Daily Tech Headlines – August 24, 2016

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Daily Tech Headlines – August 24, 2016
Number 55
Broadcast Date AUGUST 24, 2016
Episode Length 7:06
Hosts Tom Merritt

Google demotes full screen ads, PlayStation Now comes to Windows, Tesla juices its battery.


Google announced it will begin lowering search rankings for sites that use "intrusive interstitial" ads, beginning January 10, 2017. Offending examples include pop-ups that cover content after navigating to a page, stand alone ads that users have to dismiss before a page will load, and ads that are so large you have to scroll to find the content. Google carved out exceptions to this policy for pop-ups for legal notices like cookie notifications, login boxes for paywalls, and "reasonable" and dismissible banner ads. The new policy replaces a November 2015 policy which penalized sites for pop-ups encouraging the download of mobile apps.
CNN reports email accounts of New York Times and other US reporters have been attacked. The US FBI is investigating. The Times said email services are outsourced to Google. Spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said, "We have seen no evidence that any of our internal systems, including our systems in the Moscow bureau, have been breached or compromised."
Tom Moore, a senior VP at satellite company ViaSat is leaving the company to take over Alphabet's Project Loon which delivers Internet service from high-altitude balloons. Mike Cassidy who has been in charged of Project Loon will step down but remain with Alphabet's X division which oversees the project. Moore begins his new role at Alphabet's X in September.
Sony announced that PlayStation Now is coming to Windows machines, launching in Europe soon followed by North America. Sony will sell a DualShock 4 controller adapter for $25. PlayStation Now requires Windows 7, a 3.5Ghz Intel Core i3 or better CPU, at least 2GB of RAM and a 5 Mbps or faster Internet connection.
Tesla announced the availability of a 100kWh battery for its Model S and Model X vehicles. The new battery features improved cooling and increases the range of the Model S to 315 miles on a charge, and the Model X to 289 miles. It also speeds up the Model S and X which can now go 0-60 in 2.5 and 2.9 seconds, respectively. Existing owners of the P90D Telsa's can upgrade to the new battery for $20,000, while purchasers awaiting delivery can upgrade for $10,000.
Sources tell Bloomberg that Google is lining up VR films and programs in advance of the launch of its Daydream VR service in the "coming weeks." Projects include 360-degree videos with YouTube stars like iJustine and the Dolan Twins, as well as Hulu, HBO video-game producers and sports leagues like MLB and the NBA. Some projects like Hulu will not be exclusive, but timed to debut along with Daydream. Daydream is supported in Android Nougat which began rolling out Monday. Google is providing funds for projects but not requiring ownership.
French naval contractor DCNS said Wednesday that details of the Scorpene submarines it's building in India leaked because of "economic warfare." Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters it was a case of hacking and is being investigated. Secret details of the submarines combat capabilities were published by The Australian. The leak impacts Malaysia and Chile as well who operate the same submarines.
South Korea has extended the amount of time it needs to review a request by Google to take mapping data outside the country. Google wants to put the mapping data on servers outside the country in order to fully enable mapping services in South Korea. The decision will now be made by November 23.
In order to reduce cyberattacks, Singapore is working on cutting off Web access for machines used by public officials by May of 2017. Public servants could still surf the Web on separate personal or agency-issued devices.
Pinterest acquired Instapaper Tuesday. Instapaper will continue to operate as a standalone app, but their team will also work on Pinterest's core product. In a statement, a Pinterest spokesperson stated the acquisition "could further improve the way we index and recommend fresh and evergreen content on Pinterest."
On Tuesday, U.S. International Trade Commission judge Dee Lord ruled that fitness wearable manufacturer Fitbit did not steal trade secrets from competitor Jawbone. Jawbone brought a complaint against Fitbit in July 2015 for breaking the Tariff Act, alleging violation of 6 patents and poaching employees for access to confidential information. Prior to the May trial, all 6 patents were either withdrawn or invalidated by the court. The two companies have an ongoing trade secret suit still pending in California state court.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner found that Avid Life Media Inc, the parent company of Ashley Madison, violated privacy laws which resulted in the leak of personal information of million of consumers. The agencies cited the storage of passwords and encryption keys in plain text, a fraudulent security trust mark on the Ashley Madison site, and storage of account information after they were deleted by users in their findings. The company has entered into agreements with both agencies to comply with their court enforceable recommendations, beginning with a comprehensive security audit.
Julia Bluff at iFixit reports on a possible design flaw effecting the iPhone 6 and 6+. After speaking with aftermarket electronic repair technicians about a reported grey bar appearing at the top of phones and unresponsive touchscreens, the cause seems to be two Touchscreen controller chips located on the logic board. The relative flexibility of the phone seems to causes cracks in the solder balls of the chips, which in some cases crack and lose contact, most commonly on the longer 6+. Apple does not officially recognize the problem, so currently users out of warranty cannot get repairs at an Apple certified repair location. The iPhone 6S/6s+ moved the Touchscreen controller chips to the display and included an underfill to the solder balls, and does not seem to suffer from the problem.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – August 23, 2016"
Daily Tech Headlines – August 24, 2016
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – August 25, 2016"