even if the FBI is required to disclose how it was able to break into the encrypted phone, it likely won’t be a huge surprise how it occurred.
“EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] is pleased that the Justice Department has retreated from its dangerous and unconstitutional attempt to force Apple to subvert the security of its iOS operating system. However, this new method of accessing the phone raises questions about the government’s apparent use of security vulnerabilities in iOS and whether it will inform Apple about there vulnerabilities,” stated Andrew Crocker, the staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“If the FBI used a vulnerability to unlock the iPhone in the San Bernardino case, the VEP must apply, meaning that there should be a very strong bias in favor of informing Apple of the vulnerability. That would allow Apple to fix the flaw and protect the security of all its users. We look forward to seeing more transparency on the issue.”
GPS or global positional system was first developed like many great consumer electronics with a military application. The designers could barely have imagined some of the applications we see today with these bad boys eventually for the technology. They’ve become a pillar of IT businesses.
The Global Positioning System is a satellite derived navi system, a network of over 2 dozen orbiting space crafting ships that was put in place between what some would refer to as the late 1970s and the mid 1990s by the us department of defense which is a far cry from what its used for primarily today, which is locating the closest fro yo for a reasonable price, with good reviews for a soccer mom in the a new town or something. This is because the military actually allowed people access to them early in the game which was a huge advantage to the lives and navigation on an average scale. here are a few applications of the system that are not drempt up at the instantiate of its creation but are proving to be the new norm when it comes.
One way we are seeing having a good affect on the world is that they allow the potential of shark attacks to be affected. this is done through tagging sharks for research. this helps in understanding both the migration and matting patterns of the beasts, but it also helps local life guard and law enforcment offcials by allowing a system to be notified when a shark comes in to close to shore during times of potential up tick in populations being at or around the water.
Another unforeseen way the world is benefiting from GPS is that it helps with tracking stolen and fraud prescription drugs. people who rob or burgal drugs have been targeting drugstores in an effort to get that good good, the crowned jewel of the persecution drug world oxycodone (mamamia mi likey as its reffered to) the bottels now have trackers which slows the people to know just where they might go if not in the right hands.
Geocaching a great hobby for people is only possible with the widespread use of having a lot of people who can not only know their concordance at the drop of a hat but also who can look up where they are just as quickly and accurately. Today the seed of adventure has been sown in the belly of mystery and a new frontier of treasure hunters hit the road in a effort to find whatever someone leaves for them, and hopefully and hopefully not what was stated prior.
Health, we all want it but dont know where to find it. Well GPS might have the drop on where to look, its in you. Insofar as it is known when you you move and at what rate, from there it is correlate to what the calories it would be to carry your self such distances. This is merely a taste of what the GPS has done in recent years and time will tell what new places we go.
What out Intel- there’s a new sheriff in town. Well, at least there will be, so long as all of Google’s hopes and dreams go according to plan…
…Which they tend to do; the tech mogul has no issue expanding its markets past the search engine its so known for and into smartphones, cars, and now… even computer chips. Google makes high-tech companies like Facebook look like a start-up.
Since when? Well, we’re not even sure that it’s going to happen yet. There’s something going on according to Bloomberg, which reported that google would somehow have some kind of presence at Qualcomm HQ, in front of Qualcom stockholders, and it would offer some kind of “stamp of approval” for a new kind of Qualcomm chip. But then Google didn’t show up.
By the way, about the whole autonomous Google Car thing… The federal government agency responsible for regulating traffic safety and making driving safety standards just reported that Google’s autonomous car driving software could be seen as a driver in their L4 vehicles, which don’t have steering wheels, brakes, or any form of transmission. L4 vehicles are engineered expressly for older people and children, so that they can be transported safely from place to place without a human driver spending the time or money to have them transported, and without the human error that puts so many drivers and pedestrians at risk.
But back to the chips: Qualcomm is the largest smartphone chip maker in the world, but apparently this iffy agreement wasn’t about smartphone chips. It was more about chips for computer servers, which are the machines that offer all the services an emails and other data to you phone using the Internet. Considering Google is the world’s largest Internet company, the idea of them getting into the server chip industry is definitely a big one. Yet, they weren’t there eon that day which many believed would be oh-so-fateful.
So what is Google’s current relationship with server chips? Well, in order to offer services like search, Gmail, and Maps to millions of people around the world, Google has to operate a network of data centers that are located everyone where from Oregon to Finland to Taiwan and back. Google tries engineers to custom design the many thousands of servers that drive these computing hives, and they have o buy chips for these servers directly for the companies that make them. That means Google spends a fortune on chips from Intel, which is, of course, the largest chip provider in the world and in fact was founded by the co-creator of the world’s first computer chip. According to Intel higher-up Diane Bryant, Google buys more server chips from Intel than all but five companies in the world.
That seems about right, until you realize that everyone else on the list of server chip buyers actually sells servers, like Dell and HP. Google has to buy all those chips just for the servers it makes for itself. So if Google switches from Intel to Qualcomm, the entire tech economy is going to know about it. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Facial recognition software is widespread and has been for a while now. Although the software is known to be somewhat finicky (there was one unfortunate and highly publicized incident in which Google Photos tagged a young African American woman as a gorilla), they are getting more and more accurate and tend to be very helpful and widespread. You may be wondering exactly how engineers have created software that can recognize something as subtle and complicated as a unique human’s face. Here’s an article to tackle the fundamentals of the issue and help explain how we got where we are today.
If you’re wondering where the money came from, you won’t be surprised to hear that facial recognition software has both a purely economic market and serves government interests. There have been attempts to use cameras outfitted with the software to serve law enforcement purposes, though the attempt in 2001 by the Tampa Police Department to install such cameras in the Ybor City nightlife district was definitely a failure; people just made a game of putting on masks and making obscene gestures at the camera, to the point that the whole project was scrapped by 2003.
Efforts were made to incorporate the software into the security system at Boston’s Logan Airport as well, though it only worked with a 61.4 percent accuracy rate that eventually led airport officials to try other methods of enhancing security.
So what about the systems that do work? Facebook seems to have developed a pretty accurate system of automatically tagging friends in photos you just uploaded.
Most operational systems function by identifying nodal points in a face. These points are distinguishable landmarks that occur in approximately 80 different places and include the distance between the eyes, the width of the nose, the depth of the eye sockets, the shape of the cheekbones and the length of the jawline. These nodal points are measured with the sue of a numerical code called faceprint.
It wasn’t so hard for engineers to make programs that identified facial features among pictures that were all taken the same way in a controlled environment that had, for example, the same shot taken from the same angle with the same lighting. But in real life, photos of people vary widely in setting which means wide variances in face angle, brightness, contrast, etc. In order to make up for this, software writers had to come up with something called 3D facial recognition.
3D facial recognition uses a 3D model of a face to more accurately store distinctive features. The software looks at where rigid tissue and bone is most apparent, such as curves in the eye socket, which varies less over time and depending on facial angle. With this kind of modeling, a face can be recognized in its profile form after being input in a straight-ahead shot. It takes the alignment of the face into consideration when it is given its first example of the face to be recognized, allowing for more accurate results.
Surface texture analysis can also allow for faces to be recognized, though this is more common in security contexts than for Facebook.