Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:02:06 UTJamboard reinforces Google's push to make its own gear in an attempt to hook more people on its software and other digital services. [...] this fall, Google had teamed up with other manufacturers whenever it made a phone or other gadget. Jamboard operates with an application that works on smartphones and tablets powered either by Google's Android software or Apple's operating system for iPhones and Pads.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:48:16 UTNEW YORK (AP) — You can easily save hundreds of dollars on an Android phone — especially if you, like many people, don't need a top-end camera. Cheaper Android phones are, in many respects, adequate substitutes for pricier high-end models such as Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Google's Pixel . All smartphones take decent shots in good conditions, but high-end phones typically do better in the dark. To combat blurry shots, especially in low light, the OnePlus has an anti-shake technology that's rare for mid-range phones. The camera's interface is nice, too, letting you swipe up or down to change from video to photo mode. OnePlus also has bells and whistles like a fingerprint scanner to unlock phones and a wireless chip for making payments in retail stores using Android Pay. Folder icons don't show you what apps are inside, making navigation difficult if you forget where you put your apps (again, standard Android). A swipe to the right brings up your calendar, weather and news stories linked to the Google Now digital assistant; although this is standard Android, it's missing on the other two phones. For $50 more, you can get a Plus version with a more powerful camera and a fingerprint reader (I tested the regular model). Though Motorola says the phone will resist spills and light rain, you can't submerge it in water. The regular G4 and Plus version both start with 16 gigabytes of storage, again stingy these days, but you can pay for more up front or add storage later with a MicroSD card.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:30:29 UTDENVER (AP) — Anheuser-Busch says it has completed the world's first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a journey of more than 120 miles through Colorado. The company says a professional truck driver was on board for the entire route and monitored the trip from the cab's sleeper berth.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:03:17 UTThe hack has heightened long-standing fears among security experts that the rising number of interconnected home gadgets, appliances and even automobiles represent a cybersecurity nightmare. Unidentified hackers seized control of gadgets including Xiongmai's on Friday and directed them to launch an attack that temporarily disrupted access to a host of sites, ranging from Twitter and Netflix to Amazon and Spotify, according to U.S. web security researchers. "The issue with the consumer-connected device is that there is nearly no firewall between devices and the public internet," said Tracy Tsai, an analyst at Gartner, adding that many consumers leave the default setting on devices for ease of use without knowing the dangers. The company, which also makes dashboard cameras and computer chips, said it would recall more than 4 million web-connected cameras and has offered customers a software security fix. Xiongmai and Dahua, a video surveillance manufacturer also based in the eastern Chinese tech hub of Hangzhou, first came under scrutiny several weeks ago after Flashpoint assessed that hackers had controlled their devices to attack the website of cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs, among other targets.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:39:55 UTYOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — The top executive overseeing connected vehicles at Nissan and Renault believes the benefits of developing a common technology for connectivity within the Japanese and French auto partnership outweigh the risks of sustaining huge damage from a possible defect or cyberattack. Ogi Redzic, senior vice president at the Renault-Nissan Alliance, oversees such connected services, including staying connected with family, navigating best routes and remote control of vehicles — an area where all the world's automakers are trying to gain an edge. "The global automotive industry is at a strategic turning point, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance is pioneering the transformation in EVs, autonomous driving and connectivity features on mainstream, mass-market vehicles at affordable prices," he said, using the acronym for electric vehicles.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:39:43 UTWASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration's "18F" program to create its own version of a high-tech startup for government digital projects has foundered since its launch in 2014, losing nearly $32 million as its staff spent most of its time on unbillable work, according to a new inspector general report. Senior 18F managers overestimated the amount of money their projects would recoup; increased hiring using special rules every three months since April 2014; and devoted less than half the program's staff time on projects for which it could bill other federal agencies, said the report released Monday. The program, named after its Washington street address, was intended to create an elite branch of the General Services Administration with creative, tech-savvy employees who could quickly re-engineer any government agency's website or improve other digital projects. Zvenyach said 18F has worked on 250 projects with 37 federal government agencies — for example, helping the Treasury Department increase transparency on federal spending. The 10-month investigation by the GSA's inspector general found that 52 percent of 18F's work was unbillable and included an internal project to change its logo by altering its font, alignment and background color.