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Tuesday - December 20, 2016
waymo-google-self-driving-car
Waymo, the standalone venture that emerged from Google's self-driving car project, on Monday unveiled a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans with the latest high-tech sensors, telematics, and other gear designed for fully autonomous operation. Modifications were made to several parts of the Pacifica to optimize it for fully autonomous driving. [More...]

Monday - December 19, 2016
peter-thiel
There are generally two paths for dealing with someone in power when disagreements arise. One is to confront, and the other is to understand and influence. What is interesting is the most common path taken is the former while the most successful is the latter. I think the reason is that the former path is both the natural path for disagreement and the most visible. [More...]

Saturday - December 17, 2016
uber
The controversy over Uber staff using the company's tech to track people's movements was reignited this week when information in a pending lawsuit began circulating in the tech press. Uber employees can pull customer data at will, alleged Ward Spangenberg, the company's former forensic investigator, in a court declaration filed earlier this fall. [More...]

Friday - December 16, 2016
yahoo-data-breach
Yahoo has revealed that Net bandits stole data associated with 1 billion of its user accounts -- one of the largest data breaches in Internet history. The theft, which occurred in 2013, is distinct from the theft disclosed earlier this fall, in which 500 million accounts were compromised, Yahoo CISO Bob Lord explained. Stolen data may include names, email addresses, telephone numbers and more. [More...]

Thursday - December 15, 2016
Nvidia last week began test-driving autonomous cars on California roads, after the state's Department of Motor Vehicles gave it the green light. The company is testing its Drive PX2 autonomous driving platform, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Nvidia recently has made several well publicized moves in the autonomous car arena. [More...]

Thursday - December 15, 2016
bill-gates-clean-energy
One year after a powerhouse group of technology executives and venture capital icons met to form the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, the group, led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has launched a $1 billion investment fund to support clean energy startups around the world. The Breakthrough Energy Fund, chaired by Gates, is designed to jumpstart an entire new generation of entrepreneurs. [More...]

Wednesday - December 14, 2016
uber-self-driving
Uber on Wednesday rolled out a fleet of self-driving cars in San Francisco, the second U.S. city to participate in its pilot project. Pittsburgh was the first. Riders who request an UberX -- the lowest-priced Uber vehicle -- will be matched with one of the self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs if one is available and if the customers are willing, according to Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's Advanced Technology Group. [More...]

Wednesday - December 14, 2016
apple-airpods
Apple has begun taking online orders for its wireless AirPods, and said it would start delivering the $159 earphones to customers, Apple Stores, resellers and carriers next week. At the iPhone 7 launch in September, Apple SVP Phil Schiller said the AirPods would be available in October. Missing the deadline for release of any hot product is bad news for a company. [More...]

Tuesday - December 13, 2016
magic-leap
It turns out the awe-inspiring video Magic Leap unveiled last year is not a demo of its still-secretive mixed reality technology, but a bit of sleight of hand from special effects firm Weta Workshop, which is credited at the beginning and end of the clip. Magic Leap's post -- titled "Just another day in the office at Magic Leap" -- claims the video shows a game being played around the office. [More...]

Tuesday - December 13, 2016
rokblok-record-player
RokBlok is a portable record player without a turntable. It's a block that dashes around the top of your records, and uses both its needle and built-in speaker to soundtrack your day. All you need to operate it are your records and a flat surface. If you'd like higher quality audio, you can connect it to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones. It's designed with protecting your records in mind. [More...]

Monday - December 12, 2016
For the next eight or so years, I think a lot of what many of us are going to write will have something to do with what Donald Trump tweeted. Granted, since that has been the case for much of the last year, we have gotten comfortable with it. However, when Trump said he would kill the deal for an updated Air Force One, it hit me that we've completely lost track of what Air Force One should be. [More...]

Friday - December 9, 2016
winhec-microsoft-intel-project-evo
Microsoft and Intel have announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in AI, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo's ambitious plans at the WinHEC event in China. [More...]

Friday - December 9, 2016
online-abuse-trolls
Many people expect celebrities and other prominent figures to have thicker skins than the average Jane or Joe. However -- as evidenced by the numbers of celebrities who've forsaken social media -- fame and fortune are not effective defenses against an all-out troll assault. While attacks on private individuals can be more personal and more targeted, they're typically much less numerous. [More...]

