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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: High-Tech

seattlepi.com: Technology News From the Associated Press





 



German federal police say British hacker arrested in London

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:23:23 UT

The Federal Criminal Police Office said Thursday the man, whose name wasn't released, is suspected of conducting a cyberattack on an internet access router in November that meant around 1 million customers couldn't go online.



INFLUENCE GAME: GM bill is self-driving and self-interested

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:45:36 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — With states seizing the initiative on shaping the future of self-driving cars, General Motors is trying to persuade legislators across the country to approve rules that would benefit the automaker while potentially keeping its competitors off the road. The carmaker denies trying to freeze out other brands, but legislators in four states say GM lobbyists asked them to sponsor bills that the company's competitors contend would do just that. In response to complaints from Waymo, a compromise bill was also passed to allow participation by technology companies. [...] the state-by-state lobbying by the powerful automaker and its competitors shine light on the behind-the-scenes fight to determine how self-driving cars will operate on American roads and which companies will have the competitive edge. The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, which includes Ford, Lyft, Uber, Volvo and Waymo, opposes the bills, saying they "would favor one company, create an uneven playing field and deter life-saving innovations from reaching citizens in these states by precluding or severely limiting technology companies from testing or deploying fully autonomous vehicles." Audi and its parent company, Volkswagen, worry that the bills could exclude partially self-driving cars like the one Audi plans to introduce next year, said Brad Stertz, Audi's government affairs director. The Democrat said GM lobbyists told him the company would "certainly look more favorably toward expanding in Maryland if there were a legal framework to test and develop (self-driving cars) more freely." Arizona lawmakers met last month with Gov. Doug Ducey's staff, GM, Waymo, Uber, Lyft and other companies in response to GM's effort to get a bill introduced there, said state Sen. Bob Worsley, the Senate transportation committee chairman.



Former tech CEO faces sentencing after self-exile in Africa

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 05:11:30 UT

Former tech CEO faces sentencing after self-exile in Africa NEW YORK (AP) — A wealthy former CEO who dodged securities fraud charges for a decade by fleeing to Africa is facing sentencing in New York City.



The Latest: Judge blocks law on posting actors' ages

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:23:21 UT

A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked a California law that allows actors and other entertainment professionals to force a popular industry website to remove their ages. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Wednesday that the law raised First Amendment concerns by preventing IMDb from publishing factual information on its public website. A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked a California law that allows actors and other entertainment professionals to remove their ages from a popular industry website. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Wednesday that the law raised First Amendment concerns by preventing IMDb from publishing factual information on its public website.



Judge blocks California law on posting actors' ages

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:07:13 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California law that restricts a popular Hollywood website from posting actors' ages raises First Amendment concerns and does not appear likely to combat age discrimination in the entertainment industry in any meaningful way, a federal judge said Wednesday. The law was supported by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which said in a statement the ruling simply represented an early skirmish in the legal fight. "SAG-AFTRA will continue to fight until we achieve for actors and other entertainment industry professionals the same rights to freedom from age discrimination in hiring enjoyed by other workers in other industries," said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union's chief operating officer and general counsel.



Amazon resists request for Echo info in Arkansas slaying

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:00:44 UT

(AP) — Amazon is resisting an effort by Arkansas prosecutors to obtain potential recordings from a slaying suspect's Amazon Echo smart speaker, saying authorities haven't established that their investigation is more important than a customer's privacy rights. "Given the important First Amendment and privacy implications at stake, the warrant should be quashed unless the Court finds that the State has met its heightened burden for compelled production of such materials," Amazon said in the court documents. The company had previously spoken about prosecutor's request for the information in more general terms, but this is Amazon's first formal legal response to the subpoena for audio recordings and transcripts from the night of Collins' death.



High court ruling limits international reach of patent laws

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:49:14 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with California-based Life Technologies Corp. in a patent infringement case that limits the international reach of U.S. patent laws. The justices ruled unanimously that the company's shipment of a single part of a patented invention for assembly in another country did not violate patent laws. Patent laws are designed to prevent U.S. companies from mostly copying a competitor's invention and simply completing the final phase overseas to skirt the law.



New Apple headquarters to have theater named for Steve Jobs

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:08:13 UT

(AP) — Apple has announced that its new headquarters will open for employees in the spring and will include a theater named for its late co-founder, Steve Jobs. Apple says in a news release on its website that the process of moving its 12,000 employees from its old digs in Cupertino, California, to the new Apple Park nearby will begin in April and will take more than six months to complete.



Study: Technology trouble dents car and truck reliability

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:07:04 UT

DETROIT (AP) — Technology glitches including Bluetooth phone pairing and misunderstood voice commands put a dent in car and truck reliability scores in a major survey of automobile owners. Lexus and Porsche tied for the top spot, leading all brands for dependability in the survey released Wednesday by the consulting firm J.D. Power. Toyota, Buick and Mercedes-Benz rounded out the top five most dependable brands, while Fiat, Jeep and Infiniti were the least reliable, according to the survey. [...] in an effort to save fuel by reducing drag on the engine, automakers aren't fully charging batteries in some cases, Sargent said. Of the top-10 brands, five are considered mainstream. Besides Toyota and Buick, Hyundai (6th), Chevrolet (8th) and Honda (9th) made the top 10.