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:41:04 UTSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Violent gunmen still menace pick-and-shovel miners in eastern Congo, a new report finds, despite years of efforts to loosen their grip by local reformers, Western activists and companies like Apple and Intel that use minerals from the African region in their products. Conditions are improving for miners who dig the ore that's processed into tin, tungsten and tantalum for smartphones and other electronics, though some still face interference from armed groups. [...] slumping demand and depressed prices for those minerals have driven many workers to dig instead for gold that's used in electronics, jewelry and other consumer products sold by Western companies. [...] under threat of violence, workers are often forced to pay illegal "taxes" that support corrupt army units, rebel groups or unauthorized militias. For decades, an assortment of armed rebels, homegrown gangs and corrupt army units have reigned over parts of eastern Congo, where many people live in poverty despite the rich mineral resources underground. In recent years, Western activists have pressured corporations to stop using conflict minerals from areas controlled by armed groups, which profit from sales of those metals. [...] activists have particularly focused on makers of smartphones, computers and other electronic components, since they use large quantities of tantalum in electrical capacitors and tin as solder for circuit boards, along with smaller amounts of tungsten and gold in various components. Human rights groups also persuaded the U.S. Congress to address the issue in the 2010 financial reform bill known as the Dodd-Frank Act. Though it's been three years since the reporting requirement took effect, most companies say they're unable to trace all the minerals they use, since metals usually travel through complex supply chains that include mines, regional wholesalers, refiners and independent component-makers. Other
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 23:16:43 UTWASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration's "18F" program to create its own version of a high-tech startup for government digital projects has foundered since its launch in 2014, losing nearly $32 million as its staff spent most of its time on unbillable work, according to a new inspector general report published Monday. Senior 18F managers overestimated the amount of money their projects would recoup; increased hiring using special rules every three months since April 2014; and devoted less than half the program's staff time on projects for which it could bill other federal agencies, the report said. The program, named after its Washington street address, was intended to create an elite branch of the General Services Administration with creative, tech-savvy employees who could quickly re-engineer any government agency's website or improve other digital projects. Zvenyach said 18F has worked on 250 projects with 37 federal government agencies — for example, helping the Treasury Department increase transparency on federal spending. The 10-month investigation by the GSA's inspector general found that 52 percent of 18F's work was unbillable and included an internal project to change its logo by altering its font, alignment and background color.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:53:23 UTTime Warner owns popular channels like HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS, plus Warner Bros. movies such as the Harry Potter and DC Comics superhero franchises, while AT&T has its mobile network and its DirecTV service. [...] doing so might easily limit consumer choice should AT&T decide, for instance, to withhold certain shows from its rivals or to grant better access to AT&T customers. Because AT&T is effectively buying one of its suppliers, not a rival, the deal doesn't directly limit competition, and the company argues that regulators should approve it, possibly with conditions to protect consumers. Many of the government's restrictions were designed to prevent Comcast, a giant cable company and internet-service provider, from favoring its own video offerings over those from online TV rivals like Netflix or, on the other hand, keeping its programming from other cable or satellite TV companies. — Comcast was required to provide broadband-only subscriptions that weren't bundled with phone or cable service, so that people could sign up for internet and get any TV they wanted from online alternatives like Amazon or Hulu. — Comcast was also forced to treat all internet traffic on its network equally, a version of the government's "net neutrality " rules designed, for instance, to make sure network owners like Comcast and AT&T don't put their own video programming in the internet fast lane while relegating rivals to the slow lane. In hopes of persuading regulators to approve the deal, the company also says that the new combined business will be an attractive option for advertisers, giving more competition to Facebook and Google, and that buying Time Warner could help accelerate the push toward 5G wireless service.