Thursday - December 8, 2016
microsoft-winhec-qualcomm
Microsoft on Wednesday announced the compatibility of Windows 10 and native Windows apps with ARM-based processors, including Qualcomm's Snapdragon, which currently powers a large percentage of Android devices. The new partnership will make it possible for Windows applications, peripherals and enterprise solutions to run on new mobile, power efficient and always-connected cellular PCs. [More...]

Wednesday - December 7, 2016
online-terrorist-content
Facebook has teamed up with Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to fight the proliferation of terrorist content on the Web. The tech giants will create a shared industry database of hashes for violent terrorist imagery, terrorist recruitment videos, or images they have removed from their services. They may use these shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on their platforms. [More...]

Wednesday - December 7, 2016
hacker-ransomware
Ransomware has become a gold mine for digital criminals. In the first three months of this year, electronic extortionists squeezed $209 million from victims desperate to recover their data after it was scrambled by the malicious software, based on FBI estimates. At that rate, ransomware could funnel as much as $1 billion into criminal coffers this year. [More...]

Tuesday - December 6, 2016
samsung-galaxy-note7
Samsung's desire to match the iPhone 7 Plus led it to implement an aggressive design and manufacturing approach that led to problems with its Galaxy Note7 -- including some instances of the smartphones bursting into flames, Instrumental reported last week. Instrumental engineers tore down a Galaxy Note7, and found "tension between safety and pushing the boundaries," CEO Anna Shedletsky revealed. [More...]

Tuesday - December 6, 2016
avalanche-malware
The DoJ on Monday released new details about the multinational takedown of Avalanche, a multimillion-dollar malware and money-laundering network, following a four-year probe led by German police and prosecutors. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song and Assistant Director Scott S. Smith of the FBI's Cyber Division made the announcement in Pittsburgh. [More...]

Monday - December 5, 2016
facebook-artificial-intelligence
Facebook last week released six videos to educate people about artificial intelligence. AI will bring major changes to society, and will be the backbone of many of the most innovative apps and services of the future, but it remains mysterious, noted Yann LeCun, Facebook's director of AI research, and Joaquin Candela, the company's director of applied machine learning in an online post. [More...]

Monday - December 5, 2016
fake-news
A few years back, when it was one company, HP made a huge mistake that cost a number of people their jobs and forced the replacement of many of its board members. The company suffered through some nasty litigation and several top executives almost landed in jail. The mistake was tied back to something called "pretexting." It also went by the more common term "identity theft." [More...]

Friday - December 2, 2016
apple-maps-drones
Apple reportedly has assembled a group of robotics and data-collection experts who will use drones to obtain data for updates to its Maps app. Apple, Google and others in the cartography space currently collect a lot of their data using motor vehicles equipped with high-tech gear. "That's a very expensive and time-consuming process," said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research. [More...]

Friday - December 2, 2016
google-android-malware
More than 1 million Google accounts have been breached by Android malware dubbed "Gooligan," Check Point reported Wednesday. The malware roots infected devices and steals authentication tokens that can be used to access data from various Google apps including Gmail, Google Docs, G Suite and Google Drive. It potentially affects devices running Android 4 and 5. [More...]

Friday - December 2, 2016
Reddit has announced reforms designed to crack down on trolls and punish its most abusive community members. Reddit has identified hundreds of the most "toxic users," said CEO Steve Huffman, who founded the site 11 years ago while in college, and it has devised a plan to take action against them. Consequence for unacceptable behavior could range from warnings to timeouts to permanent bans. [More...]

Thursday - December 1, 2016
eight-smart-mattress
In a previous column, I revealed how terrible a sleeper I am. My mattress is old, and there's a sizable dent on my side of the bed. It's probably time to find a new mattress, so perhaps it's time to consider one that connects with the rest of my home. Eight's smart mattress gives you a little more incentive to get out of bed, as you can set up a string of IFTTT recipes to improve your morning routine. [More...]

Wednesday - November 30, 2016
amazon-echo
Amazon is developing a premium version of its Alexa-powered Echo speaker, which will have a 7-inch touchscreen, in a bid to stave off competition from Google and other companies developing rival offerings, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Designed for use in the kitchen, the new device would have an upward-tilting touchscreen that would permit a user to swipe controls from a standing position. [More...]

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The risk is overblown. I don't consider myself a likely target.
The tech industry is doing a good job protecting me.