Yahoo salvages Verizon deal with $350 million discount

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:40:11 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo is taking a $350 million hit on its previously announced $4.8 billion sale to Verizon in a concession for security lapses that exposed personal information stored in more than 1 billion Yahoo user accounts. After the Verizon deal closes, any future bills stemming from the hack will be shouldered by Altaba Inc. — a company that will become the caretaker of Yahoo's remains, which will include about $7 billion in cash and lucrative stakes in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. Verizon's willingness to accept some of the lingering risks from Yahoo's security breaches underscores the wireless carrier's desire to become a bigger player in the digital advertising market. Google and Facebook currently dominate, but Verizon believes there's room to grow. Because most people already have smartphones, wireless carriers such as Verizon have turned to price cuts and promotions to lure customers from each other. Verizon now wants to bolster that with Yahoo's technology, as well as its many users and popular websites devoted to sports, finance, entertainment and news.



Online options for Oscar-nominated flicks expand Tuesday

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:24:28 UT

Online options for Oscar-nominated flicks expand Tuesday NEW YORK (AP) — More movies and cheaper options arrive online Tuesday for movie fans still needing to catch up on Oscar-nominated flicks. Of the 62 full-length movies and shorts nominated for any category , 45 are available in some form online. Watching all 46 online will cost at least $173, assuming you already have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or HBO Now. Focusing on just best picture and the four acting categories will still cost you nearly $70, not including the monthly subscriptions. None of the nine best picture nominees is available through a subscription service. Buying downloads usually cost about $15 for standard definition or $20 for HD. In addition to the best picture flicks, you'll need to watch six more movies to catch everyone nominated for the four acting categories. "Captain Fantastic," ''Florence Foster Jenkins," ''Loving" and "Nocturnal Animals" are available for rent. Shorts HD runs screenings at theaters, libraries and museums across the country. In major cities, the ceremony itself will be streamed online at abc.com and the ABC app if you can't get to a TV. Availability depends on where you live; only a handful of ABC stations are offered this way. For the E! channel's red carpet coverage, you'll need a subscription with an online TV service or a traditional cable or satellite provider.



Historic Manhattan cathedral activates eco-friendly power

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:55:16 UT

The system is designed to harness clean, renewable power to regulate the temperature of the cathedral and adjoining buildings.



Italy cabbies clash with riot police during strike over Uber

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:13:56 UT

ROME (AP) — Thousands of Italian taxi drivers protesting legislation they say will favor Uber clashed with riot police Tuesday, intensifying a weeklong cab strike that has crippled transportation in Rome, Milan and Turin. The cabbies marched through Rome and protested in front of parliament, at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party and finally at the infrastructure ministry, where officials were meeting with union representatives to try to work out a settlement.



Nigerians starved of electricity access turn to solar

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:56:17 UT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The surprise was finding that people dependent on candles, batteries, kerosene and fuel for generators in countries without a secure supply of electricity spend more on power than solar options. In Nigeria, for the cost of powering a small generator for two hours they offer enough solar power to light a house, cool a room with a fan and charge cell phones for about eight hours. Just 25 percent of its 170 million people have access to regular electricity, and the West African nation has the highest outage rate on the continent, 32 a month averaging eight hours each, according to the Overseas Private Investment Corp ., the U.S. government's independent investment agency. [...] figures inspired former U.S. President Barack Obama to create Power Africa, bringing together technical and legal experts, the private sector and governments. "Do you know how many families' lives have been destroyed because of fires caused by candles, kerosene, electrical fires?" he asked in a telephone interview from his home in Abuja, Nigeria's capital.



NASA aims to measure vital snow data from satellites

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:15:18 UT

DENVER (AP) — Instrument-laden aircraft are surveying the Colorado high country this month as scientists search for better ways to measure how much water is locked up in the world's mountain snows — water that sustains a substantial share of the global population. One-sixth of the world's population gets most of its fresh water from snow that melts and runs into waterways, said Ed Kim, a NASA researcher and lead scientist for SnowEx. Four sensors will measure snow density: three other types of radar, plus a passive microwave instrument, which detects how much of the Earth's natural microwave radiation the snow is blocking. Aircraft will take the instruments on multiple passes over two areas in western Colorado, Grand Mesa and Senator Beck Basin. Water utilities, farmers, public safety agencies and wildland firefighters track the updates closely to help predict how much drinking and irrigation water will be available in the spring and whether they will face floods or fire-inducing droughts. SNOTEL collects data from individual points, but the "holy grail of mountain hydrology" is a way to estimate the distribution of snow water equivalent across broad mountain landscapes, said Molotch, who is also director of the University of Colorado's Center for Water, Earth Science and Technology. Government agencies that forecast the spring runoff say satellite data on snow water equivalent would help them, although they base their predictions on multiple sources of information, including rain, temperature and current river flows.