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:35:53 UTJason Read, founder of the internet performance monitoring firm CloudHarmony, said his company tracked a half-hour-long disruption early Friday affecting access to many popular sites from the East Coast. While distributed denial-of-service attacks have been around for years, hackers have many more devices they can use to pull off their attacks, thanks to the proliferation of internet-connected cameras, thermostats, lights and more. [...] Mirai makes it easy for a would-be attacker to scan the internet for devices to take over and turn into "botnets" for launching coordinated attacks, Chris Carlson of the cybersecurity firm Qualys said. While botnets have been used as weapons for nearly a decade, they have typically been employed by organized crime groups that targeted websites involved in less-than-savory businesses such as pornography or gambling. Because the components were put into a variety of devices that were then packaged and rebranded, it's hard to tell exactly where they ended up. Nixon and Wikholm say it's unlikely that this is a state-sponsored attack. Because the blueprints, or source code, for Mirai were public, an attack like this wouldn't need a government's resources. Experts say that whatever the target, more attacks are inevitable in light of the continued growth of connected devices and the lack of security requirements for them. [...] the solution lies in boosting device security at the hardware level.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:51:59 UTPROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Crafting the latest trends in global footwear used to be the pride of U.S. shoe industry workers, but most of those jobs left long ago for Asia. Baltimore-based Under Armour Inc. this year opened a new design and manufacturing center in its home city to develop its footwear and apparel lines, and even Oregon-based athletic giant Nike Inc., a symbol of the outsourcing trend, has recently talked of establishing more of a North American manufacturing presence. The lab is scheduled to open early next year as a partnership with footwear plastics company The AF Group Inc., which is headquartered in nearby Lincoln and employs about 150 people in the state. Reebok's experiment is likely to serve a niche market for now, but it's among several technological advancements that could reduce the need for foreign suppliers over time, said Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:46:10 UTDETROIT (AP) — The government's highway safety agency says automakers should make cybersecurity part of their product development process by assessing risks and designing in protections. Companies also should identify safety critical systems such as engine control computers and limit their exposure to attacks, under best practice guidelines released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:17:47 UTNEW YORK (AP) — Apple's iPhone 7 Plus is getting a new camera capability — the blurring of backgrounds to focus attention on people or other objects in the foreground. Apple first announced the "portrait mode" feature in September but it wasn't available until the company released its iOS 10.1 software update Monday. [...] take a few steps back, as the feature taps the zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus's second lens, meaning images are enlarged two-fold.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:37:39 UTSpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given more details about his plan to colonize Mars. The session was a follow up to Musk's comments at a space conference in Mexico last month during which he unveiled his plan to send up to 1 million people to Mars within the next 40 to 100 years.
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:31:57 UT"Consider what would happen," Assange wrote in 2006, if one of America's two major parties had their emails, faxes, campaign briefings, internal polls and donor data all exposed to public scrutiny. A decade later, various organs of the Democratic Party have been hacked; several staffers have resigned and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has seen the inner workings of her campaign exposed to the public, including disclosures calling into question her positions on trade and Wall Street and her relationship with the party's left . In the essay, Assange described authoritarian governments, corporations, terrorist organizations and political parties as "conspiracies" — groups that hoard secret information to win a competitive advantage over the general public. Leaks cut these groups open like a double-edged knife, empowering the public with privileged information while spreading confusion among the conspirators themselves, he said. When the group published 250,000 U.S. State Department cables in 2010, it helped launch a multimillion dollar quest to unmask insider threats at home while causing problems for U.S. diplomats overseas. Assange did not return messages seeking comment, but he has described allegations that he's in the service of the Kremlin as a conspiracy theory and has denied picking sides in the U.S. electoral contest. [...] Assange has long tried to influence presidential campaigns. In reality, the publication barely played a role in Kenya, according to Nic Cheeseman, an associate professor of African politics at the University of Oxford. [...] it's not clear whether the recent WikiLeaks revelations will fare differently. Online: